Jul 1 2010, 22h40
Journal Originally submitted by majulahchelsea
Phil Adé & The Boy Illinois: the New Hip-Hop Generation
13 May 2010, 15:30
So all of you last.fm bitches know that I support local DMV artists and I've just started listening to Phil Adé, whose mixtape, Starting On JV has a lot of creative wordplay, reminiscent a little of Wale. His flow interests me, but I would like to see what he can do beyond this mixtape. Mixtapes can usually be hit or miss and there's several gems on this one, including Never Let U Go, Try Out, Flyer Than The Rest, and Always There. This is definitely a solid introduction to his music and it definitely has the DMV element in it with some unique instrumentals blended in.
The only thing that concerns me is whether or not Phil Adé can receive commercial repute mostly because his flow and style of rapping is so similar to Wale. He is filled with excellent punchlines and his raps contain definitive substance, but could he break into the mainstream? Interestingly, other DMV emcees like Tabi Bonney have a slightly different flavor of rhyming - I can distinguish between Tab mostly because he brings in a style that is original and untouchable.
DMV emcees represent a different perspective on hip-hop, some of which is slightly political, slightly fashionable, and extremely enthusiastic of a new hip-hop generation. There's a sensitivity, meaning, and depth behind rhymes that diverges from some of the terrible hip-hop of the late 1990's/early 2000's. Y'all know what I'm talking about: Master P, 50 Cent, etc. That shit. But this DMV hip-hop is not quite dead prez or Rage Against the Machine either - an accomplished hip-hop duo and influential rap/rock band respectively.
There's an interesting thread running through hip-hop right now in which mixtapes contain more import than LPs and DMV represents a major pillar in the mixtape movement. As I've mentioned in previous entries, the underground has an interesting influence upon the mainstream - many people who listen to J Dilla, Little Brother, Murs, and other underground hip-hop artists are aware of this connection.
Ultimately, I feel relatively ambivalent about this mixtape because the topic that Phil Adé discusses the most is actually love - some of it reminds me of The Foreign Exchange and Little Brother but with more punchlines. Phil Adé represents a very emotionally invested hip-hop, which is a refreshing divergence from Mystikal's Shake Ya Ass and all of that shit from the late 1990's.
Some of this new hip-hop reminds me of college hip-hop à la Kanye West, who perfected the college hip-hop genre. Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about: My College Chick is a solid single and it's very well done. There's a lot of lyrical complexity going on here and there's this expectation that women be more than just attractive but well-educated, an excellent message. The Boy Illinois also does the hip-hop right when he rhymes on James Dean, an excellent concept track that really forces the listener to consider the message. This track itself has a very unique beat in the background too, which provides the listener with a contemplative feeling to match excellent lyricism. Another great The Boy Illinois track? Bye Bye Lil Lady, which basically says that he only likes women who respect themselves. His work is incredibly solid and unlike much of what is out there right now.
There's a great message behind The Boy Illinois, who doesn't degrade women in his lyrics, something that I can definitely appreciate. Although Phil Adé and The Boy Illinois have very unique and differing styles, their work brings complexity and emotion back into the hip-hop genre.