ILLClinton Talks "ILLANTA"
Tue, 07 May 2013 10:41:44
The South is about to rise again, and ILLClinton is leading the charge. The Atlanta brothers, Brennan & Blake Belair, inject a fresh, fiery, and focused energy into Southern rap. They continue the traditions laid by Lil Wayne, T.I., and OutKast, but make no mistake, ILLClinton stand armed with their own explosive arsenal of ripping rhymes and beats. Simply put, they're the most exciting act to come out of the ATL in years, and they've well on their way to burning up the game.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Brennan of ILLClinton talks the band's new mixtape ILLANTA and so much more.
What do you feel like threads ILLANTA together?
We wanted to make a mixtape that was more chill. We wanted to make something people could ride to. There's not really a story. It's our take on growing up in the city and our life.
Is it important for you to tell stories and paint pictures with the songs?
Definitely, I try to put real life situations in our music. Blake is more the producer. I wrote the entire mixtape, and I wanted to tell the story of my life.
What influences that?
I grew up watching a lot of movies. I'm in college. I take from things I've learned in school, everyday life, interacting with different people, and experiences.
What's the story behind "Listen"?
I'm a very devout Christian. I'm not perfect. I know I don't really have control over my life, but I can put myself in situations that could lead me where I want to go. I'm a really dope MC. I don't feel like that's my choice. I can write, and I feel like that was given me. I don't have control over what I'm saying. It just happens and comes out.
Where did "Wish You Well" come from?
Blake got this sample. I don't even know where he got it. It was just dope. The song was actually longer, but I felt like there wasn't a need for it. I feel like I'm really good at writing and telling stories. I'm like, "Critically acclaimed or clinically insane". I'm either this good or I'm crazy [Laughs]. That's where that came from.
What artists shaped you?
Growing up, we're from Atlanta. My cousin is actually in Dungeon Family. I grew up on Outkast and Cee Lo. I listen to a lot of T.I., Kanye West, and Jay-Z. I still listen to all of them.
What would be the cinematic equivalent of ILLANTA?
That's a really good question! I think it's our movie. I wouldn't compare it to anything else. It's the story of us.
How did this all come together?
Blake started producing in 2008, and I started rapping in 2012. I'm new at it, but as a production team, we always had the same style. When I started to rap, Blake took over the production aspect so I could focus on writing. We can hear the same thing. We know exactly what we want to come out when making music. We're brothers so it's a natural thing. The songs on the mixtape are the first we've recorded.
Have you heard ILLClinton?
Follow them on Twitter and "like" them on Facebook, and find ILLANTA over on DatPiff!