The Boy Illinois
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The Boy Illinois

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Hip Hop R&B

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2013-present: Tetsuo & Youth
On February 10, 2013, on the red carpet for the Grammy Awards he announced his fifth studio album would be titled Tetsuo & Youth.[65] Since then, he has released songs that are not slated to be on Tetsuo & Youth. These songs are "Light Blue" and "Jonylah Forever." Upon hearing her name in Lupe's song Form Follows Function, Imogen Heap reached out to Lupe on Twitter to give a thank you which led to Fiasco asking her to appear on his next album making her a possible guest artist on Tetsuo and Youth.[66] On August 4, 2013 Lupe Fiasco revealed a new song would be released on September 11, titled "Peace of Paper/Cup of Jayzus".[67]

On August 24, 2013, Fiasco revealed the first song from Tetsuo & Youth, "Crack", featuring Chris Brown.[68] Then on October 3, 2013, Fiasco announced the Tetsuo & Youth Preview tour to take place between November 2 and December 15, 2013. The tour featuring label-mate Stalley as a supporting act, and The Boy Illinois as an opening act.[69] He also revealed the album Tetsuo & Youth would be released in early 2014, but was later postponed to 2015.[70] On October 14, 2013, Fiasco released the first supposed song from the album, "Old School Love", featuring singer Ed Sheeran.[71] Then on October 21, 2013, Fiasco revealed that Big K.R.I.T. and Rick Ross would also be featured on the album.[72]

On May 19, 2014, Fiasco released the first promotional single before the announcement of the album's tracklist. "Mission" is a track to empower those facing cancer, revere cancer survivors, and remember those who have passed to due to cancer-related illnesses," he explains. He has teamed up with Stand Up to Cancer as a celebrity ambassador. Together, they are planning collaborations tied to the track that will be unveiled the same year.[73] On June 24, 2014, Fiasco released a second promotional single titled "Next to It" which features Ty Dolla Sign on the hook.[74] - Wikipedia


Music News: The Boy Illinois Talks New Chicago Movement - Bet.com


Upon first introduction to The Boy Illinois, some may think that they have this Chi-town rapper all figured out. His particularly descriptive name may provide from obvious allusions about him, but don’t be fooled. Illi, as he is commonly known, prides himself upon being more than just the smooth culmination of the virtues and vices of the infamous Chicago. After decidedly ending his short-lived college career at University of Illinois at Urbana Champlain to pursue hip-hop on a full time basis, Illi has already made strides within the industry that indicate a promising claim to fame in the near future.

So what gives this lyrical brother from the east side of Chicago his mass appeal? With a style all his own, which he credits to his Motown upbringing, strong familial support system, and a self-taught realistic perspective, Illi has created a steadily growing niche for himself. After XXL caught up with this nonchalantly talented rapper, we found out just what the hype is all about.

The adage “never forget where you came from” carries the hard bravado that characterizes the image put out by many in hip-hop. While most lyricists find this image to be solidified by decorated resumes of street credibility and lengthened rap sheets, The Boy Illinois seems to have an almost instinctive mastery of this, yet in a way that instead begets a multidimensional image. While he acknowledges the rugged edges of Chicago’s East Side, he speaks of it with realistic romanticism. “We didn’t know we didn’t have a lot, because all we grew up with was us … I feel like my childhood was pretty decent.” Music has always been a part of his appeal, due to his main influence, and number one fan, his father. “My dad is a singer. He had a band. He listened to a lot of Al Jarreau, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sade—that’s what I was raised on.” A quality that is reflected through his music, Illi acknowledges his past with reverent hindsight, so much so that it seems to be ideal. Don’t be mistaken—the man is well-versed with the streets. “Yeah,” Illi acquiesces, “I’ve seen some things I wasn’t supposed to see because of them. But, you take the good with the bad.”

And that he has. His debut mixtape Inhale Part 1: State Representative, the first of what would become a 4-part series of Inhales, introduced us to the lyricist with a very raw and very familiar Chicago-style of rap and pronunciation, mixed in with the quirk of his non-conventional persona. With each “part” of the Inhale series, an obvious progression can be seen in Illi’s rap style and subject matter, as both continued to mature and develop. This progression is most recognizable in his Memoirs of Gilbert Gaston release, a mixtape he fittingly considers to be the “exhale,” per sé, of the Inhale series. Illi definitely found his sound and image with Memoirs, citing it as “a project [he] wanted to put out because I had stuff to say [about] stuff going on in the world!”

In the midst of developing his identity as an artist, Illi also discovered more about himself as a person, after finding out around the age of 17 that he is of Haitian descent. “Ever since I learned that, I’ve been reppin’ Haiti.” Though Memoirs of Gilbert Gaston was his initial ode to his Haitian grandfather, Gilbert Gaston, his new found pride continues to serve as one of the greatest inspirations of his latest project, Jean Baptiste. Jean Baptiste, while being a notable allusion to his Haitian roots, is concurrently homage to his Chi-town upbringing: “John Baptiste is also the founder of Chicago, and he was a Haitian man, so I’m just keeping the theme together.” Working closely with producer Coop, of the Baron Boys, who have worked with the likes of Drake, Bow Wow and BET, Illi may be ready to sound the clarion call of his official arrival to the scene with Jean Baptiste.

While he’s modest about it, its clear that Illi is really beginning to make a name for himself. From freestyling and being featured on ‘Sway in the Morning,’ to collaborating with Wyclef Jean’s team on Jean Baptiste, performing at this year’s popular SXSW Music Festival, to even being invited to perform at the Native American Music Awards, which earned him the precedent of being the first Black performer at the event, it’s apparent that several in the industry have begun to recognize the aura and talent that is The Boy Illinois. But really, the man is just out to do what he loves. “I just like making music, whatever sounds good to me,” he said. “The best thing I get out of this is somebody coming up to me and saying ‘You’re an inspiration.’ You can’t pay for that, that’s the best shit ever.” Only time will tell what The Boy Illinois has up his sleeve next. But his growth as an artist and impressive work with Jean Baptiste—which he describes as “old school playa shit”—is a sign that there’s something worth looking forward to.—Christina Kelly - XXL Mag


It’s not often that Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco takes young musicians under his well-versed wing, but in the case of William Dalton, he saw something special. Like Lupe, Dalton — the 27-year-old hip-hop star better known as The Boy Illinois — keeps Chicago center stage: Since touring with his mentor last fall, he’s worked with other local artists, including fast-rapping Twista, and pays homage to his hometown through his work — a recent project was dubbed “Jean Baptiste” in reference to Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable, who Dalton calls “the grandfather of Chicago.” Later this fall, Dalton will release his latest album, “Pointe (New Age Colonialism).”

ROAD TO RAP
“I started rapping around the age of 13. I made a group, Family Affair, with two of my friends, [but] after high school I thought of my solo career. I was at the University of Illinois for 2 ½ years and dropped out to pursue music. My dad was in a band — he [stopped] to take care of my older sister — so he understood when I dropped out of school. He said, ‘If you’re going to do music, do it 100 percent.’ “



MUSICAL INFLUENCES
“Michael Jackson without a doubt, because I danced a lot when I was a kid. Earth Wind & Fire, Al Jarreau, Jay-Z, Kanye [West] and Lupe.”



ON TOUR
“I’ve known Lupe for 2 ½ years, but I had to earn my stripes. It took time for him to give me that nod [of approval]. That was my first national tour [with Lupe last fall]. He had a tour bus with all his people — but me, I had a van. We beat them to every city because they had so much stuff to haul with them; they would check out early and [my friends and I] would take over their rooms. … We were in Arizona and [Lupe] pulled out a book and started reading. I mean, nobody brings books on a rap tour — that’s the last thing you’d expect — but this guy is [real].”



LYRIC LESSONS
“I try to make [music] for everyday people. A line in a song might refer to getting out of a car and dropping your phone off your lap — something everybody does. There are millionaires out there you can rap about, but the majority of the population is middle-class people, that’s who I [rap for].”



COMPOSITION STYLE
“Sometimes the words might not come to me, but the melody [does]. I skat a little bit then fill in what I want to say later. It’s like writing a paper — the introduction, then the important paragraph, then the [conclusion].” - Chicago Suntimes


The Boy Illinois’ place as one of the faces of the next generation of Chicago music was reassured with a shout out of respect from Lupe Fiasco over his recent “Pound of Flesh/Paris Tokyo” song.

Although only mentioned for a brief second in the song, The Boy Illinois has been working tirelessly to make his presence known in the music industry, starting in Chicago with his most recent and highly successful “Jean Baptiste” project which is available on major hip-hop sites and ITunes. As a further extension of his appreciation to one of his hometown’s up and comers, Lupe Fiasco has set The Boy Illinois to open for his upcoming Tetsuo & Youth Preview Tour.

The Tetsuo & Youth 32 City Preview Tour will officially kick off November 2 2013, in Atlanta, with other subsequent stops such as Houston, West Hollywood, Chicago, New York and Washington, and ultimately concluding in Baltimore, Maryland on December 15th 2013. The Boy Illinois will be accompanying Lupe for this tour to prepare fans for the release of his 5th studio album, Tetsuo & Youth, due in 2014. Tetsuo: The Iron Man, a 1989 Japanese cult classic serves as partial motivation behind the album title. - HipHopWeekly


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Chicago seems to be the breeding ground for new, trendsetting artists. While the city’s Drill scene continues to create new waves, The Boy Illinois is intent on setting his own. His dapper style, both on and off the mic, is symbolic of his mature spirit and life experience. Drawing inspiration from an array of sources, his artistic messages stretch way beyond his years.

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