Chicago-based hip-hop kingpin The Boy Illinois, colloquially known as Illi, is starting to enjoy a much-earned success that’s expanding as much as his impressive musical catalogue.
His staggering freshman release, a four part mixtape series called Inhale, established him as a force with whom none should reckon. He followed up with the formidable Jean Baptiste, which garnered critical acclaim and established a rock-solid fanbase. Now, most recently, Illi has dropped his DuSable album, met with glowing reviews and co-signs from iconic rap authorities as Lupe Fiasco and Wyclef Jean.
Illi composes and delivers lyrics with a raw and unabashed eloquence, weaving together prose and poetry that draw upon his upbringing on the East Side of Chicago. An avid philanthropist and the consummate gentleman, he volunteers with inner-city schoolchildren to support positive community development. He utilizes his intellect to challenge the status quo by incorporating into his lyrics a reverence for history, a love and intricate understanding of his proud Haitian heritage, and a contagious energy that pulls fans deeply into each one of his songs.
Unsurprisingly, his powerful music has garnered major accolades; The Boy Illinois has been featured on BET.com, Thisis50.com, Revolt TV, Complex Magazine, hiphopdx.com, CBS Radio, Shade 45, and XXL Magazine. He’s shattered the glass ceiling by being the first-ever rap artist to perform at the Native American Music Awards. Hip Hop Weekly named him as one of their ‘Next to Blow’ artists. Chicago-based hip-hop blog Fake Shore Drive fingered his sophomore release as one of the most highly anticipated of 2014. He’s been interviewed repeatedly by legendary Hip-Hop journalist, MTV alum and radio personality Sway Calloway. The hype machine surrounding his burgeoning career attracted veteran rap maverick Lupe Fiasco, who invited him on three separate national tours in 2015 and 2016. Their longwithstanding relationship drove Lupe to declare Illi as “…one of the leaders of the next generation of hip hop.” And we humbly agree.