Illa J

Saturday 23rd September 2023

, 19:30

No Traffic Album Tour featuring Special Guests.

Singer/producer/songwriter/rapper John “Illa J” Yancey was introduced to the rich, soulful Detroit music scene more than twenty years ago at the young age of 13. His mother is a former opera singer, his father was a songwriter/pianist/bassist/vocalist, and his brother was a well-respected record producer and rapper, so it was no surprise when Yancey wrote his first rhyme and began teaching himself piano, bass, and taking vocal lessons. Around the age of 20, he shifted his focus from pursuing a basketball career to making a name for himself in the music industry. Yancey relocated to Los Angeles to start his solo career, starting with the release of the Illa J EP, a fully self-produced and self-arranged project.

In 2007, he toured Europe for the first time with the “J Dilla Changed My Life” tour with Aloe Blacc, House Shoes, and Exile. Soon after, his mother introduced him to Delicious Vinyl founder Michael “Mike Floss” Ross and in 2008, he released his first solo record, YANCEY BOYS, with the label. The following year, Yancey performed and was featured on projects with SLUM VILLAGE. By 2010, he was an official member of the group after being included on the Dirty Slums mixtape series. His only official collaborations with SLUM VILLAGE  were Evolution (2013) and Yes! (2015), but during that time, he also dropped SUNSET BLVD, a collaboration with fellow Detroit rapper Frank Nitt. Soon after, he relocated to Montreal where he linked up with Canadian producers Nick Wisdom & AstroLogical (aka Potatohead People) who featured Yancey on his debut album Big Luxury. Yancey dropped his self-titled solo album on Bastard Jazz Records at the end of 2015, and for the first time in his career, he was touring solo.

In the years to follow, Yancey decided to switch up his approach to making music and worked with a vocal coach to sharpen his singing skills. His 2017 release on Jakarta Records, HOME, focuses on his time in Detroit, taking listeners back “to the original source, the original purpose” and features production from LA-based, multi-instrumentalist Calvin Valentine. The next year, Yancey and Valentine collaborated once again to put out “JOHN YANCEY”, a deeply personal album validating the artist discovering his individual career path, no longer overshadowed by his brother’s success.

In 2019 Illa J released a collaboration EP with Atamone called the “BAKERY” which was released with Innerocean Records followed by the instrumental ‘Late Nite Banger’ where the two collaborated on the production.

Since 2021 he released 2 more projects which he fully produced while collaborating with UK soulstress Harleighblu. They recorded their first album ‘HIDEOUT’ within 10 days and followed it with their second project called ‘SECOND RECORD’. This collaboration allowed Illa J to fully dive into his role as a music producer and create his own new style of music.

Since both have developed such great synergy, Harleighblu is featured on his first single ‘Not Ever’ off his upcoming solo LP ‘NO TRAFFIC’ with BBE Music which is fully produced by Illa J. His second single ‘Get Down’ features Amp Fiddler on the hook.