On their debut self-titled EP, the duo of ILLYZILLA—Nigerian rapper iLLBLISS and producer/DJ Teck-Zilla—deliver the sound of two gifted artists at the top of their respective games. Lyrically, iLLBLISS commands the attention of his opposition and followers with an authoritative voice and tack-sharp bars. The immediacy of his rhymes is complemented perfectly by Teck’s always-on-point production that injects modern touches into Golden Era boom-bap.
It’s obvious to anyone listening that these two were destined to work together, which makes the EP’s conception that much more magical. They wrote and recorded the six tracks in less than a week’s time—Dec. 26-31, 2018—and the end result is something you’d think they painstakingly crafted for months and months. Their instant-kinship status fuels the energy of ILLYZILLA, from the aspirational imagery of “Be Great” (“Show love even when they show you hate/ That’s why God made you great”) to the confident, raw vibes of “We Are Not Mates” (“Always knew my DNA was different”).
ILLYZILLA also nail it when experimenting with R&B on “Queens,” a heartwarming ode to iLLBLISS’s wife featuring unique vocal appearances from singer Uzezi and emcee Phlow. They provide the female side of the relationship perspective and do so with honesty and emotion, bringing depth to the track. The warmth of “Queens” extends to “DON” as well, though this Phlow-assisted cut is less romantic and more an anthem for those who pave their own paths in this life. Still, the soulful touches from Teck help to balance iLLBLISS’s assertive vocals and Phlow’s presence on the hook.
It’s that same sense of balance that makes ILLYZILLA successful as a complete project. Everyone on here is bringing their best to the table without stepping on each other, and it provides a feeling of harmony that makes the EP such an addictive listen. Head over to your preferred digital retailer or streaming platform to support ILLYZILLA, which is available now via Str8Buttah Productions!