Pretty soon, we won’t be referring to Illa J as the younger brother of the late-great J Dilla but simply, Illa J. His newest single and video, “Universe,” is more danceable than boom-bap, with a Childish Gambioish vibe to it. The Detroit native spends the entire video courting a young woman via charisma and song.
There are no 16 bars, no guest appearances from other emcees—just Illa and his melodic verses. His cadence and tone gives the impression that regular Slum Village collaborator Dwele has given him a few tips. Overall the song has “hit” written all over it and if this is the direction Illa J is going, we are all in store for some truly good music.