Urban Vault caught up with Chicago, Illinois based emcee ILL Gordon to ask him some questions about his music, inspirations, and collaborations
Ill Gordon is known for his lyrical prowess and has always expressed creativity over gimmicks with consistency over the span of his career, both as a solo artist and as part of the group SUBSTANCEMUZIK. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Gordon became known for his fierce raps and keen punch lines all across the Midwest opening for the likes of Black Milk, Talib Kweli, The Lox, and others.
What is your name?
Where are you from?
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been making music for the majority of my life. My dad is a musician and he taught me how to play the drums by the age of 3. I started writing raps around my freshman year of high school but I didn’t start to take it seriously until I got to college.
How many songs /albums have you released to date?
Up to date, I have released a total of 9 projects. I am half of the group SubstanceMuzik with Dat Bizness and as the group we released 4 mixtapes: Raw Substance (2009), SubstanceMuzik (2010), Substance Abuse (2011) and Contra (2012); 3 albums: No Grey Area (2013), Dope (2014) and It’s Nothing (2014). As ILL Gordon, I have released 2 solo projects thus far: Gordo (2016) and #Barzondeck (2017)
Can you tell us about your new song/album, the background, and inspirations behind it?
I love #Barzondeck. It’s exactly how I would want an ILL Gordon project to sound. Hard beats and Hard bars. The entire project was produced by Reg Vador. When I was in the process of coming up with songs for the project, I remember telling myself to just write what you feel and go in the direction that beat tells you. I really wanted to establish my sound as a solo artist and that simply came from me staying true to the type of music I like to make. I love cleverness so I wanted everything about this album to be a metaphor. The title, #Barzondeck refers to someone walking on to the main deck of a ship but instead of a person, it’s my lyricism or ‘Barz’! LOL! Essentially it means that ‘my barz’ are the focal point of this project. As far as the cover, it’s literally a bar on a deck!
Who have you collaborated with so far in your Career?
Thus far I have had collaborations with Dat Bizness, Vic Spencer, Gemstones, TMC, Mozart, R.O.E., Add-2, Reg Vador, Drty Gnus, All Purpose Beatz, SC, Tony Baines, and Deka Derse.
Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
I would love to get some production from Alchemist, Vdon, Tommy Daringer and Apollo Brown. As far as artists, Planet Asia, Willie The Kid, Curren$y, Anderson Paak, Raekwon and Crooked I.
What inspires you when you make your music?
Outside of the actual beat that I would write to, I get very inspired when I hear other dope hip hop artists. I love when I can rewind a song just to catch a bar that I might have missed the first time. My biggest inspiration is probably my love for music itself. Regardless of the genre, I try to appreciate all aspects of music. I will listen to
anything once and can find inspiration from how and instrument sounds on the song or the actual words being delivered. Either way, music is a huge inspiration for my music.
How have you ended up in the music industry?
My love to make music had me end up in the music industry. I never really desired to be a huge superstar, I really just want to make a decent living off of my music. I want to make it more than just a hobby and I was told that “it’s a hobby until your start to make money off of it”. At that point, I knew that the only way to have my music support me financially is to treat it like a business and not a hobby. Surprisingly, it has not diminished my love for the art.
What do you think of the music industry in 2017?
I think the music industry today is a gift and curse. The artist has more control over how they would like for their career to go. There are a plethora of very successful independent artists that have established their own lane with their craft. The level of social technology today allows for anyone to establish their own fan base minus the help of a record label. It’s a curse because not as many people buy music anymore and the artist now has to find other ways outside of record sales to generate revenue. It’s now become more about being a brand than an artist. It also has oversaturated the industry with all types of music whether it is good or bad. What have you got planned for 2018? I plan on releasing another solo project around the top of the year as well as continue to release more videos, singles, and other forms of media. I also want to get a collaboration with one of the artists I stated earlier done. I really want to establish my brand as an artist and continue to build on my fan base. I also plan on doing some regional and national shows and hopefully another tour in the process.
What’s your favorite track at the moment?
I listen to too much music to have just one favorite track but a couple are: ‘Bamboo’- Skyzoo, ’24hrs’ – Willie The Kid, ‘Clans and Cliks’ – Sean Price, and of course my latest joint ‘Dog’.
What do you do when your not making music?
When I am not making music I am a teacher and a coach. I teach a High School Civics class and coach basketball.
Facebook or Twitter?
I actually prefer both. I use both a lot when I promote my music and videos but I get more of a response on Facebook. I need to get my Twitter followers up! LOL
In a few words sum up your thoughts about Urban Vault and what we’re trying to do?
Urban Vault serves as a beacon of light that helps independent artists get noticed for being true to their craft.
Thank you for your time and may you carry on making dope, fresh music….
The #Barzondeck album is available HERE.