Monday, March 5, 2012

Ohio Takeover Tour Exclusive, Part II: Ill Poetic Interview

During the second installment of the Ohio Takeover TourStalleyIll Poetic and LxE for the Uncool made their first stop in Athens, Ohio.

The three took the stage along with Canton native Jéan P and headliners Big K.R.I.T. and Dom Kennedy for an collective better than Ohio has seen in recent memory during Ohio University's Sibs Weekend Concert.

Recently, I was able to sit down with two of the Ohio Takeover Tour performers. In the first installment of my Ohio Takeover Tour Exclusive, I spoke with Stalley about his recent endeavors. I was also privileged to talk with someone who's rhymes are abstract but nevertheless dope. Ill Poetic has been quiet for the last few years on the Ohio hip hop scene. Ill Po has taken time off from touring and dropping projects but don't let that fool you, he's been working on music all the while.

"I’ve spent this time diving into sound design, scoring off Broadway plays and working with musicians, bands, songwriting, arrangements and all these new tools and visuals that I’ve never had before," Ill Poetic said.

The Cincinnati native dove back onto the stage during the 2012 Ohio Takeover Tour debut in Athens and what better way to do it than during such a big set...

"This is easily, by far the best show that I’ve been blessed to be a part of," he said. "It was cool, Athens always knows what’s up."

You can read the full interview with Ill Poetic Below:

Paul Meara: Down here in Athens with LxE, Jéan P, Stalley, Big K.R.I.T., and Dom Kennedy, what did you think of the show?

Ill Poetic: Oh man, I’ve not been to Athens in a few years so this is easily, by far the best show that I’ve been blessed to be a part of. It was cool, Athens always knows what’s up. I mean OU is like the get down spot of Ohio and possibly of the Midwest region and possibly of the U.S. (laughs) Possibly of the western hemisphere (laughs). But yeah it was great. I’ve been looking forward to this show. Personally, I took a break from performing, which I’ve never done before, for the past six months. I had to get started and get everything wrapped to actually start diving into building a sound that I would be able to bring onto a platform like a campus and a stage like actually something bigger than just a hole in the wall bar down the street so yeah no complaints.

PM: You are a part of this Ohio Takeover Tour with Stalley and LxE. You are going to be hitting more destinations so what do you think about that?

Ill Poetic: I’m just looking very forward to it. It’s a lot of pressure. We did one last year. Last year we put together the first Ohio Takeover Tour and we had a lot of Ohio venues and mid-level venues like 200/300 capacity venues and for the most part, we had good turnouts, we had really good shows, great energy for all the artists involved. Everyone’s fans just showed out and when you combine all of them together, it made us able to pack out a lot of spots. So with that, we’re definitely looking to expand and try and figure it out. When Stalley’s manager reached out to do another Ohio Takeover Tour with Stalley, it was an obvious no-brainer for us and we saw the opportunity to try and see what the next level was and for Ohio artists, to try to set up a tour and involve actual college campuses and the higher level venues and theaters and just the things that aren’t apropos to hip hop shows in the state with Ohio independent hip hop artists. So I’m looking forward to the rest of them and the thing is going to be a multitude of different types of venues. Me personally, I finally have a new record coming out and I haven’t had a record out officially since ’07, five years. I’ve spent this time diving into sound design, scoring off Broadway plays and working with musicians, bands, songwriting, arrangements and all these new tools and visuals that I’ve never had before and so I wanted to try and throw these into a gumbo and present it to a crowd in something totally different than I’ve been able to do before.

PM: Speaking of that new work, what do you have coming?

Ill Poetic: Um, like I said, I haven’t put out a record in five years. I’ve been working on music religiously to near desperate sacrificial level that I never knew I could for the past five years. So with that, I pretty much let my entire buzz die down to nothing so I could re-build from the ground up. So I have about three years of music on the horizon and it starts this spring and in my head I expect nobody to care right now and I’m totally cool with that and by the end of it, I expect everybody to care and that’s my job. So in the spring I have a record, first of a three-part, like a first EP and it’s called Synesthesia: The Yellow Movement. Synesthesia is basically something I have where you see colors in music so there’s the “Yellow Movement,” there’s the “Blue Movement” and then there’s the “Red Movement” and they all kind of come together to form the entire record. Right now I’m working on the “Yellow Movement” and getting the stage and the visuals right, diving into 3D mapping. (They’re) a lot of things people see full scale with like Kanye and Watch the Throne do, things you don’t expect the independent, small, underground artists to do. So we’re really trying to create a stage that’s on par with Kanye West.

PM: What were those artists that made you want to get into hip-hop originally?

Ill Poetic: What really made me want to get into hip-hop was a kid named Kris Kross, which I am sure you will find one of the best of emcees and biggest inspirations. Any thing else would be wiggity wiggity wack but primarily for me, my biggest influences have always been OutKast, I’ve loved them since [Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik] and Players Ball since I was a grade school kid. It was just something that sounded really different. They’re south but had a real Midwest reflection. They sample all our people, the Isley’s, Rodgers and all the Ohio funk that came from our land so I was attached to them early. Andre 3000 is my favorite emcee of all time, favorite artist of all time and he’s down across the boarder. Every emcee like Nas going through the early runs. The west coast, Dre, Snoop, all the way down to someone like The Bums someone to pay attention to. East coast, Nas Biggie, Jay, Wu, and folks lower than them. Rotten Rascals. Then the south, the Outkast’s, 8 Ball & MJG, Scarface and then of course the Midwest, Bone Thugs, Twista, Common, Mos Def, Kweli, The Roots and the entire Tribe, just every branch of hip hop. I’ve pretty much fell in love with every branch of hip hop that I could.