Topical Tyrant threw some questions Ill Bill's way, on a ton of subjects including how his place of birth influences him, the latest album 'What's Wrong With Bill?', what projects are in the works and touring.
For those who don't know, who are you and how or when did you first get started in Hip-Hop?
This is ILL BILL. I wrote my first rhyme in 5th grade over 20 years ago. I got the OG status.
I understand that you grew up in Brooklyn Glenwood Projects with your brother Necro and fellow crew member Goretex. Do you think that if you had grown up in a different neighbourhood, that your future would have been different?
Yeah. The place you live molds you in some ways, so yeah. Not in every way but it definitely has an influence and in my case it did.
What was it like to release your first solo single "Gangsta Rap" b/w "How to Kill a cop"?
It was mad overdue so it felt good to get that out no doubt.
When did you bring together the group Non-Phixion? And how did you come along to meet Sabac Red and Dj Eclipse?
Serch was managing me and talked me into starting a group with him. I met those dudes through Serch. They all used to work together at Wild Pitch.
Since Non-Phixion's release "The Future is Now", what have you released on your own part?
I put out my solo album "What's Wrong With Bill?", a few singles and did a bunch of features on mad different peoples' albums.
The new album "What's wrong with Bill?" is probably one of the most solid albums I've heard in a long while, how much time do you think you put into it?
I had some ideas for a minute but overall me and Necro worked on it for about a year.
Standout songs would have to be "The anatomy of a school shooting", from the perspective of the Columbine shooters and "American History X" which takes stabs at the presidency and politics in general. It's these types of songs I wish everyone could hear, because there is a huge message in both that I'm surprised hasn't sparked outrage from politicians. If these were to make the presses and controversy spread, what would be your defence?
Why would I need a defence? I didn't commit the crime. I'm just giving my point of view on it. Those that don't wanna hear what I have to say can turn off the radio.
In music today you don't come along someone who is both a fan of heavy metal AND hip-hop. Are you trying to contribute to the evolution of hip-hop or are you trying to start a new genre all together? I say that because we find that people who listen to metal hate rap, and people who listen to rap hate metal.
We just do what we want no matter whether if people like it. If we like it, we do it. When we incorporate metal elements into what we do, we're just being ourselves. I don't give a fuck about those that don't dig it. This music is for us first.
In your lyrics you range from drugs, to sex, to violence, to aliens, to conspiracies, to war, to political corruption, and so on. For most this music is a breath of fresh air because it's way too often that someone speaks on only one or two topics as opposed to your variety. To what extent have the experiences so far in your life contributed to the material in most of your songs? Whether you have experienced first hand or witnessed it through the media.
I take everything from experience in some way or another. I switch up topics so much cos otherwise I'd get bored. I can't make music in a box. I have to step outside the box and spit about things you might not expect to hear on a rap record.
Many may classify your music as death or murder rap. What's your take on that?
That's one side of of my music but not all of it. People that classify my music strictly as murder rap haven't heard my work with Non Phixion. When I get on a track with Necro, that's gonna be some death rap shit. But if you listen to a Non Phixion song like "Caught Between Worlds", I'm coming from an introspective point a view that's more about life than death. I'm too hard to classify so I'd suggest that people don't even bother. Just listen to what I do and appreciate it for what it is.
Your brother Necro, is known throughout the underground as someone who is sick, demented, and crazy. Do you think he is just misunderstood or is he really sick, demented, and crazy?
A little of both.
How has it been running your own label (Uncle Howie Records)? Do a lot of the unsigned hype that try at your label, remind you of yourself?
No. But I'm always looking and I do see potential out there. I'm just not going out of my way to sign people. It has to make sense. The only artists I'm commited to working with on Uncle Howie are people I've known for years and that's how it's gonna stay for now. It's gonna take a lot to impress me enough to sign somebody I have no previous connection to. I'm not saying it can't happen but we'll see. time will tell. So far the label is doing well. We're into putting out quality music not matter what genre it is so if I sign something it's based on talent more than the style of music.
Besides from being an emcee, member of Non-Phixion, and label owner. Are you planning to produce your own beats or others in the future? Or is that a realm that you'd rather your brother take care of?
Me and Q-Unique have started a production company and are making beats for the next Non Phixion album right now. You'll be seeing our beats popping up over the next year on a bunch of different projects. We kept this under wraps for a minute now but when the new Non Phixion album drops, you'll hear what's up.
Is the next solo LP in the works yet, or are you focusing on the next Non-Phixion release?
We're finishing up the Non Phixion now and then I'll start on my next solo.
What releases from your label should we be looking forward to? This seems to be just the beginning of it all, hope to be in it for the long run? As opposed to Rawkus Records that got shut down early 2004.
We got "Nuclear Truth" coming from Non Phixion, we got DVDs from both DJ Eclipse and Uncle Howie and Q is working on his follow-up album already. We also have a new group called HERO that features a dude named E-Dot that I've been working with for a minute now. This is definitely just the beginning.
What are some places you have toured and which ones would you say was the best experience? Worst experience? What are some places you'd like to tour that you haven't done so already?
The list is crazy. We've rocked in NYC, Los Angeles, Boston, San Fran, Seattle, Chicago, Las Vegas, Detroit, Philly, Miami, Atlanta, Toronto, Amsterdam, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Bogota, Athens, Reykjavik, Cannes, Oslo, Milan, Zurich, Brussels, Geneva, Copenhagen, the list goes on and on. We love Amsterdam for obvious reasons and there's good experiences and bad experiences no matter where you go, but overall I can't say we had a bad time anywhere. Some places are better than others though and some of my favorite places are Canada, the UK, Greece, Scandenavia, Italy and Spain. Some of the places I haven't done already but want to soon include Australia, Brazil, Japan, The Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Israel.
Any last comments or shout outs before this is done?
Big ups to all the good people worldwide that support what we do. We got a lot more of that grimy shit you've been fiending for. Stay tuned.