The Ill Relatives is a group that hails from the eerie swamps of Baton Rouge, LA. It consists of Verge, Ryal, Drack Muse and Kool DJ Supamike. The collective was formed in the bustling halls of Southern University in South Baton Rouge. Two of the members are from the state of Illinois while the other two are from Louisiana. Hence the term "Ill," the "IL" is for Illinios and the other "L" is for Louisiana. The group is best known for emphasizing their deep and intellectual lyrics that are fused with some true and traditional Hip Hop style of beats. A type of style that is not a common practice in the state of Louisiana aside from the Psycho Ward and maybe even Bionik Brown (R.I.P.). Nevertheless, the group stayed humble and persistent and eventually released their full length debut album, Illustrations in 2001 on Nu Element Recordings. The production is managed by Gensu Dean and Drack Muse. Together, they team up to provide an eclectic composition of rhythms that are simply made but thoroughly engaging. A blend that is not only mellow but also very edgy and contemporary. The recipe for constructing the rhythms is of the olden days of Hip Hop and while it won't break any barriers musically, it still gives off a very refreshing vibe. Lyrically the album is also on point. The members are no slouch on the microphone and their verbal artistry is evident by their slick yet thought provoking rhymes. They take turns unleashing their various styles and their chemistry is certainly very commendable. Word play and technique are given the utmost attention so that the listener is immediately baited and hooked. The record closes out at a notable total of sixteen versatile tracks. Overall it's a very strong release by the group and one that can hold up against any premier release. Although this is another one of those hidden underground gems that are not easily located, it still has the power to challenge the mainstreams. In the end, it is up to the listener to discover the uncanny abilities of this solid work of art.
* The rhythm machine on the front cover is an Akai MPC2000.