Artist Feature: Illustrate
Recently I stumbled across an artist who had shared his album on a Facebook post and I gave it a listen. I might have been a bit slow on the uptake about this artist but when I heard a few of the tracks I thought this is seriously dope! My kind of Boom Bap beats laced with lyrics of depth and spiritual truth. Read more about Illustrate below…
Illustrate stepped on the Hip Hop music scene in 1995. Back in the days when KJ-52 was known as King J Mack and Mars Ill’s Manchild was beginning work with The Pride. In the Denver music scene, where Illustrate began, he was working with a local secular music label known as Kut-N-Kru Records. While working with this label, Illustrate was mentored in his musical production by DJ Scratch G. Scratch G also taught him the basics of sound recording. The first few songs they recorded were on a ¼ in reel to reel which gave them a limited eight tracks to record with. Beats were produced on an Esoniq EPS. Although the set up was simple, it built a foundation for Illustrate to create musically.
0ver 20 years later and Illustrate still creates new music. With the release of seven independent solo efforts and a compilation release with former label mate Minority, he still chases his passion of sharing his faith through the music. While collaborating with various artists throughout the years, Illustrate has refined his skills as an artist and producer and dramatically grown in his faith in Christ. Illustrate has worked with artists and producers such as Manchild (of Mar’s Ill), Redcloud, Saltybeats, Jendor, Shadow of the Locust, Jeremiah Dirt, Elan Brio, K.P., Ellis Taylor, Illusent, the Lord’s Fellowship, Fros’T, MVP, Rollah, and Represent. Each of these collaborations has allowed Illustrate to refine his art and build strong friendships with these artists.
2016 gave birth to the newest release from Illustrate. This album summarizes many of the challenges and struggles faced during the last 20 years as a “Christian” hip hop artist. The album almost didn’t happen for various reasons. However, November 4, 2016, was the official release date for “Faith, Love, & Hip Hop.” This is the seventh solo release and most powerful project to date. Fueled by new determination to reach hip hop’s youth, Illustrate continues to refine his skills and his walk with God to build the message that through Christ all things are possible.
As of October of 2016, Illustrate has become an official member of Shadow of the Locust. Although he has been friends with Jeremiah Dirt and a Locust fan for most of his time creating music, he had never pursued becoming an official member. As a member of Shadow of the Locust, Illustrate looks forward to future collaborations with crew members and building stronger relationships within the movement. He hopes to share his gifts and talent with the crew and continue to create new music to share his faith. With over 20 years of musical experience, Illustrate is excited to help promote and grow the Locust name.
I encourage you to go check out the extensive Illustrate back catalogue. There’ s plenty to keep you occupied. You won’t be disappointed!
Here’s the first track I came across which got my attention!
There is also a new EP being released in November that is a collaborative effort between Illustrate and Elan Brio. Elan Brio on production and Illustrate with the lyricisim. Guest features will include Elan Brio, Manchild (Mars Ill/Move Merchants), J River, & Acacia. You can go pre-order here on Bandcamp
Illustrate also hosts a monthly show on 4 Life Radio called the Throw Down. Playing mostly underground hip hop, host artist interviews, discuss Bible scriptures, and play live artist performances. It airs every third Sunday of the month at 7PM MST. You can check that out here: glifeoutreach.org/Radio.php
I look forward to listening to previous albums and I’m going be on the look out for the new releases too – make sure you do the same!