Friday, 8 February 2008
Necro's brother rages on record, generating "adrenaline" hip hop, but beyond that, he's a contented family man.
Ill Bill is still identified with the leftfield hip hop posse Non Phixion, yet he was originally in a heavy metal band.
The New Yorker split from Non Phixion with 2004's What's Wrong With Bill-, encompassing the controversial The Anatomy Of A School Shooting.
He's now primed to drop his sophomore, The Hour Of Reprisal, preceded by the single White Nigger, on his Uncle Howie Records.
Four years is a long spell between LPs, with Bill blaming "label politics" for the delay. The rapper self-produced half of The Hour, frustrated at waiting for other beatmakers.
To his credit, Bill secured beats from the in-demand DJ Premier, the dude who reinvented Christina Aguilera.
The legendary DJ was a Non Phixion fan, lacing their track Rock Stars. "He's pretty much my favourite producer of all time so, from a fan point of view, it's a big deal for me to have Premo on the record," Bill says.
The Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon is among the guests.
Overall, Bill describes The Hour as "more mature" and "more focused." "When I started working on the record, I had an idea of what I wanted to get across. Basically, I wanted to let people see where I'm at, how I look at the world right now, where my life is at, and how it all interconnects.
"I recently got married and me and my wife have a young daughter - and that's gonna reflect in the lyrics now.
"I've always been an outspoken guy, and I don't hold my tongue in any way so, to be true to myself, I have to talk about every side of life. I try to keep everything balanced through my lyrics.
"I really had to somehow put my life into the record. This is the happiest time of my life. Aside from my career, just on a personal level, I'm in a really good place.
"The album is probably just as dark as anything I've ever done, but I think this might be the most balanced work that I've ever done."
Indeed, Bill assures listeners that he's not wussing out. "I'm my worst critic," he insists. However, 'Ill Bill' is not merely a persona. "The one thing I don't wanna come across as is a caricature."
Like Necro, Bill exists on the margins of hip hop, a subculture unto himself.
He'll never make a club joint. "I wouldn't mind being on MTV, if MTV hollered at me, but I'm not gonna change what I'm doing to get on MTV." Metal exerts a greater influence over his music than hip hop, anyway.
Bill is following Necro with an Australian tour. The rapper is "psyched" about what he's been told. "I made my name off live shows," he claims. "You know what they say - the more energy the crowd gives you, the more energy you're gonna give the crowd.
"I heard that Australia is insane. If that's true, it's only gonna be even crazier, 'cause my shows are already bonkers.
"Necro warned me, he told me that it's bananas out there, everybody's out of their minds, so it's gonna be dope."
WHO: Ill Bill
WHAT: Plays Manning Bar / new album The Hour of Reprisal through Uncle Howie Records
WHEN: Saturday 23 February / Out now