Listen to “The Truman Show” and “Suicide Note Reborn” via our BandCamp Page
Being that Ill Poetic’s sophomore LP, “The World Is Ours” was my favorite LP of the last decade, one can imagine the pure elation I felt when Ill’s recent addition to the “T.W.I.O.” family, “The World Is Illuminated” ( comprised of remixes & B-Sides from both “T.W.I.O.” and Ill’s solo debut, “Illumination”) hit my inbox late last week. I know that some of you may have scratched your head when discovering that “T.W.I.O” was my favorite over the last 10 years, and many of you had never even heard the album. On the same token, there are those of you who have been following WhenTheyReminisce, WakeYourDaughterUp and Poisonous Paragraphs and have read about Ill’s debut on numerous occasions when visiting any of the aforementioned sites that have birthed BloggerHouse. I’m not gonna’ sit here and continue to rave about “The World Is Ours”, simply because I’d rather you reference it here, but simply stated, this album made my summer back in 2007 (also the summer during which my youngest daughter was born). Now, nearly three years later, Ill Poetic has reworked some of my favorites from his catalog, and more importantly, he’s made a valiant attempt to take me back to the days of sitting in three-mile long traffic bumpin’ “The Beautiful” with my windows down in 98 degree heat not having a care in the world, just as long as “T.W.I.O.” was on the Ipod all was gravy.
Funny thing, I can remember sending Ill and email a few years back stating: Damn, the instrumental that takes “The Beautiful” to a close (on Ill’s “T.W.I.O”) is INSANE, are you gonna’ use that for anything else?”. Well, much to my delight while playing “..Illuminated’s” opener, “The Truman Show” I was pleasantly surprised to hear the backdrop that accompanied the track to be that chilling, goose-bump inducing-Lonnie Liston sample atop those crispy, neck-snapping drums to be that of the 30 second tidbit that also appeared as the “outro” to “The Beautiful” (yet another track that can be found on “T.W.I.O”, this time with a reworked “outro” it finds it’s place on “..Illuminated”). Hosted by a fellow Ohio native, J. Rawls, Ill Poetic offers up some of the finest works from “Illumination” namely the vivid-imagery of “Telephone Wires” as well as a thumping remix of “Beyond” which also features appearances from Piakhan (can we get an album from this cat already? Please?) and King Solomon. Yet it’s the breathtaking production found on “Suicide Note Reborn” (if you haven’t heard the O.G. from “Illumination” you’re truly missing out) that gave me goosebumps, all the while pressing the “repeat” button nearly six times in succession.
Some of “T.W.I.O”‘s finer selections also get the renewed and revamped treatment, “One More” (Roger’s Remix) finds Ill along with Piakhan and Young Zone spitting signature dope over a bouncy track with a hook that pays homage to Roger Troutman, and while the original version of “One More” featured one of my favorite emcees, Wordsworth, I gotta’ believe that this attempt trumped the O.G. Being picky, if there was a least favorite, or a track that I could have done without on “T.W.I.O.”, it would have been the syrupy “Sugar Shack”. To me, “Sugar Shack” just seemed a bit out of place amongst the heavy soul-samples that comprised the production of “T.W.I.O.”, thankfully “Sugar Shack” is re-birthed and comes out muuuuch better on “…Illuminated”. You’ll also find the remixes of “The Last” and “Home” to be equally appealing.
For someone that loved “T.W.I.O.” just as much as myself, I feel like a kid in the candy store when listening to “The World Is Illuminated” as it is just simply a feel good album, that seems to effortlessly set you at ease. “Cool”, as universal a term and as lame and unoriginal as it may be is exactly what this album and much, if not all of Ill Poetic’s discography defines. And as unimpressed (Beats=dope, rhymes…not so much) with Ill’s recent collaborative LP with Approach (“Aloe Park”) was to me, I’m glad that Ill has finally blessed the masses with “The World Is Illuminated”. It’s gonna’ be a good summer…….