“Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait…”
I’d like to think I have a fairly solid belief in the abilities of Australian hip-hop. I’ve been both amazed and inspired by acts like Hilltop Hoods and Bliss N Eso rising up to ridiculous levels of popularlity, and have really connected with releases by Urthboy, Drapht, Downsyde and Dialectrix, amongst others. One act that I’ve found absolutely no connection with, however, is Melbourne’s Illy. He’s had two spots in the Hottest 100, collaborated with Owl Eyes and developed a fairly strong following. When I hear his music, however, I feel…nothing. I don’t hate him personally, nor do I completely abhor his music. But there’s essentially nothing going on in his music – at least that I can engage and connect with.
Illy doesn’t have a particularly interesting story to tell, which would certainly explain why he has to fill nearly all of his songs with cliches and psuedo-inspirational crap that one might find on the cutting room floor of one of the later Rocky films. It takes a very special kind of rapper to move from a priviledged background into something that prides itself on struggle so much as the art-form of hip-hop; and I honestly don’t believe Illy has it in him. He’s just a law student that caught a lucky break – and his latest video for The Chase essentially proves it.
This dull pastiche basically throws together footage of Illy walking around in his hoodie, mumbling his little rhymes interspersed with live footage that doesn’t exactly leave one inspired. That’s not exactly helpful when the song you’ve got in the background is essentially a self-help book squashed into three minutes. Honestly, the guy should just give up the ghost – degree or no degree, he’s no better than the party-boy bogans that plagued Aussie hip-hop not too long ago like Pez and 360. He’s going to keep getting more and more successful, and more power to him – I just honestly don’t feel like it will be deserved.