Iller Than Theirs Play Mercury Lounge on April 17th/CD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Iller Than Theirs Play Mercury Lounge on April 17th/CD Review

Iller Than Theirs Play Mercury Lounge on April 17thOne of the CDs that should have been on everyone's "Best of 2007" list is the debut disc from Brooklyn rappers Iller Than Theirs. The band is composed of rappers Tone Tank and Krayo (along with beats from Scott Thorough and DJ Snafu) who are all part of the Nuclear Family collective. The band is playing at Mercury Lounge of April 17th as part of an Embedded Records showcase.

Iller Than Theirs combines a wicked sense of self-depreciating humor with social commentary on everyday life. All of the is backed by some wicked beats. I'm a tough critic of rap bands as I expect both great vocals and great beats and this CD has held up to repeated play.

Before jumping into a review of the CD, I've shown this live video (of Iller Than Theirs @ Southpaw) to a number of friends and they have all come away with the comment "wow, they are really good".

Iller That Theirs' self-titled CD is about two guys from Brooklyn (the homeland) trying to 'make rap and make rent' in a city that is rapidly gentrifying. This theme runs beneath most of the songs. "Razor Bumps" is about people who pretend to be cool ("too fly to fart"), "To Be Ill" is about people who want something for nothing ("Everyone want a dog but no one want to walk the thing") and "The Same" is about Ratner's gentrification of Brooklyn and the Atlantic Center area.

"The Same" also features guest vocals from Masta Ace (from the Juice Crew). Kray gave an interview to Underground Report where he talks about some of his influences as "indie Hip Hop stuff that started coming out in the mid-'90s: [Company Flow], Fondle 'Em, Stones Throw, Quannum, early Rawkus stuff...The do it yourself spirit of those records were in stark contrast to the huge over-sized hyped up corporate mega-stars of today. You can make art without money behind it - and it can be even better than the big-budget bullshit." Iller Than Theirs is really a throw-back to the raw, honest DIY rap that came out of NYC in the 80's and early-90's.

On this disc, Tone and Kray tell it like it is - no hype and no phony bravado. This disc is essential listening...I know rap isn't in vogue in the mainstream but Iller Than Theirs has the both talent and the heart to break out of the underground.

Check 'em out at the Mercury - It should be a great show.