I came across the music of Illy by coincidence, when I heard it piped through speakers into the ladies room in a pub in Richmond, Victoria. “What IS this song?” I later Googled, finding that it was Illy and his “Swear Jar” song, which was amusingly and refreshingly colourful and honest in language. [Listen here]
From that one song I got curious about this guy and learned that he was a musician that goes by the name of Illy, born as Alasdair Murray, hailing from Frankston (also in Victoria). Illy is considered a rapper and a hip hop artist, but given I had zero interest in those genres at all, there seemed to be something else going here, aside from the elements of those classifications. There was something else about Illy. It was a little bit pop, a little bit dance, but those things didn’t fit either, because a genuineness and realness was strongly present, and the language used was so not ‘pop’.
At that time, Illy had released “Papercuts”, a duet with Vera Blue. When I suggested friends listen to it, I called it “A bit like “Closer”, but actually good.” It was this same cross-genre vibe, this realness and honesty, fluid lyricism, and with pop catchiness. [Listen here]
After thrashing “Papercuts” for months, Illy’s fifth album Two Degrees was released. My attempt to absorb the album had me spend weeks on the first track, before even attempting to listen to any other track. I was mesmerised, fascinated, wowed. This was fire. This was “Forget It”.
“Forget It” gives you a chance to take a breath at the beginning, but beyond that, it’s this sense of needing to hold on. This track just flows from end to end. Illy is telling his story, of where he’s been, what he’s done, the work he put in, the things he’s overcome. He comments on the industry, the artists that are all talk, and his head-down-and-getting-it-done approach.
“I don’t rock the boat, I capsize the bitch and if this the wave, they all getting swept
I’m the architect of my success, hand made this house of cards, went upper deck
Since Cinematic came and went, I reload, 5 deep this round, no time for breath goddamn”
Illy is celebrating his approach and how he has deliberately opted to take a stance of originality and authenticity, instead of taking a lazy or predictable approach to his music and focusing purely on the lifestyle or fame elements.
There’s something addictive about this track, being inspiring as well as realistic in describing the unglamourousness of the hard work involved. The track has Illy acknowledging that it may look easy for him to be where he is now (ARIA award and nominations, radio play, industry recognition, his own label ONETWO under UNFD), but deliberate and definite effort and determination has got him here.
See what you think about “Forget It”, and we highly highly recommend checking out many more of Illy’s tunes if you value honesty in music.