Hailing from Long Island, New York, the birthplace of such hip-hop luminaries as Rakim, LL Cool J, EPMD, Public Enemy, Biz Markie, De La Soul and Busta Rhymes, comes yet another standout lyricist to follow in those same legendary footsteps as his massively influential predecessors, and he goes by the name of Typ iLL.
Let’s hop right into this brand-new EP, the appropriately titled Veterans Day. What does that title represent both to and for you?
I’m a veteran. I served in the U.S. Army and spent two tours overseas, so conceptually it makes sense. I do touch on various other things I’ve dealt and feel within my life before and after enlistment.
For it, of course, you teamed up with veteran producer Statik Selektah. What particular string of events actually led to this collaboration?
I met Statik a few times on a late night tip in the city of New York. I got to chop it up with him. I didn’t come at him on a music tip; just as a real dude. Eventually, he got word I rapped and invited me to his show. The rest is modern day history.
With that being said, how does Veterans Day either differ and/or compare to previous Typ iLL efforts?
Aside from Statik being a force behind this project, I put a lot of effort in this between travel and late nights. I also had words of encouragement from some of the rappers in the game during the process. I was in a good space.
Reflecting, when did you first become interested in music? And, how did it all begin for Typ iLL?
I was always interested in music for as long as I could remember. I was that kid who listened to music to fall asleep, pretending it was me who was singing or rapping.
Now you are a native of Strong Island, correct? So growing up on the “Island,” who did you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
I was Influenced by many artists of all different genres. I listened to Depeche Mode to (A) Tribe Called Quest. I was playing Duran Duran and then throw on 3rd Bass. As I got older, I became a big Nas fan. I also lived in Los Angeles for 4 years as a young teen, so that was a big part of my ear … Snoop [Dogg], [Dr.] Dre, Spice 1, Ice Cube.
How then would you describe and/or define the style of music that you create and perform?
I don’t think I can describe it. I do what I feel I need to do and perform how I’m feeling at that time, if that makes sense. My style is probably slightly harder than some, but I can smooth it out; no problem. I’m growing everyday, so who knows what my next style will sound like.
With that being said, where did the moniker Typ iLL originally derive from?
My friends from high school gave that to me. I free-styled in the cafeteria, and they was like, “you Type iLL!” I took off the “E” and there you go.
What do you feel you offer the music industry that we don’t already have in other performers?
That’s a good question. Aside from being a soldier, I would have to leave the rest to the fans and critics. I’m a real dude who loves music.
Have you encountered any problems in getting to this point in your career?
Life is a journey. Music is a part of that journey for me and it’s never a smooth ride. If I had no problems, then I would be suspicious of my path. Success does not come easy.
What do you want people to get from your music?
I want them to enjoy it. I want them to relate to things. Take a jewel or two.
If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
There are a lot of great artists I’d love to work with. Anything is possible. I couldn’t name one. I won’t name one.
If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?
I would love to perform at Madison Square Garden. There are many venues in Europe that I have always dreamed of, too. Let me get a few tours under my belt, and I’ll tell you which venues were the best. ha,ha! Lord willing.
One track of yours that you think defines you and why?
From a military point of view, “Support Your Troop.” That’s who I was for a long time. From a street point, it would have to be “Hennessy Lane” or “Arielle.” They touch on my delinquent days and my reflection of the things I have done in my life, good and bad. Present and past. If you dig deeper in my catalogs, you will find other songs that may have a similar feel.
What are your future plans and/or goals for sustaining longevity in music?
Keep moving forward. Be positive. Give back. Stay humble.
Do you have any other outside/additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
I am truly a fan of anyone who pursues their dreams, whether big or small, and consistently. I’m not talking a year or two. I have such a soft spot for sincere people who go hard for what they believe in, whether it be sports or art or whatever. Passion is passion.
To date, what has been your biggest career moment, at least thus far anyway?
My biggest career moment would have to be getting the DJ Premier cosign. He said he likes my stuff and that’s pretty much a dream come true. The Source magazine and bouncing around with Statik and Pro Era for a week would be tied for 2nd.
Looking ahead, say 10 years from now, where do you see yourself?
Excellent credit, healthy family and a stacked passport. Hit me in six years.
As for the immediate, what’s next for Typ iLL?
I’m going to grind out on this #VetzDay campaign for a little bit, but I do want to work with some features and heavy hitters in the game. There are already a few things lined up. Should be very dope.
Any parting message(s) for our readers?
All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart to all my supporters. All my new fans and day one fans. Y’all make my days better and that’s a fact. And anyone who wants to do something special in their life, do it. Don’t stop. #Salute