Big IL is a Chicago rapper-actor with much to give to entertainment. After starring in “Empire,” his continuous rise toward the top hasn’t slowed down in the two years since his first feature with rolling out. He’s preparing for new acting roles in 2018 and set to release his EP Fearless. Check out some of his recent work in the conversation below.
It’s been two years since we’ve caught up with all things Big IL related. How have things been going for you?
Things are on the rise and going great! I haven’t slowed down since “Empire.” I’m still dedicated to my career. I’ve taken on a host of other opportunities, including a few new acting roles. I’m trying to keep my entertainment portfolio as diverse as possible. I’m also reading a few movies, set to release in 2018, and 2019. I would say that life is great for me right now.
Being on “Empire” is a feat in itself, but talk about the experience of being surrounded by so many musically inclined individuals. Timbaland had an integral part of the music direction on the first two seasons and Rodney Jerkins in the later seasons.
“Empire” was a phenomenal experience for me. It was a very comfortable role. There were so many musically inclined people cast and I really connected with them. We all shared that common love for the art of sound. Just being around that energy and aura from great personalities like Timbaland gave me, even more, confidence to act the part and go even harder.
You’ve worked with seasoned vets in acting such as Terrence Howard and Ed O’Neill. Did you study their process?
Working alongside seasoned vets like Chris Rock, Ed O’Neill, and Terrence Howard was acting 101. I got a “pass go” in a sense. After witnessing the poise, professionalism and dedication these guys possessed, I felt compelled to be great on my own terms. I had no choice but to learn in those moments. I felt inspired and ready for the big screen. I realized how much focus and passion it took to embody their character and be consistent when doing so. I learned to research, be natural and become the character I was hired to portray. In short, the lessons I learned were invaluable. I can’t thank them enough. I’m still waiting on Lucious to get me out of jail, though. The sky is the limit, honestly.
What was your approach with your new EP in terms of the name, sound and direction?
My EP Fearless is about being yourself. I approached this project with that in mind. I wanted to make a project where I felt free to create with no boundaries. My state of mind the entire time while recording was to not kiss a– and be [me]. As far as the sound, I tried to ride that wave that I’m on. It’s feel-good music, that hard-core trap sound and club bangers rolled into one. I’ve grown in so many ways musically, and I’m loving who I am as an artist, and ready to take it to the next level. I’m fearless.
Premium clothing company Golden Aesthetics utilized your music for their commercials. How did that come about?
Honestly, it was an organic connection from the love of the music. My business partner, Ace Wallace, presented the opportunity after working with the director, Mike Dolgin, on another project. The director fell in love with the music and asked if we could work together. The rest is history. All I can say is that I’m grateful. We plan on doing much more soon. Be on the lookout for that.
What can fans expect from Big IL in 2018?
2017 was a defining year for me but I really found my stride and remained hungry. 2018 will be all about growth and development and every project will have an epic appeal. I want to transcend the barriers of race and culture with my music. I want to motivate the masses. Motivation is the key to why I’m here. I always felt I was put on this Earth for just that. Expect everything from movies, commercials, stage plays, etc. 2018 will be an epic year for me.