Gods’Illa worked their self-titled debut album for a little over a year. They pushed their product to the blogosphere and launched the UAU Open Mic in 2010 -- their own open mic showcase in Washington, DC -- all while working their debut record. They hit the festival circuit, rocking CMJ, A3C, SXSW, The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival and others off Gods’Illa’s growing impact. They networked, dropped a couple of videos, honed their rhyme skills and began piecing together their next project on the side while Gods’Illa spread like Nutella. And in 2011, with high-profile co-signs in tow; with Gods’Illa worked down to the tendon, brothers Ace, Truth and Powerful released their anticipated follow up, The CPR Blendtape with Ms. Fat Belly Bella herself, Erykah Badu hosting their way into that next career phase. “[Their] skills are impeccable,” Badu says near the end of CPR. “You know I know a good Emcee.”
DXNext spoke to Gods’Illa about how Erykah Badu became the host of The CPR Blendtape, the importance of working an album, DC’s musical influence on their sound and Washington’s political landscape.
On Being Brothers Raised In Different States: Powerful says, “It gives us that universal appeal; that universal sound coming from two different angles. We are brothers and we’re from the same family, but being in two different states gives you a different experiences and a different point of view.” Ace adds, “Even though we were born in two different states, we were basically raised together. Like Powerful said, it definitely gives us a broader advantage because P got [Brooklyn] held down and we definitely got DMV held down so it makes for a more universal appeal.”
Washington DC’s Musical Influence: Truth explains, “You won’t hear a whole lot of Go-Go in our sound because we keep it real Hip Hop, but just growing up in [Washington] DC automatically gives you an ear for music because there’s so much live instrumentation. You meet so many artists and you hear the sound of Go-Go and it drives you. Live music automatically makes you want to write a rhyme. Growing up in DC and hearing live music seven, eight nights a week -- and I know there’s only seven nights a week, but that’s how much Go-Go we have hear -- it’s sort of like a baby New Orleans. It’s a huge influence on our style and on our energy on the microphone and what we bring to the table.”
The Importance Of Working An Album: Ace begins, “In our area there are a lot of up and coming artists. One of the big things for us is to try to distinguish ourselves by, not only the music, but by the way we operate; by the way we work records. Where we go with the record. Who we appeal to. That was a big thing for us. We felt that since [Gods’Illa] was a real big album and a real solid project, so what else should we do but to work it. Our main goal was to make sure we could get on these stages outside of the DC area and be received well. So with the A3Cs, the CMJs, the [Brooklyn Bodega] Show & Prove -- that was the start of us getting out to other areas to build our brand; to go out and let them know who Gods’Illa is. Also, we were making a buzz with our [UAU Open Mic] in DC. While we’re making our name on the home front, it was also important to build our brand outside of home. Everything we were doing was part of the grind to get where we are today.”
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