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Illa J and DJ Aaron LaCrate Mix It Up in Our Studio

In an attempt to keep the legacy of late producer J Dilla alive, Dilla’s younger brother Illa J stepped up to the plate to deliver 16 bars over a soulful, smooth Dilla beat in an exclusive freestyle segment. Accompanied by his friend Baltimore gutter music DJ Aaron LaCrate, Illa J talks about the future of the Yancey boys. “I’m extending the Dilla legacy, and taking it from where he stopped and I gotta take it to the next level,” Illa tells the BoomBox. “My brother was a huge inspiration to my music and how I come about making my music as far as like his style, and the funk, and the soul, the Detroit native explains. “It all comes from Motown and also from James Brown back in the day.”

Known for spinning tunes with partner Mark Ronson, LaCrate has teamed up with an assortment of artists from Rakim to Jim Jones to Swizz Beatz, but unlike Illa, hip-hop didn’t come naturally. “When we were in clubs as kids they didn’t play hip hop,” LaCrate explains when discussing his influences. “They played this club music and they sort of played dance music, and we were lucky to hear a few hip hop tracks. We loved both, but you know it was so outweighed by the club that you end up missing the hip hop … growing up around that constantly is sort of this up-tempo, crazy, chopped up, underground, sort of bootlegged, made out of the basement music, you know, that effects everything about what, you know, how you produce music and how you even think about it.”

Both LaCrate and Illa are gearing up for solo projects. Illa is currently working with Mike Ross on his debut album on Delicious Vinyl Records.Check out Illa J’s performance and interview after the jump.

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