Minneapolis-based hip hop duo iLLism has always had an artistic way of cutting straight in to the core of their listeners’ emotions and energy. Both Fancy and Envy from an early age have had a deep connection to music and art. Anyone who listens to the married couple of ten years, can easily connect with their relatable lyrics and captivating melodies that help uncover two truly profound artists, which otherwise are more comparably introverted than most in their genre.
iLLism is most Influenced by hip hop and R&B from the mid to late 90’s through the new millennium. Fancy gives credit to the women of these decades, "Janet, Mya, TLC, Destiny's Child Mariah and Brandy were all inspiring forces in my adolescents and still remain as constant reminders of who I want to be as an artist. As a lyricist Envy credits much of his influence to Tupac in addition to the likes of Nas and Jay Z.
Before iLLism, both artists had respected solo careers. In 2008 Envy released his first single, “Ringtone” which charted on billboard at number 1 for eight weeks. Both, since early 2010, have gained much success in the music licensing world. To date, the pair have a combined 125+ song placements on shows including “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” and “Jersey Shore.” As well as movies including Kevin Hart’s “Ride Along” and commercials for Sprint, Forever 21 and Budweiser.
In late 2015 Envy and Fancy decided to come together as a duo, naming themselves, iLLism. “iLL” meaning dope and “ism” meaning movement. When put together, iLLism by definition means “a dope musical movement.” Their first release came in the form of their double EP, “Definition of iLL.” A side was released in late 2016 and was followed by B side in early 2017. With two EPs already under their belts, the pair along with their live band was chosen to perform at Prince’s Paisley Park for the first ever Musicology Battle of Bands. They released their debut album, “Love and Loyalty” on August 24, 2017, a week shy of their Paisley Park performances.
2018 rolled in big for the pair. Minnesota became the hosting state for the 52nd Super Bowl. Minneapolis natives, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis who are best known for their work with The Time, Prince and Janet Jackson to name a few, hosted Super Bowl Live, a music festival which took place outdoors on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis the week leading up to the big game. iLLism was Included in their stellar line up along with Rhymesayer’s Brother Ali as well as Prof, The Time, Sheila E, Rae Sremmurd, Mint Condition, The Jets and more. iLLism also performed at SXSW, Red Gorilla Festival, Ted X Talk at the University of MN and became an opening act for the NPR Tiny Desk tour that same year.
On January 31, 2019 iLLism released their sophomore album, iLLuminate. The album received many rave reviews. “It is hot. It is smooth funk with rap intertwined. Envy has a solid cool rap and Fancy has a sweetness in her voice that broadens the appeal,” quotes Ann Treacy from Mostly Minnesota regarding iLLuminate. iLLism began charting on radio charts more than a week before it’s national release. Overall iLLuminate charted for 22 weeks. Six of those weeks at number 1 on the NACC top 30 Hip hop chart. It was also on the NACC Top 200 from January 29 - February 26 for a continuous run of 5 weeks.
iLLism continues to make huge strides as they enter in to 2020. Most recently a two day residency at the Minnesota State Fair which welcomes more than 100,000 people per day. As iLLism grows fans can expect more music, event appearances, touring and for the pair to spread a hell of a lot of love in the process. Community and family are their grounding tools for success, and with that type of support behind them, it would be foolish to assume that these two are going anywhere other than up.