By Cassie Capewell for Boston Compass (#129)
November 15, 2020
I’m an Ill Addicts superfan, and you should be too.
“I don’t think we even thought about goals,” says Juelz, a member of local hip hop collective Ill Addicts (pronounced: ill addicts), along with Pro Swervez, Dochee, Zay, and Dalvin.
And I don’t know how, but it makes sense. Of course they started with no plans, no goals. It was all just for fun, and that’s exactly what their music conveys.
If you play any of their projects start to finish, you’ll hear a cacophony of funky beats, straight bars, bouncy pop, multiple ad-libs, ridiculous lyrics, sparkly notes over heavy bass, and sometimes straight up yelling.
And if you think that sounds chaotic, you’re exactly right. Somehow that’s their charm. The frenzy works.
Their chemistry is automatic and unsurprising. They’re a group of friends that formed the Ill Addicts collective while attending English High School. Some make beats, some rap, some sing, some do a little of everything, and they all have their own distinct taste, which, true to form, only makes their music stronger.
In 2020 alone they’ve released three projects. Malfunction dropped in January, which already feels like a lifetime ago. They knew they wanted to release another album, but had the lovely problem of too many tracks to choose from. So they decided to drop two albums, Beautiful, in July, and Foundation, in September.
“Beautiful, was a challenge,” says Juelz. This album marked a creative departure from the sound they debuted with, each track a completely distinct piece of experimental art.
“In a way it made us all dig deeper,” Dalvin adds. “In terms of everything… how we wanted to roll out the album, the album cover, the verses… I’m proud of that.”
Then Foundation, goes back to their familiar sound, with epic collaborations featuring local artists Michael Christmas, Saint Lyor, Connis, and Sança. Together, Beautiful Foundation, is Ill Addicts 2.0, boasting a progressive sound rooted in the OG music that put them on the map.
In addition to serious music drops, 2020 is a big year for the group, as they were finally able to travel to California, a trip they had been dreaming of since their inception. While there, they filmed a few music videos, “Queso” being the first to drop. Check it out for some Harriet Tubman bills, a $4,000,000 ring, and a variety of patterned button down shirts.
Turns out the Ill Addicts secret sauce is quite simple. “We really love this,” says Dalvin, “and the core of what we do is just have fun, honestly.”
Photo Credit: Dalvin Lopes