Illtalian is an award-winning rapper from Hawaii of Italian and Filipino descent. His music has been featured on some of the biggest music sites in the world, including Rapzilla, z180 Radio, and New H20, and has been played on radio stations ranging from Hawaii to the United Kingdom. IHH got with him to talk about his recent album release, Makana, dedicated to his friend who was killed in a car crash in 2016.
IHH: So how did you get started as a rapper and what artists inspired you?
Illtalian: Well, I was a relatively late comer into the world of Hip Hop, believe it or not. It wasn’t until middle school that I even began to listen semi-regularly to rap. My dad bought me a compilation CD of all sorts of different Christian rappers one day, and I discovered KJ52, who was the first rapper I ever connected to. He was young and Italian (like me) and a Christian and funny and I actually felt like he and I might have something in common, and that made his music more appealing to me. From there it was Eminem and Tupac and Black Star and Lecrae and by 15, I was already rapping along to most of their songs. So when my friend, another rapper, asked me to enter the school talent show and rap with him, there was no hesitation. And even though we lost (we came in dead last, ha!) the adrenaline was addicting. I couldn’t go back, and I didn’t want to, so I became a rapper. The rest, as they say, is history.
IHH: What’s the hip hop scene like in Hawaii and is there strong support for the culture there?
Illtalian: Well, yes and no. There is a small but vibrant Hip Hop community in Hawaii, and that subculture is …read more