Friday, December 23, 2011

Mic Check With A-Drego : I-EL's (Ilyas of Tanya Morgan) WAKE UP Call!

Preface:  WAKE UP! and write from the heart. That’s all I can tell myself to get words down right now.
              When I have an interview that is as funny as it is awakening there isn’t much else I feel that I can
              add unless I write from the heart.You’ll see what I'm sayin. If you want to do the mic check
              properly, all I ask is that you read the entire thing and really listen to everything, let it sink in and
              then continue reading. If you enjoy it please share it with someone that you think will draw from it
              as well.

Now approaching 2012 the planet is in a turbulent cycle. The NDAA bill that recently passed is threating our liberties as citizens of the US. The SOPA bill that is close to passing is threatening sites like youtube Facebook, blogs across the web and any other site that streams or offers copy-written material.  Not to mention North Korean dictator Kim Jongs Il's recent passing has now lifted the laws postponing the enrichment uranium in North Korea, this poses a nuclear threat. Then there is the weather, there have been more record-breaking storms, twisters, hurricanes and vicious tsunami’s in the past 10 years then in recorded history,  Scary right? For most of us this is all too overwhelming.

It doesn't have to be though. The thing is that I embrace the change because I like to think of it as the storm before the calm.  This world in calamity will be the catylist to global change. An AWAKENING, a revolution of thought is waiting on the other side of this year. Those that are blessing the world with these progressive  message of change are many, but my most preferred messengers are musicians, more specifically, Hip Hop emcee's . For the rest of the mic check and  interview shoot the J.

One big billboard size sign of change in our beloved genre of Hip Hop music is the prevalent presence of the word Illuminati. 5 years ago most cats would be like “Illumi what?” It was a term well known only in conspiracy theorist circles, it was a shrouded from the bright spotlight of mainstream television and radio. Nowadays if you haven’t heard about the Illuminati, or of a 33 degree Mason, cats are like “You ever hear of Jay-Z? he's illuminati as fuck!” The Illuminati theory is all over mainstream media from Hip Hop to politics to Gaga. The almighty reach of the secret society is undeniable, many fear mongers claim that the Masons (or Illuminati) run the planet and have the all-seeing eye. Here is the thing : The helicopters the satellites the news all that shit is just them wishing they where god, they really aren’t god… “Fear no man because man must die.”  Mighty Mos Def taught me that when I was still just a shorty.  Luckily I listened to the rap attack and held the radio close.

Mos has me feeling a little bit better now. With the absence of fear, courage can take the foreground, it allows you to move in the direction of your dreams much more easily. With a clear head and a fearless heart it’s now the time to push all distractions aside, look inward for a moment and ask yourself: "How am I doing?" and "Where am I going?"  I’ll ask myself the same… Well the first thought that arises when I ask myself how I’m doing.  Is who am I? The answer is obvious but not so simple; I’m an individual, I’m a singular consciousness I’m Alex, In other words, I exist. The fact that I simply "am" is enough to proceed to the next question, but let’s dig a bit deeper.

When I was a little kid I remember staring into the mirror for hours and laughing at my reflected image. I distinctly remember having an understanding that I had existed before, somewhere else. I knew that I wasn’t brand new to the world.  My mom must have thought she gave birth to such a weirdo. My Mom has told me several times that I used to stare and point at the mirror and say look! Look that’s who I am now! and then I'd crack up. I’m no spring chicken anymore and I don’t crack up every single time I look up in the mirr-o (at least not for the same reasons I used too). And it's hard to say with any certainty what happens after our earthly life is over, but one thing I did take from my childhood mirror antics is that I’m not only a singular consciousness looking out from Drego’s perspective, I’m also an infinite expansive consciousness looking back in from a Universal perspective.  DOPE.
" [The] Ilyas people have come to know through Tanya Morgan isn't who I am at heart." ~ I-EL

This self awareness isn’t anything new within the circle of emcee's in Hip Hop, as a matter of fact it’s been written and told for decades. Tyler the creator is a weirdo but he is also a goblin, Lil Wayne was born in N.O. but he’s also a Martian, Illyas is a rapper in Tanya Morgan but he is also I-EL. Its the duality that exists in almost every MC / poet whether they recognize why they have it or not, it’s something of a natural phenomenon among artists.  The best example I can think of to express this truth through music is Nasir Jones with the track “Nas Is Like."

Now that we know that all of us are half man (or woman) and half amazing let's move on to the next question; Where am I going? The answer is beautiful and elegant; You can go anywhere you want. I’m not telling you this like your 3rd grade teacher did, looking down on you over her cheap wire frames while you sit uninterested at your desk: “If you study hard and work hard at your social studies and you do what your mommy says you can do anything you want .” NO, That’s not what I mean.  In the words of the Pharaoh Nas “Life is what you make it nigga, I’ma make it / no matter what it takes my nigga, we gonna take it.”

Yeah man, you can be, accomplish or do anything you want regardless of conditions or education. What the mind can perceive can be physically achieved. Your options are limitless. Once you have a desire or a want you then expand into something new. The trick is in order to manifest that expansion you have to expect that it’s gonna happen. Once a desire is imagined and then is expected that desire will manifest, it’s law.

The evidence of this law in the world of Hip Hop is surmounting. It seems that whatever you rap about is what you get. Starting with the cryptic cases with the of deaths Tupac and Biggie, they both constantly spoke of their impending deaths and claimed to be prepared for the next life. Rest in harmony. Around the same time Snoop and Dre had money on their mind and money is what they have gotten by the pound. Even when Death Row Records flopped and  Aftermath was going through  hard times neither man quit. Snoop joined No Limit and Dre kept pushing forward with Aftermath. They both ended up on top because they spoke on what they wanted and believed in themselves enough to expect it. We are vibratory, magnetic beings. We attract that which is likened to our self's.

 "I plan on spending the rest of my days as a musician and filmmaker trying to express that truth to you in as many ways as i can muster." - I-EL

Now a new generation of MC has sprung up with what seems to be an inherent knowledge of the power of expectations. In the N.O. I.D. produced joint “So Much More” Big Sean says: “Feelin like I got the cheat code to life… Without any preparation I see these expectations.”  In the track "Like its my Last" Big Sean boasts; “ I just ended up on everybody’s guest list / I’m doing better than what everyone projected/ I knew that I’d be here so if you ask me how I feel I’m gonna just tell you it’s everything that I expected ”

These new MC’s seem to speak of the law of attraction a little bit more blatantly. Perhaps it's because we are more open now to receiving this truth then audiences where say 15 years ago. For Asher Roth the law is “Common Knowledge.” Kendrick Lamar is even more blatant in the track “Cut You Off” He expresses:

“I’m trying to learn something new / I’m trying to find myself, searching deep for Kendrick Lamar / I read about *Napleon Hill and try to know God / They say HE is the key to my blessing  / and if I speak the good into existence that instant my dreams will unlock / Money flow like water I’ll just wait at the dock.”

So next time someone asks you how hip hop is doin tell them; “ It’s doin whatever we want it to do." You read this for a reason. THE WORLD IS YOURS!

I leave you with one of the dopest interviews that I’ve ever been blessed with the opportunity to conduct….I-EL a true messenger:


D&M : For those that don’t know you are Ilyas from the group Tanya Morgan.
Please elaborate on what lead you to change your name from Ilyas to

I-EL:  I changed my name to i-EL because I went through a big change and
realized "ilyas" was just a mental hologram of sorts.  Like this fake
version of myself I used to function in the world but soon forgot and
became convinced I was.  This is what everybody goes through or will
go through.  This is a time of great disillusionment.  And sure I
could've used the name "ilyas" as an artist but the "ilyas" people
have come to know through Tanya Morgan isn't who I am at heart.  That
guy is really skilled at what he does, he can spit, and murders verses
from time to time but is he honest?  Is he telling people what's
really on his mind?  Is he giving them something they can really take
to heart and help them grow? No.  So I chose to start over.  It wasn't
 that I didnt want to open up but I didnt really know how to and wasnt
in the right situation to be able to.  So dont take this wrong and
think I've lost my mind or something *laughs But this is the best way
symbolically for me to help you understand what I'm trying to
communicate.  Think of ilyas as the superhero that doesnt know he's
one yet, and think of i-EL as the superhero when he figures it out and
embraces it.

D&M: EL as in spanish for HIM?

I-EL: Haha not really.

 The “i” represents the ego self.  My worldly perception of myself as
an individual with a finite existence.  EL means God in many ancient
cultures and used to be the primary name for God.  So “EL” represents
the greater part of myself that I am connected to and a part of.  My
higher self. My God self.  So essentially the name is more of a symbol
for who and what we all are than just a "rap name"

D&M: Kinda like Snoop Dog’s  “He is I and I am him?” line? *jokes

I-EL: Haha Yeah kind of.  What’s funny is many entertainers at some point in
their career make that statement.  Most for different reasons than
others but a few I feel “woke up” in many respects and its the most
suttle way to put it out there for others that are “initiated” or “in
the know”.

D&M: It seems your creative path has branched off from your former group
Tanya Morgan.  How have your former members reacted to your decision
to go in another direction?

I-EL: Well to clear that up a bit.  It wasn’t like I woke up one day and
wanted to do my own thing.  This transition was the result of several
factors.  The foremost being financial.  I’m a father and I couldn’t
meet all my financial responsibilities with the income I made through
music.  The State of Ohio doesn’t play when it comes to child support.
 They will strip your license and put you in jail for falling behind.
The system is ugly right?  How does that help you get caught up?  I
hoped I could get my video production company in a good enough
position where I could tour and be secure financially...but it didn’t
happen fast enough.  Which lead to me not being able to tour at times
because I had to work and couldn’t lose my job.    Which in turn would
hurt the group because promoters would be upset I wasn’t there.  Which
in turn lead to the guys and our manager saying they couldn’t keep
branding us as a 3 man group when I can’t do tours consistently.
Sure, I was a little upset at the time...correction..alot upset...a
year of writer’s block until recently.  It was a rough trickle down
effect to be honest. First I was told I wouldn’t be on the single for
the next album, then being told I wouldn’t be on some of the songs,
then being told I wouldn’t be on any of them.  I can’t say this
predicament is something I had much control over but I do understand.
I live in Ohio.  They live in BK.  I couldn’t hit the road
consistently due to my personal responsibilities and it hurt them with
booking. And don’t take what I’m saying the wrong way.  Tanya even
ending up in a predicament where I didn’t make enough, and Don and Von
feeling like this had to happen falls more squarely on the label we
were dealing with.  But if I go into that right now...I will honestly
go the fuck off. *laughs  Real Talk.  I sound like such a rap cliche’
right now I know.  *laughs So to answer the question, my going in my
own direction isn’t why I’m not in the group.  My not being in the
group is why I’m taking this opportunity to go in my own direction.
Don and Von know this and encourage it.  I was censored at times
because my approach to certain things musically was out of sync with
how the group wanted to be perceived. People often said I didn’t dress
like the music sounded with the spikes and all.  That’s about to
change.  This mixtape “The Book Of Elijah” is kind of a goodbye to
Tanya fans and a step towards where I’m going.  I just wanted to give
people a context outside of the Tanya Morgan context to use to
understand my future work. Plus, nobody wants to hear me solo with the
Tanya Morgan sound, especially when naturally I’m a completely
different artist.  I love Don and Von. They will always be my
brothers, but sometimes in life circumstance trumps everything.

D&M: What is your greatest accomplishment as an emcee?

I-EL: I honestly feel I have yet to do anything “great” to be able to
classify one as the “most great.”  I feel like my greatness is around
the corner though because I’ve been backed into a corner.  As a member
of a group you all pick up each other’s slack in everything.  As a
soloist its all on you and it forces you to rethink how you do
everything and become a better “you” than you thought you ever could

Who do you look to as an influential messenger? (Hip Hop or not).

Carl Jung.  Malachi York. Aleister Crowley. Marilyn Manson  Andre
3000.  Lady Gaga. Manly P. Hall. I may or may not agree with some of
their beliefs but that doesn’t matter.  What matters is the tenacity
with which they followed through to express those beliefs and inspire,
awaken, and shape willing minds.  There’s one common theme between all
the names I mentioned. All they ask is that you discover yourself, not
be ashamed of yourself , and express yourself.  And if you haven’t
,unlike Snoop, "He is you but you definitely ain’t him."  That’s a
really inside joke right there. For the awakened only *laughs

D&M: There have been some amazing acts out of Ohio throughout the years.
Have you ever gotten a chance to build with any Cincinnati acts? How
did you end up in a group out of New York?

I-EL: I’ve been able to build with a few acts out of here like Piakhan, Ill
Poetic, Mood, and Watusi Tribe.  I may be linking with Hi-Tek soon but
we’ll see what happens.  I’m working with four amazing producers here
named Mysterious ,Sal Dali, and a duo named Camel.  Keep an eye out
for those guys.  They’re incredible.  And I ended up in Tanya Morgan
due to Don and Von's relationship via Okayplayer. I was in a group
ILWIL with Don.  We linked with Von to do a side project.  That's why
it was called Moonlighting because we were moonlighting on our jobs as
these other acts.  It was a big inside joke really.  That's why we
named the group Tanya.  But it caught on and that was all she wrote.

D&M: Now that we are approaching the end of the Mayan calendar prophecies
are being thrown around like napkins at a barbeque.  How do you react
when you hear that Dec 21st 2012 is the end of an era?

I-EL: I agree that it marks the end of an era but it definitely isn’t the
end of the world.  My only concern is that people are so caught up in
linear time with calendars and clocks.  Dec 21st 2012 has already
started for many of us.  Its moreso about a time that we collectively
will all go through a huge change within ourselves.  Hell. The past
decade for me was a 2012 event, especially with what happened with my
group.  Not that it was a disaster or anything, but I’m being forced
to let go of all these things in my life that made it easier for me to
hide myself.  I hid behind Tanya's success the same way a girl with
issues may hide behind her beauty...or an insecure man may hide behind
his money and cars.  Now, that mask and many others have been stripped
away, and all that’s left is my truth.  And I plan on spending the
rest of my days as a musician and filmmaker trying to express that
truth to you in as many ways as i can muster.   My beliefs may not be
your beliefs but we all share one truth.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

Turn on the daily show on Hulu, check out pirate sites for the latest
hacked software, feed my pets, stop by my favorite adult site to see
the latest posts, look at my to-do-list then get overwhelmed and fall
back asleep.  Wake up an hour later look at the adult site again then
actually get up, shower, and start my day.

What or who gives you the greatest joy?

I-EL: My son and being around him...period.

Read any good books lately?

I-EL: I haven’t read a book in about a year to be honest.  I’ve been
cheating and listening to audio books.  I’ve listened to some amazing
books by Manly P. Hall.  For those that don’t know, he was a high
level mason that studied the religions of the world and became a great

D&M: Okay quick word game. I’m going to write a number. You write the first
word that comes to mind.

I-EL: (33): Christ     (95): Oversexed   (21): My birthday  (45): Gun
(1111): Synchronicity (513): Home

D&M: You directed the videos  for The Book of Elijah. Do you have any other
videos on your resume?

I have a ton.  You can check them out at LFOPRODUCTIONS.COM You need a
video hit me up *laughs

What are some of your other passions outside of Hip Hop?

I-EL: Film and visual arts.  It started as me learning how to do videos
because I was angry at how much of our budget our label spent on our
first vid.  But that anger soon opened the door to alot of joy.  I
love doing this.  I am figuring out a way to merge my musical talents
with my talent with film.  My album “Transformation”(coming in the
Spring) will be my first attempt to fuse the two.   I’m nervous but
really excited at the same time.

Do you think we built the pyramids alone? 

I-EL: Depends on what you mean by alone.  If you mean without help, I’d say
no.  We either connected with extraterrestrials or inter-dimensional
beings through telepathy or other means.  Its obvious.  It may sound
crazy to most, but I’ve seen other realities right here on Earth
during meditation.  There are other “versions” of Earth at different
“frequencies”.  The same way its a bunch of different radio stations,
cell phone signals, and tv stations at different frequencies.  After
stumbling into those experiences, it changed my perception of time.
Its like time is in layers or folds, because one reality I saw had to
be the distant future.  It wasn’t all high tech.  People had just
enough technology to get by.  Cities were crowded with plantlife.
There were no cars or roads because people would just go outside and
fly.  Ever since seeing that, I’m like “How can I get into that
reality permanently?  Now!”

D&M: What does real freedom mean to you?

I-EL: Freedom to express and create without worrying about the demands of
society which in a nutshell guessed

D&M: Why did you choose Chicago to film the video for Freedom?
Sidenote: I noticed the Hacky sack dude was in this video. I see him
everywhere and he always makes me smile. He is truly free.

Hahahaha He is truly free.  It wasn’t really that premeditated.  I
told myself for that video I was going to be creatively “Free” and
just let it shoot itself.  I went to Chicago right before I closed out
the video and figured I might as well get some more shots while there.
 And I ended up actually using those shots because while I was there I
felt free.  That’s when I started working on getting over my departure
from the group.  FYI That felt like the worst breakup I’ve been
through ...EVER lol One shot you can see this little girl just run up
in the shot.  Her father was worried.  Random black guy rapping for a
video and his daughter jumped in the shot.  It was cool.  I thought
that was the best part next to catching the hacky sack guy.  While
editing that video I was seeing the world is so much bigger than
myself.  There’s so much more than me.  I’m just one aspect of this
beautiful work of art we call Life.

D&M: What is your definition for the term Illuminati?

I-EL: The Illuminated Ones.  I’m soooo tired of people talking about all
this Illuminati hype.  Brace yourself.  I’m about go on a rant.
*laughs How are you going to let a group of wicked men steal your
culture’s symbols and convince you that its wicked?  I’ve seen brothas
fight harder to protect their gang sign. Sad.  We were part of the
original Illuminati and are destined to return.  Christ was an
Illuminatus, so was Buddha, so was Krishna.  All 3 are Archetypes.
They’re demonizing the symbology because they want to mislead you
before people start waking up.  The same way Christianity demonized
the same religions it borrowed from. Basically, its a group of wicked
men here that know the “truth” but keep it from you so they can keep
power over you.  They know what’s coming.  They’re best defense is to
demonize certain things before they’re even out in the open.  For
example, if I’m a hater and I know a girl I’m seeing is destined to
meet her soulmate tonight, I can strike preemptively.  If I shut him
down before he even makes contact with her, I don’t look like a hater.
 Like if I nonchalantly say to her, “that’s the dude that gave my
homegirl herpes.”  If I said that after she meets him, I may be
suspected of hating...but in advance...I’m golden.  The men in power
are just haters...with really small penises. *laughs  The all seeing
eye represents true sight.  All is one.  Duality is an illusion.
Don’t give these wicked fucks credit for that symbol.  For them it
means one sided sight.  They’re focused on the material and will use
wicked spiritual means to attain and keep it.  Fuck them.  They aren’t
illuminated at all.  They fake it through ritual but will never
achieve true enlightenment.

Other than USA what is one of the most memorable places you’ve got the
opportunity to rock the stage at?

I-EL: Awww man.  Canada.  I love Toronto and Montreal but it was some little
town on the West Coast of Canada that I had a ball in.  All I know is
the crowd was amped to see us.  So much so, when I went to dance in
the crowd after our performance, someone stole one of spiked bracelets
right off my arm while I was being swarmed.  Great night nonetheless.
I think it was Halifax.

What is another country you’d like to bless that you haven’t had a
chance to and why?

I-EL: The UK.  The producer that’s doing my first solo LP, Transformation,
lives there. His name is Zee Imports.  Incredible talent too.  This
out of my all my releases is the closest to the Tanya Morgan sound but
still a step in my new direction.  I’d love to be over there with Zee
in the midst of people starting to hear it and see the visuals that
will accompany it.  That would make me really happy.
When can we expect the Transformation project  to come to fruition?
I'm planning to release it by the end of Spring.  Hopefully I can have all
the visuals done by then also.

D&M: Thanks for taking the time to build! Any parting words for our readers?

I-EL: Go and like my facebook page that I just started.  I'll be leaking
unreleased songs every week through it. After that check out my new site.

Also, fans out there don't think this is the definite end of TM.  We
will link back up, and when we do, we will be stronger than ever.
This was just a necessary transition for us to grow as men.  If you
want to hear us together in the near future, check for the Lessondary
project we are working on right now.  Its the crew project and we are
all in rare form on it.  I feel like I'm on the verge of something big
as an individual and I feel like we all are collectively.  Its time to
wake up people.  Its time for Transformation.

*Napoleon Hill is the author of the book "Think and Grow Rich" I recommend this to anyone and everyone.