New York conscious hip hop/funk/r&b collective The Ill Funk Ensemble have been attracting a lot of attention with their energized live dates in support of their Summer 2012 release “The Duality”, and the group have now released a music video for the first single “Afraid of Heights”. The band has drawn comparisons to the Roots, A Tribe Called Quest and Run DMC with their positive take on the hip hop genre and old school influence. Socially and politically conscious, the song deals finds vocalist Jermaine Wells venting on the ills of society while also providing some inspiration. Check it out below.
Band: The Ill Funk Ensemble Location: Albany, NY Styles: Hip-hop/R&B/Soul Similar to: The Roots, Talib Kweli, Soulive, Common CD: The Duality Release date: August 24th, 2012 Accolades: Ill Funk has performed live with Grammy-winner Mr. Cheeks of the Lost Boyz, opened for Naughty by Nature, Shontelle and Young MC and placed forth in a national competition to perform at Royal Family Affair with Soulive in 2011. They have also had a placement on the show “Road Trip Nation” and honorable mention in the John Lennon song-writing competition.
This record is probably one of the best things I’ve listened to in a while. Seriously. The first time I listened, I was blown away. Ill Funk Ensemble is so incredibly eclectic. They cover a plethora of genres from song to song AND they cover a plethora of topics. Conscious hip hop in the modern age-turned funky, soulful rock at its finest. You definitely do not want to miss this.
Enjoy your hip hop positive with hefty doses of funk, soul and smooth r&b? Ill Funk Ensemble have been spreading the word on their brand new album “The Duality”, which can be streamed through the band’s Bandcamp page below. The release blends a variety of influences seamlessly, sounding at times like a cross between The Roots and Bobby Brown, and that’s not at all a bad thing. When was the last time you heard a hip hop group who could rap AND sing well? Ill Funk Ensembles is recommended listening for fans of: The Roots, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, OutKast, Bobby Brown, Run DMC.
Ill Funk has performed live with Grammy-winner Mr. Cheeks of the Lost Boyz, opened for Naughty by Nature, Shontelle and Young MC and placed forth in a national competition to perform at Royal Family Affair with Soulive in 2011. They have also had a placement on the show “Road Trip Nation” and honorable mention in the John Lennon song-writing competition.
For roughly five years now, the Ill Funk Ensemble has straddled the line between two worlds on the Capital Region’s music scene.
The Albany-based five piece band, fronted by singer and rapper Jermaine Wells, is a live hip-hop band in the vein of The Roots. As such, the group often finds itself playing shows with local MCs who are backed by prerecorded music or a DJ. But the band is just as comfortable on the rock club scene, and has the chops to keep up with the four-hour, three-set night that are the norm in many of the region’s bars and clubs.
Walking on sticky floors, stepping on to a stage that’s too small for their swagger, let alone their equipment, setting up under dim lights and dropping a sound check on an unsuspecting audience. Eyes look up, jaws drop and the phones come out, inevitably texting their friends to come check out this band, this Ill Funk Ensemble.
That scene has played out weekly for the Albany-based band, The Ill Funk Ensemble, since 2006 to great results. Described by reviewers as “a kind of 21st century mash-up of Kool & the Gang and the Isley Brothers” and “all hot sand and asphalt”, Ill Funk Ensemble takes hip-hop and R&B in a different, yet oddly familiar direction. Perhaps it’s the blend of old and new school vibes, the warm smile of Jermaine Wells, the lead singer, or the obvious fun the band has whether they’re recording or performing live; whatever it is, the band has made the most of its position by performing all over the Northeast, selling nearly 1,000 hard copies of their debut album, Catching Wreck, having more than 1,300 combined likes on their Facebook pages and over 15,000 views on their YouTube channel. They’ve even been blessed to perform live with Grammy-winner Mr. Cheeks of the Lost Boyz, Naughty by Nature and Young MC and placed forth in a national competition to perform at Royal Family Affair with Soulive in 2011. They have also had a placement on the show “Road Trip Nation” and honorable mention in the John Lennon song-writing competition.
So. Your heading out with some friends to check out a new band, maybe take in a beverage or two. It should be a good night. You meet up at a cool joint, grab a brew or your beverage of choice and notice the their is quite a buzz as the crowd starts to pour in.
The band is announced and takes the stage. It doesn’t take long before you realized that your night just went from a good night out with pals to stellar! You have just been smacked in the face with the incredible realization of “Oh my God this band doesn’t suck. In fact they are FRIGGIN amazing!” Continue reading →
The Ill FunkEnsemble is gearing up for the official release of their sophomore album, “The Duality.” The follow-up to their debut “Catching Wreck” is scheduled to drop on Friday (August 24), and the band will be celebrating with a CD release party at the Icehouse in Saratoga Springs at 9pm on Friday, which just happens to be Travers Eve.
But you don’t have to wait til Friday to soak up the sounds of “The Duality.” The album is currently available for pre-release streaming here. With versatile vocalist-freestyler Jermaine Wells leading the way, the new, 12-track album is a sizzling blend of old-school funk, neo-soul and hip-hop. Their genre-fusing, pop culture-populated style is highlighted by “Beatin’ the Heat” (which deftly employs a sample of Quincy Jones’ theme from the old Redd Foxx sit-com, “Sanford & Son,” otherwise known as “The Streetbeater”) and “She’s Fearless (Reprise)” (which offers a tip of the hat to Sarah Connor of “Terminator” fame).
In addition to Friday’s celebration, you can also catch the Ill FunkEnsemble in action at the Sport Island Pub in Northville at 9pm on Saturday (August 25), and you can bet that the party will still be kickin’…
The Ill Funk Ensemble are a New York based live R&B and funk band consisting of Jermaine Wells (lead vocals and freestyle), BJ FitzGerald (guitar and vocals), Duane Etienne (bass and backing vocals), Joe Stoner (keyboards and backing vocals) and Dennis Brooks (drums). When we first heard their high-energy finger-tapping music we were impressed and we delighted, despite their hectic schedule, that they agreed to complete an interview with Song Revelation. Read on to find out, amongst other things, what they’ve recently been working on, what they do to relax when not working and what it’s like living in New York! Continue reading →