Illa J
Illa J

Birth name

John Derek Yancey


13 October 1986 (age 31)
Detroit, Michigan, United States


Hip hop


Rapper, singer, record producer

Years active



Delicious Vinyl, Yancey Media Group, Bastard Jazz

Associated acts

Frank Nitt, J Dilla, Moka Only, Slum Village

John Derek Yancey (born 13 October 1986), better known by his stage name Illa J, is an American rapper, singer and record producer from Detroit, Michigan. Illa J is the younger brother of the late J Dilla.

Yancey grew up in a musical family, and was raised on the east side of Detroit. In 2006, after the passing of his brother, he decided to drop out of university and continue the family's involvement with music. Illa J moved to Los Angeles, and began taking vocal lessons while touring with Slum Village, of which his brother was also a member of. In 2008, he released his debut album Yancey Boys, which featured him rapping over previously unreleased J Dilla beats. In 2013, he collaborated with Frank Nitt to release Sunset Blvd., which also featured previously unreleased J Dilla beats.

In 2014, he left Slum Village to pursue a solo career and moved to Montreal, Canada. Signing to Bastard Jazz, he collaborated with producers Potatohead People on his 2015 self-titled sophomore album. The album is his first to feature original production, and received positive reviews from critics.


Studio albumsEdit