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Best of Tacoma 2015: Best Hip-Hop Band


ILLFIGHTYOU bring Tacoma rap to the next level. Photo credit:

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I'll be the first person to admit that I'm not plugged into the local hip-hop scene. When I hear any hip-hop, it's usually through the blogosphere, when a group or an MC has risen through the ranks and made enough noise to get recognized by tastemakers. It's through these channels that I became aware of ILLFIGHTYOU - which is lame, because this Tacoma rap group was worth me paying attention to a lot sooner.

ILLFIGHTYOU's 2013 debut was greeted with giddy reviews, ending up on year-end roundups and getting the group a shoutout from Vice after just six performances. Made up of MCs UGLYFRANK and EvergreenOne, producer/MC Khris P, and producer LOU SWANG, ILLFIGHTYOU make simultaneously aggressive and melodic tracks that are as catchy as they are lyrically sound. The backbone of the group is the production team of Khris P and LOU SWANG, who go by KReam Team. Yes, there are the requisite fat beats and moody piano lines, but the production is slyly complex, swirling around the verses being spit by the three central MCs.

After taking a couple years away from the recording studio, wherein UGLYFRANK made a name for himself with a well-received release (the BOBBY HILL EP), ILLFIGHTYOU returned last month by dropping a surprise EP, CASHINTHEBATHROOM. The five-song album shows that ILLFIGHTYOU haven't lost a step. The lyrics and the flow are elegant without being pretentious, and the production is crisp and compelling without being intrusive.

Back in 2013, when ILLFIGHTYOU was interviewed by Vice's music blog, Noisey, EvergreenOne was quoted as saying that the Tacoma rap scene was extremely subpar. While I can't speak to whether the scene has picked up - the Tacoma music scene tends to go through dry periods, but it has the potential to be thriving depending on how committed people are to keep it up and running and creatively fresh - it certainly can't hurt that ILLFIGHTYOU is around to inject their beats and points of view into the music scene. It also can't help that they're letting the rest of the world what Tacoma artists are capable of.

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