Texas born Ill Fayze, born Marcus Reid, is an anomaly in the world of rap. On stage and in the studio, he’s a powerful lyricist and musician. First and foremost, however, he’s the proud eldest of five brothers, a dedicated academic, and advocate for breaking through stereotypes in music and beyond. The artist hasn’t always sought after a career in music. Originally, a talented soccer player, his goal was to play college-level soccer when he made the leap to hip hop. “My passions realigned,” says Ill Fayze, explaining that after committing to attend prestigious Dartmouth College, he became determined to invest his time in his studies and his music career.
Ill Fayze’s inspiration comes from authentic life experience. The youngest of his brothers, BJ, suffers from a form of epilepsy that has created struggle for his entire family. BJ’s determination and positivity are inspirational, and the artist gathers a great deal of strength from seeing how his parents and brothers have handled BJ’s condition. Family is the backbone that has turned Ill Fayze into the successful artist – and man – he’s become, his parents serving as counsel for each career move he’s made.
A culmination of life experiences has resulted in Yearlong Vacations and Constant Celebrations, Fayze’s first full-length solo project that made its debut on April 25th, 2016. Ill Fayze calls the creation of the album “a process,” explaining that songs were written, recorded, and produced with diligence, and even then some were scrapped when they didn’t match up to the artist’s level of satisfaction. The project was a labor of love for Ill Fayze, who was hyped about the opportunity to record with likeminded individuals and create the music he envisioned. “Even with setbacks, I loved the whole process,” says the artist.
It’s unlikely that you’ve met an artist quite like Ill Fayze; to be fair, it’s not often one runs into an Ivy League rapper. But, Fayze is on a mission to break through stereotypes and preconceived notions about what a rapper or hip-hop artist should “look” or “talk” like. Spurred by comments like “You’re an 'Oreo,'” or, “You talk white,” Fayze has had to come an unusual kind of systemic racism; a system that suggests in order to be a successful rapper, your only option is to talk and look the part. “My music is for the kids who are counted out,” says the artist, “My goal is to show them that breaking the mold will help you find your own identity.”
Listen to Ill Fayze on Soundcloud.