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Interview: Ill Camille

Rap game’s Katniss Everdeen

More often than we need it to occur, women who make music seem to be tucked into an everlasting mythical shelf that reads “Female Rappers” and just… well… stay there. In any event, in my opinion, Lauryn Hill was the greatest female rapper of all time. I say ‘was’ because Lauryn Hill is more than a rapper. She has evolved into a legend for some and a cautionary tale for others. Women who aspire fame in the game of rap must be ready to fight like the fate of an entire territory relied on it. It’s safe to say that the female rap game is like the Hunger Games, folks. But all hope is not lost yet; I think [Black] women with integrity may have found their Katniss Everdeen in Ill Camille.

Unlike many on the effete plate today, Ill Camille is a soulful rapper from California. Humble and hardworking Camille is a rarity in the industry at the moment. Although she’s been rapping for less than 2 years, she’s been able to work with a lot of the bigger names in Hip-Hop, particularly Top Dawg Entertainment. I was able to catch up with her and ask a few questions.

You mention Alori Joh on a few songs. What was your relationship like with her?

I met her through Ab-Soul when I was sourcing a female singer for one of my songs I did. I don’t know if it was the fact we were both Sagittarius (Me: December 15th, Her: December 16th) or the fact she loved to eat and clown around as much as I did but we became extremely close. Beyond music. Music connected us, but I’m happy to say that was my real homegirl. 

Has the TDE music family taken you under their wing? Are you preparing to become the “Eve” to their “Ruff Ryders”?

This question comes up a lot and it’s sometimes hard to answer because while I am very close to the camp, I’m not from the camp. Feel me? The support is mutual, I’ve worked with everyone including the president (Punch) musically, but they help me to build my own brand. And I’m grateful for it. 

You have a very soulful and somewhat conscience style. Do you find that helps or hinders you in regards to finding a record deal?

I’m semi “green” to what labels look for in signing artists, but I know numbers matter. Seems like they matter more than the actual quality of music sometime. Still, I’ve had both major and independent labels express interest in me and my “Hip-Hop Soul” music style. Nothing has been solidified yet, but just the fact they’re looking let’s me know I’m on the right path. I gotta get my numbers and exposure up. I figure I’ll continue doing my thing and they’ll bite. Now or later. 

Are you pursuing a major record deal or do you think you would have a better rap career experience being an indie artist?

I want a publishing deal. Recording deal. I want it all if God allows. I’m grinding everyday, learning the ropes and my craft, so hell yeah I’d like to reap the benefits of getting financially situated. I do music outta love though. So everyday is a new experience. Good or bad. I’m down to stick it out til something happens. 

If and when you get your deal. What are your big plans?

Well, if I ever get a big deal, I’d like to tour. Traveling is huge on my to-do list. Of course, I couldn’t wait to collaborate with people I’ve always been inspired by. ‘Too many to name. I’m a writer as well, but I want to start dabbling in production. I want to produce a few of my own joints. Produce some on others. I think that helps creatively on the recording side. I’m learning [the] piano as we speak. 

What do you hope to do with your talents in addition to making good music? Is there a musician whose career mirrors what you hope to have?

I dig the way Mos Def makes his moves. Nas, too. They keep their music timeless by not dropping something every other day. They also push the envelope, but still are able to keep their style uniquely “theirs”. I wanna be able to do great music, make great money, meet great people, and be around years from now. Simple, right? 

Very simple. Do you have any advice for young women pursuing their dreams?

Keep everything in perspective. Keep an optimistic mind. Write the things you want to get done, down. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ll need it. And learn as much as you can about your craft or career choice. The more you know, the more equipped you are. 

Well, I think that’s all Camille. Do you have any knew projects dropping? Downloadable EP? websites, etc?

I am prepping for my third project iLLUSTRATED : B-Sides coming out in the Fall. I am working on a project with Georgia Ann Muldrow. I have an EP I’m doing with Iman Omari and one with producer Skhye Hutch. Terrace Martin’s 3ChordFold project comes out next month and I did quite a bit of writing on that, as well as, creative direction. Moruf’s Cali Vibes project is out and I’m featured on it. You can also find me on Soundcloud and ReverbNation.

Good luck to you, Ill Camille, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

For more Ill Camille, just click here.

Written by Manny King John

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