From emcee to b boy, Jay iLLa has dabbled in many facets of hip-hop before realizing that his true calling is on the decks. A product of the Chicago underground hip-hop scene, he was dubbed iLLaNOise by Chicago legend Twilite Tone during his days with the League, eventually settling on the moniker Jay iLLa aka iLLaNOise once he gave up the mic for the turntables. After his participation in the Red Bull USA International 3Style Competition, he reinvented himself, now going by the name Jay iL. Motivated by his love of hip-hop, Jay is “The Illest DJ You’ve Never Heard,” citing Kid Capri, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Twilite Tone & Mick Boogie as his biggest influences.
Shifting his focus to the art of being a DJ, Jay honed his skills at K’s Music, a local hangout located at 47th and Park in Chicago. Coming from humble beginnings, he put in hours of practice, paying his dues. He soon developed a cult following at the UIC Chicago Circle Campus DJ’ing at dorm room suite house parties. With momentum growing, Jay was able to climb the ranks of the Chicago elite, spinning for and with legends / idols in the music industry, such as DJ Jazzy Jeff.
As his status on the Chicago nightlife scene rose, Jay iL secured highly visible corporate clients. He’s worked with Red Bull USA, Smirnoff, Don Julio, Heineken, Sony, and Sprite. His work has included spinning at various events as well as participating in competitions. Jay represents Don Julio as a brand influencer, Dj’ing various events for the tequila brand, recently rocking the launch of Don Julio 70, the world’s first Anejo Claro. Jay iL has also taken part in the Heineken music series, spinning at Sony Music events for both J. Cole and Daniel Merriweather. Jay rocked the Smirnoff Masters of the Mix with DJ Scratch and DJ Clue. He was also a Sprite Green Tastemaker, which allowed him to represent the brand during its launch and the opportunity to rock an event with hip-hop legends, De La Soul.
In addition to corporate clients, Jay iL has spun for various celebrities. He’s rocked the birthday celebration for actress Tia Mowry and the album release party for recording artist Jeremih as the featured DJ for Sucka Free, a former weekly event. And, Jay has been seen rocking for NBA Allstar, Derrick Rose at Sawtooth. He also DJ’d an event at Enclave for Wade’s World Weekend, Dwyane Wade’s annual fundraising event in held in Chicago. He has also rocked with Fat Joe at The Shrine and for Kanye West as the host for an event at Soundbar. Additionally, Jay is the back up DJ for Naledge of Kidz N The Hall. He also collaborated with hip-hop blog Fake Shore Drive and Complex Magazine to create the Chicago’s Top 100 Mixtape, and received national exposure DJ’ing on MTV’s TRL NYE special.
As a Chicago nightlife scene veteran, Jay iL currently has residencies at Lumen (Thursdays), 7 Ultra Lounge (Fridays) and Sawtooth (Saturdays). He also has a standing monthly event, TGIFresh, hosted at Tantrik and other venues throughout the city. Jay is dedicated to his craft and his love for music is evident in his musical selection, often times breaking new songs months before they become popular. He has released six mixtapes, featuring both locally and nationally recognized artists. In addition, Jay has been featured in the Chicago Red Eye, Chicago Tribune, and HAS Magazine.