After the passing of his brother, Detroit producer/MC Jay Dee, Illa J (born John Yancey) dropped out of Central Michigan University, put aside his inhibitions, and stepped out as an MC and producer.
Previously apprehensive about living up to the genius-level standard set by his elder sibling, Illa J became visible outside his local circle through the video for his brother's "Won't Do" -- where he was shown lip-syncing the rhymes -- as well as the Dilla Changed My Life tour, which allowed him to perform for Dilla admirers across the globe. He then got into recording, collaborating with the likes of Karriem Riggins, Guilty Simpson, Black Milk, and Little Brother's Big Pooh. A self-released EP was issued in 2007, featuring self-productions, with the exception of one track ("Me and My Brother") produced by Jay Dee. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi