iLL LiaD: Greek Tragedy Is Gangsta

The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to sheaserrano@gmail.com.

This Week's Rapper: iLL LiaD

This Week's Subject(s): Greek Mythology (duh) and Nicki Minaj

Ask A Rapper: Do you find that a lot of rappers' names have a basis in Greek mythology?

iLL Liad: Actually, in Greece it's really big. Some of the best rap names I think exist like Zen, Ladose, Apexeis, Vita peis. As in America MCs, there is not to many that can actually come with some real truth behind any of their names in my eyes.

AAR: How many times has the following conversation happened:

iLL LiaD: Hi, how are you?

Lil' Pete: I'm good.

iLL: So, why do they call you Lil' Pete?

LP: Well, because I'm little and my name is Pete. Why do they call you iLL LiaD?

iLL: Well, it's a tragic story, really. You see, a long time ago there was.... Hey, hey! You're just going to walk away in the middle of me talking?

I: Actually, not that often. To be honest, a lot of fucking cats are smart in Houston, which is actually really surprising. Most people ask if it is the same as the book, and I reply ''Fuck yes, son." I really look down on people who don't fucking really know what it means. If people come up and ask what my name is I tell them ''Read the book, bitch."

iLL LiaD, "Die Slow"

AAR: You know the guys in T.H.E.M., that local rap conglomerate? You should totally start one of those too, but make it so that everyone in there has to have a name like Homer or Perseus or whatever. You'd probably be crazy popular with 10th-grade English teachers.

I: Yeah, I know them. And [laughs], that's pretty funny as shit. I have actually [done a] whole showcase bid called Houston Warfare; the last one was at Fitz in October. Actually stopped that to finish my debut album, Salvation, that drops December 31. And I actually love English. My teacher in 10th grade loved me. I always got really fucking high before her class just to get really deep into the lesson [laughs].

AAR: Feels like maybe we should try and connect the dots between non-black rappers and obscure academia names, though that feels like an undercooked premise for a question - and maybe even a little racist. Uh, let's talk about Nicki Minaj instead. Isn't she just so zany and wacky? Blather, blather, blather.

I: No comment on that one; really don't want cats to get fucking butthurt. But Nikki is raw. Fuck Lil' Kim!

AAR: You opened for Wu the other night. How was that? Did you get to talk to them? Surely RZA appreciated your wit?

I: Opening up for the Almighty Wu-Tang was really dope. A lot of people felt the show. I feel like if you pay 50 bucks to get in, YOU PAID TO SEE A FUCKING SHOW. All lot of cats hate on my ways of working the stage because they think it's wild. But in all honesty, it's what being an artist is.

You give them the uncut cocaine version of being yourself. Some of the greats that I have followed received backlash, like Ozzy Osbourne, Jimi Hendrix, Rage Against the Machine, Marlyin Manson, ODB, etc. I feel that hip-hop needs this. Shout out to B.L.A.C.K.I.E, awesome example of that in Houston.

iLL LiaD feat. John Black & Dustin Paige, "We Can't Be Stopped"

AAR: Via Rocks Off Sr., Do you have any plans to record what was probably the non-Wu highlight of Sunday evening, "Die Motherfucker Die (Fuck the Meridian)"?

I: Sure!

AAR: Quick, name the two guys with the worst rap names in the world. Now name the two guys with the worst rap names in Houston.

I: Easy: Dreddy Kruger and Hot Ham. And damn, you really gonna put me on blast like that? Shit, I would have to say Big Peac-Cii and Mum-Diva.

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