It's been said that we should give people their flowers while they're alive to appreciate them rather than after they're dead and gone. This sentiment holds particular weight when it comes to expressing gratitude towards our parents. Perhaps that's why Illa J's new track "Maureen," a have-your-Kleenex-ready tribute to his mother Maureen Yancey, immediately resonated with us here at SoulBounce.
Released as the third single from his forthcoming album Home, the Detroit-bred rapper/producer/singer waxes nostalgic and emanates old school hip-hop vibes over Calvin Valentine's soulful, beats-driven production. Like the album's previous releases "Sam Cook" and "Home," Illa J puts his smooth vocals on display as he sings the heartfelt chorus, "Hey mama, thanks for birthing me on earth and being so nurturing, nurturing. Hey mama, all the lessons that I learned from you, so sorry if I ever burdened you." He employs a conversational flow as he recounts the ways his mother has supported and cared for him throughout his life. Ma Dukes isn't the only one he expresses love towards, he also shouts out his late father, his living siblings, and of course her "other son James" (the late J Dilla).
In a statement accompanying the song's release, Illa J said: “This song is special because I feel blessed to have the parents that I had and their support for me my entire life for anything I wanted to achieve. My mom always has and still encourages me and supports me towards fulfilling my dreams whatever dreams those might be. I know it's been really hard on her, especially after losing James and then my dad. And through all that, she still had the strength to keep moving forward strong. And I just really wanted my mom to know how much I appreciated her support, and how much I admire her strength and courage....Whatever happens, if we don't agree on same things when it comes to music and vision, at the end of the day she is my mom and always will be.... I love you, mom!”
If you're feeling an overwhelming urge to call your parent(s), go right ahead! Then come back and listen to the sweet musical dedication "Maureen." Home is due out on June 30th via Jakarta Records, but it is currently available for pre-order. In the meantime, connect with Illa J through his website, Twitter and Instagram. On a related note, Miss Maureen should consider releasing a compilation of all the music that she has inspired (A Suite For Ma Dukes, "Maureen," etc.) with her favorite Dilla interludes throughout. We'd definitely buy that!