Get-along gang

Ill Bill’s got friends in fly places
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  September 3, 2008

Part-time villain: Ill Bill gets nice. By Chris Faraone.
The strongest evidence that Bill really is a personable roughneck could be his extensive but unlikely connections in the industry. Through his 20 years in hip-hop he’s rolled with everyone from the blackest of rappers, like Jeru and Sticky Fingaz, to the palest ones, like MC Serch, with whom he started Non-Phixion in the mid ’90s. His new disc features Vinny Paz, Immortal Technique, B-Real, and Bad Brains among others, with guest production from such platinum legends as DJs Muggs and Premier. “I’m an old dude,” says Bill. “I’m 36, and New York is a small place when you’ve been around the block for that long.”

BAD BRAINS | He may have chosen the mic as his mallet, but Bill grew up on punk and metal. After he’d been trying to link with Bad Brains through shared friends for two years, frontman H.R. and bassist Darryl Jennifer showed at one of his Los Angeles shows. “H.R. is a wild dude. We ended up recording at DJ Lethal’s studio through the next day — he’ll be on my next couple of albums.”

MC SERCH | The Third Bass–man discovered Bill off the single “Dope Fiend,” which Southpaw Records released without ever notifying Bill. “It worked out for the best, though, because Serch heard it. We started Non-Phixion two years after Derelict of a Dialect came out and three years after he got Nas his deal. It was a crazy time — I was like, ‘You want to start a group with me? You just went triple platinum.’ ”

TECH N9NE | Bill befriended the platinum-selling clown-faced Missouri rap sensation on the 52-city Fire & Ice Tour earlier this year. But despite rumors that Reprisal was dropping on N9ne’s Strange Music, it isn’t. “Tech is my homie — don’t get it twisted. But while we see eye-to-eye artistically, we never had a business conversation. Other people at Strange handle those things, and we just couldn’t come up with a win-win.”

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