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Iller Than Theirs

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Album Review

Despite their name, Brooklyn's Iller Than Theirs aren't all about proving how much better they are than everyone else. In fact, if anything, they're more interested in showing how normal they are — and how everyone else isn't nearly as cool as they make themselves out to be. That's not to say there's not a healthy amount of MC braggadocio here: the edgy Atmosphere-esque "Smorg" and the bouncy "Lo-Top Sneakers" both have their fair share of good-natured but confident rhymes ("Bull in a china shop, I'm haphazard/Born under the sign of the Taurus, man/You're holding a map: that's the sign of a tourist," half of the duo, Tone Tank, spits in the latter), but this is only a small part of Iller Than Theirs' repertoire. They don't limit themselves to empty boasts on the self-titled debut. Instead, they tackle ideas like the gentrification and corporatization of Brooklyn (in "The Same," which features a verse from fellow borough native Masta Ace), posturing (in "Razorbumps"), and making the best of what you have ("It Is What It Is"). Sometimes, unfortunately, the rappers' sheer earnestness outweighs their actual MCing skills, like in the well-intentioned but lacking "Good People," where the slowness in both Krayo and Tone Tank's flow only serves to accentuate the extreme simplicity of their lines ("Not everybody's a thug, some people being showing love/Some people are really nice, some people give good advice," the second verse begins). More often than not, however, Iller Than Theirs, with its old-school-flavored, jazz and soul-splashed beats and interesting, just-your-regular-guy rhymes, hits the mark, avoiding the ridiculousness and pretension that has seemed to have overridden much of hip-hop — both mainstream and underground — in the early part of the 21st century, making, overall, for a pretty satisfying release.

Customer Reviews

Brooklyn Represents

I didn't know what to expect when I picked this up...I really enjoyed Junk Science's Feeding Einstein and Cool Calm Pete's Lost, but I hadn't heard of these guys. Their raps are really down to earth, and the beats are infectious. In a hip hop market crowded with materialism and empty verses, this album really stands out.

Buy This Album

This album bumps from beginning to end, and should not be missed. "Razor Bumps" and "Wash, Rinse, Repeat" act as the euphoric book ends to a rich library of material. Dense sonic collages support rhymes that are sometimes poignant, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes amusing and always entertaining.


this album is really fresh. J Howell's production is really tight, on a sort of dangermouse-dangerdoom vibe, but way more raw and original. Wash Rinse Repeat is crazy.. my favorite cut off the album for sure. Tone Tank and Krayo's flows sound like they are on the top of their respective games. i know these kids personally, but for real, this album is one of my favorite hip hop album of 2008 so far (dropped in 07 i think, but i finally just listened to it all the way through and was blown away).


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s

Iller Than Theirs, consisting of rappers Tone Tank and Krayo, is a Brooklyn-based duo of the same ilk of the Brooklyn underground hip-hop scene that burgeoned during the latter half of the new millennium. After moving from Phoenix, AZ, to Brooklyn, Tank connected with Krayo, who was already affiliated with fellow Brooklyn crews Nuclear Family and Junk Science. After several guest appearances on other albums, the duo released their self-entitled debut (Iller Than Theirs), produced almost entirely...
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Iller Than Theirs, Iller Than Theirs
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Customer Ratings