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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Short

iLLism - Hip Hop Duo & Business Owners - Own Your Narrative and Craft Your Legacy

Updated: Apr 28

In the heart of Minneapolis, a husband and wife duo is making waves in the art community with their unique blend of hip-hop and creative leadership. Known as iLLism, Envy and Fancy have combined 'Ill'—signifying something dope, fresh, and cool—with 'Ism,' denoting a movement, to champion a cause of creativity, empowerment, and profound societal transformation. 

From crossing paths at AT&T to becoming partners in life and art, they've evolved into a formidable force. Together, they've birthed iLLism, founded The Legacy Building and CRWN Media, and coordinate the annual Soul of the Southside Juneteenth festival in Minneapolis. You could call them a creative power couple, but even that label hardly captures the depth of their creative innovation and community influence.

Creative Fluidity with Every Beat

At the heart of Envy and Fancy's artistic career is iLLism, a seed from which many of their creative projects grow. 

iLLism blends Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, and the distinctive Minneapolis Funk. Their commitment to authentic expression shines through in performances that are brought to life with the vibrancy of live instruments, a testament to their dedication to the craft. With a discography that includes two EPs and three full-length albums, iLLism has graced some of the most prestigious stages in the music world, including Super Bowl Live, NAMM, SXSW, and Paisley Park. 

This musical foundation serves as the heartbeat of their broader mission to elevate the Black artistic community, demonstrated through initiatives like the founding of The Legacy Building and the organization of the Soul of the Southside Juneteenth Arts and Music Festival. Through their music and actions, iLLism not only carves out a distinctive niche for themselves but also forges a path for others, fueling a movement of hope, perseverance, and artistic brilliance.

Envy and Fancy masterfully navigate the intersection of music, marketing, events, and social activism. Through chart-topping albums and memorable performances at iconic venues, they've shown that creatives don’t have to fit into a single box.

Creatives Rewriting Narratives

At the core of iLLism's ethos is the conviction that artists should be the architects of their own narratives. Envy and Fancy embody this principle, continuously challenging societal norms and forging their own path, while empowering others to do the same. Through CRWN Media, they advocate for artists to take charge of their stories, reshaping perceptions and reclaiming agency over their artistic journeys.

How Envy and Fancy are Elevating Community through Spaces and Celebrations

Envy and Fancy are the owners and operators of The Legacy Building in Minneapolis. The space is dedicated to fostering experimentation, collaboration, coexistence, and the crafting of impactful content and experiences. It stands as a testament to Envy and Fancy's commitment to building a community where Black voices are heard, celebrated, amplified, and empowered.

Parallel to the nurturing grounds of the Legacy Building, Envy and Fancy are also the event coordinators and curators of Soul of the Southside festival.

Soul of the Southside, is an annual free-entry festival that commemorates Black Liberation and honors the legacy of Juneteenth. The annual festival occurs on June 19th in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Envy and Fancy are always on the lookout for sponsors, volunteers, vendors, performers, and in kind donations. You can learn how to get involved here.

Through their work, Envy and Fancy build a legacy that extends beyond music, embodying hope, resilience, and the transformative power of community engagement.

There is More Journey than Destination

In a moment of reflection, Envy and Fancy recounted drawing an affirmation card from The Melanated Remedy deck titled Cap and Gown. The card read:

There is more journey than destination. 

This message reinforces their belief in the significance of embracing each step of their artist career over fixating on the culmination and outcomes of their efforts.

We’re reminded of the importance of personal growth, discovery, and finding joy in the act of creation itself. The path of creativity is marked not by the destinations we reach but by the experiences, challenges, and transformations we undergo along the way. 

Dejajoelle is an African Centered Healing Artist, Choreographer, Director, and Cultural Healing Curator. You can find her website with the Affirmation cards referenced in the episode here.

Creativity as our Birthright

The CRWN Media website says, we were created to create

Envy and Fancy believe that inside every human being is a spark of creation. Creativity and art, in other words, is an intrinsic part of our human experience. Art is not just a discipline, but a lifeline to personal fulfillment and a catalyst for societal evolution. 

Envy and Fancy invite listeners to embrace creativity as a fundamental human calling to be embraced, nurtured, and celebrated.

An Invitation to Forge Your Own Creative Path

iLLism challenges the status quo, champions the power of community, and celebrates the infinite possibilities of creativity. Their efforts inspire a new generation to embrace their multifaceted identities, engage with their communities, and contribute to a legacy of innovation and unity. Through their music and initiatives, iLLism invites everyone to explore their creative paths and leave their own legacy on the world.

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Inspired by Envy and Fancy? Us too. Embrace your own path of creativity, community, and empowerment. Get involved with iLLism's initiatives or start crafting your own legacy today. Remember, you don't have to fit into a single box as a creative. Let's build a more connected, empowered, and artistically vibrant world together.

Listen to iLLism - Bet

Listen to additional music from iLLism:

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