ILL Faded. Photo: Logan Lockett
Back in 2023 I met up backstage at Fun Fun Fun Fest with Fat Tony and his DJ, a crazy and super nice guy named ILL Faded. Aside from the fact that the two treated me like family, it was the beginning of being in the world that the two inhabit. When you get to know ILL Faded, or by his birth name Jose, you realize that the “hustle is real,” with this guy. At any given time he could be touring with Fat Tony while producing a track for Guilla, after mixing a song for Dat Boi T before he drops a DJ set after he edits a music video he directed. In June, he’ll take the biggest step in getting his name known to those outside the inner circles of the music world, when he drops at set at this year’s Free Press Summer Fest. FPH was lucky enough to get a moment of the producer, director, rapper, and DJ’s time, to find out where he’s been, where he’s at, and where he’s going.
FPH: You’ve been a fixture in the Houston hip hop scene as Fat Tony’s DJ, but few people know that you’re also a producer, rapper, and artist yourself. Can you run down the list of acts you’ve produced over the years?
ILL FADED: I have produced for Devin The Dude, Fat Tony, South Park Mexican, Dat Boi T, Gt Garza, Guilla, Lil Keke, Kirko Bangz, Scarface, and others.
FPH: You’ve definitely made a name as a guy who can drop a dance heavy DJ set, do you ever worry that people will see you as just a DJ?
ILL FADED: No I don’t. I think people will see you as whatever the fuck they want to see you as and that’s that. You could do a lot of different things for someone but when people ask them what you do, they will label you one thing. I like it though, it shocks them, it gives me the upperhand with the element of surprise.
FPH: You recently dropped verses on some tracks for Guilla, is that a hint as to some of the new ILL Faded work you plan to drop in the near future?
ILL FADED: Yes I have my own project called “No Big Deal” that I will be dropping soon. No big deal..
FPH: You also have made several videos for people over the years, do you want to let people know some of the ones you’ve had a hand in creating?
ILL FADED: Yes I directed the videos:
Fat Tony - “Smart Ass Black Boy”
Fat Tony - “ H-Town 2 LA”
Dat Boi T - “Migos N Essays”
Dat Boi T - “We On It “
FPH: I would think that most people don’t know that you really like a good pop jam, what are some of your favorite tunes that people might not know that you’re a fan of?
ILL FADED: Yeah, actually I’m into pop. I would have to say the song by Selena Gomez - “Same Old Love” is an incredible pop song that I think would surprise people. I also like the Ed Sheeran track - “I’m In Love With Coco (Hitimpulse Remix).” I love the pure energy of the song and how it draws such positive vibes.
FPH: I know you have plenty of projects in the works, can you let us know what you’ll be dropping before the end of the year?
ILL FADED: Well the thing about that, is that I don’t know. I am currently working on an EP with Guilla, a project with Dat Boi T, a production collaboration with B.M.O.C. and my own solo project and various other singles with other artist. I don’t have any deadlines for any of them, so I can’t really answer that but I would rather be honest with you now then disappoint you later. Just be on the lookout.
FPH: As a guy who can rap, produce, DJ, and make videos too, what do you have planned for those who will see you this year at FPSF?
ILL FADED: Aww come on now, you know I can tell you that. That’s like me telling you how a movie ends before you see it. You got to come to find out!
A great performer never gives away his secrets and ILL Faded is definitely a great performer. You can catch ILL Faded live when he performs on Sunday June fifth at Free Press Summer Festival. Tickets for single day passes are available here, or tickets for both days are available here for the all ages event with prices ranging between $92.50 and $999.