The brand is strong for Austin, Texas rap duo Blackillac following their performance at Summerfest in Milwaukee.
Performing artists Phranchyze and Zeale returned to the 414 on Thursday evening after a performance at The Rave in May.
“The momentum is on right now,” Zeale said.
The momentum and buzz is crazy right now for the rappers, having just come off a 30-city tour, a performance at the Fortress Festival and Austin City Limits to look forward to in the fall.
But Milwaukee and the rest of the world shouldn’t expect to get to see the artists so easily in the future.
“People should come see Blackillac because in months it’s going to be harder to come see us,” Zeale said.
In the here and now, the rappers brought high energy and a fun show to the Johnson Controls Stage. Opening for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, it made sense the two were in sync throughout their performance.
Hot tracks such as “Juice It Up” and “6 Ringz” proved how easy it is for the two to captivate an audience. The songs were followed by a mesmerizing freestyle rap battle playing to Milwaukee locals, with punchlines involving superstar athletes such as Christian Yelich and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“We’re entertainers bruh,” Zeale said.
Their performance was impressive, yet seemed to be cut short. Both made clear Blackillac would love to come back to Milwaukee.
Before the set, the two comically debated over who could give a better description of what their rap style is and how it came to be. Phranchyze said they have a unique story, starting as battle rappers for a long time in a state consistently brewing up musical talent.
If a song calls for more complex rhyme schemes, the beat will tell them, Phranchyze said. They try to craft their music from a 360 degree view rather than quickly trying to see if a verse fits an instrumental.
“What’s different about us is we can give you peak lyrical content but still not force ourselves on the listener,” Phranchyze said.
According to the two, what often happens is rappers receive an impressive beat only to spend the time proving how good they are at being a rapper.
Blackillac’s approach is simply to use their voices as instruments.
The rap is elevated and is never dumbed down. At the same time, they don’t hit you over the head with lyrics that are too complex.
“It’s music dudes can snap to and girls can move to, turn up to and get down with any hour of the day,” Zeale said.
Of course, the bars still get animated reactions from fans excited about the lyrics. All of this bodes well for a team trying to be the first established rapper from their hometown.
Yet repping their city isn’t the ultimate goal, building and expanding the brand beyond Austin is.
“We want to be music first and foremost, but we want to build a brand second,” Zeale said.
The two teamed up with a skate shoe company called DVS Shoes. They designed two shoes in their partnership that are expected to drop in 2020.
Collaborating with clothing apparel companies is just the start.
“We’re working with a sock apparel company that already has their foot in the game, pun intended I guess,” Zeale said.
Blackillac is also diving into the E-gaming world and exploring opportunities in a booming field.
The rappers say they want to make the products so big it’s more than just two guys rapping.
“When I say it’s going to be hard to see us months from now, it’s because if we’re not playing some big ass festival — where it will be hard for you to come see us — then it will be physically hard because we’re doing and engaging in all these projects we have popping off,” Zeale said.
The two let me in on their plans to drop a new track from their vault. Impeccable vocalist and guitar wizard Gary Clark Jr. and Blackillac have a song just waiting to drop when the time is right. The record is called “Feel Like” featuring Clark Jr. and Kota The Friend, a rising star out of Brooklyn.
“Yes we want record money, whatever the fuck that is. We’re trying to go all the way up with it,” Zeale laughed.
A new song by the duo called “Shoebox” featuring Daytona, Florida rapper duo 300lbs Of Guwop, just dropped to start July.