Sugar Hill, Harlem-based rap artist/producer Perrion A.K.A. Perry Illest, presents the music video for “Dat Gurl”, directed by Cole Eckerle for Bad Grey. Produced by Brooklyn beatsmith Laron, “Dat Gurl” appears on Perrion’s Circuit Breaker 2 album also featuring Microphone Preview, D Millz and Supakali. Perrion recently released a visual for “405” (watch), a track from his forthcoming release The Perry Illest EP. Perrion rapped in studio with Joey Bada$$ (watch “In Studio”), and has graced Sway In The Morning (watch). He has collaborated with Dave East (watch the “Summer Slaughter” music video), A$AP Ferg (watch the “Harlem Envy” music video), and his track “Rollin” hit one million plays on Spotify (stream). “Even though this is an old song. I had to revisit with a video just because it’s one of my fan favorites,” Perrion says.
What do you think surprises listeners the most about you?
I feel like I’m so versatile that people don’t really know what to expect from me next because I always switch it up. I feel like people’s attention spans are so short and they are always looking for something new. I also feel like people never really know what to expect when they meet me for the first time, then when they hear me spit they whole perspective change.
What was it like rapping in studio with Joey Bada$$? How did that come about?
Joey Bada$$ is a very cool person to work with. When I was in the studio with him, nothing felt forced and he actually knew and listened to my music which was really cool. So we instantly started to vibe as soon as it was time to work. It was interesting meeting him for the first time at this Notorious BIG cypher some people in Brooklyn put together in Union Square. Everyone was just there rapping, but when I heard Joey spit I instantly knew he would be somebody. Big ups to Joey.
What’s your process for writing songs?
I actually stopped writing lyrics a little while ago. Been getting in the habit of just going in the booth and saying the first thing that comes to mind. It’s really all based on how I’m currently feeling at that moment or how the beat speaks to me. Everyone has a different approach, not every artist is the same of has the same process of making music. But I like to be alone, just me and the engineer. I don’t like having a studio full of people and distractions.
Sugar Hill is a historic neighborhood in rap lore. What was your upbringing like out there?
Being raised in Sugar Hill Harlem taught me everything I know from the streets to the music, and especially my sense of fashion. Harlem has always been known to set the trend of whatever is going on. And growing up I always saw myself doing whatever to be different from everyone else. I learned how to skate, dress, rap, and make money all in Harlem. And even witnessed my first dead body. I was exposed to a lot at such a young age which is why I rap the way I do and am the person I am. I was influenced by not just the major artists, but by Harlem itself as a whole.
What’s your favorite non-rap album of all time and why?
Songs About Jane by Maroon 5. That album was just a light of joy for me and I went through a lot of changes around that time growing up. That was the first band that made me want to just explore different types of music and try new shit. I started to broaden my horizons a bit more and I felt like it helped me change the perspective of some people in my hood who was just into gang bangin and shit like that. I felt like it slick helped me save some people from getting into the wrong shit and showing people there’s more than just shootin shit up. Music is a beautiful thing I tell you.