It’s a typical summer day in Atlanta, humidity strangling the air as traffic ambles down narrow street corners. An unidentified air conditioner battles the opened windows of a small room as the door shuts behind a tall, slender figure. His white t-shirt juxtaposes the colorful nature of his shoes and hat, a silent confidence filling the room as Chilly Chills approaches. He momentarily greets everyone in the room before righting himself in a small black chair. His expression is unreadable behind the thick frames of his sunglasses.
Not a single word is wasted when Chilly Chills speaks, a thoughtful pause coming before every statement. Born in Chicago and raised in Atlanta, Chills’ casual style and stoic demeanor suggest that he’s from somewhere far away, a beachfront neighborhood in Los Angeles, perhaps.
“I’m from Mechanicsville, bro,” Chills assures. “I went to Maynard Jackson High School, so I’m really from right down the street.”
Wasting no time on introductions, Chills delves right into his earliest experiences with music and the sounds that inspired his passion early on.
“It’s all instinctual; my family played a lot of different music when I was little,” Chills says. “I heard a lot of James Brown, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, and Kenny G as a youngster. I’m from the hood, but those are the tunes played by my elders. Of course, when it came to rap, it was Tupac, Biggie, DMX and Eminem. I really loved the Marshall Mathers LP, that was my real introduction to music on my own, forming my own opinion of what music was. That explains why I do music and the way I do it.”
Although Chills credits a number of influences with the development of his sound, he places a strong emphasis on hometown hero Sammy Sam. In Chills’ opinion, Sam played a big role in giving him the confidence to become the artist he is today. Specifically, he mentions the inspiration of a peculiar terminology he‘s coined, known as “sophisticated ignorance”.
“Even though many parts of me are sophisticated, I still have some levels of ignorance within. Everyone does, in their own way,” he says. “From the highest to the lowest of economic standpoints. For example, Bill Clinton getting impeached from the highest office in America for receiving what he received from his mistress is a perfect example of sophisticated ignorance.”
Credits: A3C FESTIVAL