TASCAM Model 16 Central to Illa J's Production

Tascam IllaJ

Rapper, singer, producer, and songwriter Illa J (aka John Yancey), is a hip hop artist whose production revolves around an extensive MIDI studio consisting of synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, sequencers, and more. With a background encompassing a wide range of albums, including Yancey Boys and John Yancey, along with numerous singles such as The Bakery by Illa J & Atamone, Illa J has an extensive and impressive track record. He is also the younger brother of the late James Yancey (aka J Dilla). Delicious Vinyl’s Michael Ross described Yancey this way, “Illa J can write, sing, play instruments and rap. Not just a little bit of each - he’s really the complete package!” And central to his production efforts these days is the Model 16 All-in-One Mixing studio from TASCAM.

Illa J uses his Model 16 in his home studio, where it serves him for both his production work and live jamming activities. According to Illa J, “My Model 16 the main mixer in my home studio and I also use it in tandem with my DAW. I have all my synths patched into the board, along with my bass and guitar. I also have my Line 6 POD Go multi-effects processor patched into the Model 16’s effects via Monitor 1. I’ve been using the Model 16 for about six months now and, in that time, it has become central to everything I do.”

When asked about some of the Model 16’s features he finds most useful to his manner of working, Illa J offered the following thoughts, “One of my favorite features is the Model 16’s editable multi-effects, which includes reverb, chorus, delay, and flange. I use the chorus effect a lot on the synths that I have patched into the board. I also love that I can easily switch back and forth between using the Model 16 live or with my DAW. The Model 16’s input capability is very flexible. Using the channel Mode switch, I can easily select the input source I need for each channel.”

“Flexibility is a major part of the Model 16’s strengths,” Illa J added. “It really helps me when it comes to recording my synths in the DAW all at the same time while playing another part along. I have my synths in a MIDI chain, so it’s functioning like one big synth - or synth orchestra. A few of my synths have their own sequencers, so the setup is cool because the Model 16’s versatility literally helps me to be a one-man-band in my home studio.”

According to Illa J, the Model 16 was central to all the new music he will be releasing this year. “In the past,” he reports, “I had to take all my ideas into the studio. With the Model 16, I have far more control over my ideas - and that’s a huge factor in everything I do.”

Before shifting his focus back to his musical activities, Illa J offered these parting thoughts regarding his experience with the Model 16, “I love the Model 16 for its analog feel. It’s like having a small version of a much larger studio console in my home, so I’m better able to feel my music as I make it. On those few occasions where I’ve had questions about the Model 16, TASCAM has been super cool to deal with. They understand recording, so I get accurate information quickly, which helps keep the creative flow going. I can’t emphasize enough how incredibly useful it is to have all my instruments turned on, plugged into the board, and ready to go. With this setup, I never have to unplug anything. I can just pick up any instrument and, press record, and get straight to work. The Model 16 frees my workflow so I can truly enjoy playing and making music.”