Christian hip-hop artist Illtalian held it down for the culture as he took home the award for Best Hip-Hop Album at The 41st Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards.

The awards show is the Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammy Awards.  It took place in Honolulu on Saturday night, May 19.

Illtalian is from the island of Kauai, and he was the only one to win from the island and the first rapper to do so.

“To win the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for ‘Best Rap Album of the Year’ was surreal, like a dream come true,” said Illtalian. “To be honest, I didn’t think it would happen. People from Kauai rarely win, and making Christian music didn’t seem like it would help my chances much. I was just happy to be there. To get the win is humbling and leaves me speechless.”

The album is titled Makana, which was done in memory of the late Lucas Makana Riley. For the rapper, this made the whole thing even more special.

“Being able to pay tribute to Lucas in that way was beautiful. I’m so thankful to Jesus and everyone who voted for the album, because it felt like the perfect way to honor my friend and one of the best men I knew,” he said.
December 19th was Makana’s release date. It has features from 1k Phew, Swift, Gemstones, and Je’kob.

 “I’ve already finished recording the next project,” said the rapper when asked what he’ll do next. “I’ll be dropping something soon. But for now, I just wanna enjoy this moment that God has blessed me with. With any luck, it’ll be the first of many more to come.”

Listen to a track below: