The Hawaii-born rapper has finally put the rumors to rest: Illtalian is gone and Thomas Iannucci has just begun. The lovable Islander is not retiring but doing a rebrand and name change.
“I will no longer be doing music as Illtalian,” said Iannucci in a statement. “But I am happy to report that I will be doing music from now on under my real name, Thomas Iannucci.”
The first track is under himself is “Famiglia” with KJ-52 which can be downloaded for free on Rapzilla.com’s SoundCloud.
“Though I did have fun keeping you all guessing, the decision to change my name wasn’t one I made lightly or as a joke,” Iannucci added. “Ending Illtalian is the end of an era for me. Under that name I first started rapping, I released an EP and an album, I won a Nā Hōkū Hanohano award, and I got the chance to work with some of my favorite artists. I’ve been Illtalian for over a decade.
A change like this is scary. But I came up with the name when I was fifteen, as a sort of tongue-in-cheek response to anyone who called me the ‘next white rapper’. But as I’ve grown, I no longer feel the need to defend myself in that way. In fact, as my music has begun to be heard outside of Hawaii, I’ve found myself becoming less and less associated with that side of my heritage. And yet, by continuing to go under the name Illtalian, I began to find that I was limited in my ability to talk about other parts of my life (like being Filipino, or even growing up in Hawaii), because of the connotations of the name ‘Illtalian’.”
He continued, “Only by being Thomas Iannucci can I truly be transparent and cover everything I’d like to cover with my music. By going with my real name, I am no longer keeping rapping separate from the rest of me. Previously, I was Thomas Iannucci, and Illtalian was a mask I wore, a persona I became on the stage. I kept music outside of my personal life, and vice versa. But now, I am breaking down that facade. Though rapping is not all that I am, I am most certainly a rapper, a musician, an artist. It’s time for me to embrace God’s calling on me 100%. No more halfway; I’m all in. Like Saul of Tarsus’ transformation into the apostle Paul, this is more than just a name change.”
“Famiglia” tackles the concept of being away from your family. More specifically, this song deals with being an Italian-American who grew up disconnected from their “Famiglia.” KJ52 (himself of Sicilian ancestry) explores the same issue in Florida, the opposite side of the country.