If you need a voice, King Iso is here for you. 

If you’re stuck in your head, he’ll show you the way out. 

If you need to know you’re not alone, he’s already been there and back again… 

The Omaha-born rapper has braved an endless battlefield of mental health struggles only to gain life-saving wisdom, which powers his sixth full-length offering iLLdren [Strange Music]. After generating tens of millions of streams and packing shows, he issues an important and impactful message to a broken generation who needs to hear it the most.

“Many of us never developed a voice or a way to deal with our childhood traumas,” he sighs. “There are multiple generations of sick kids who are just overlooked. They’re the iLLdren. I wanted to go back and talk to my inner child. The album is a way for all of us to go back though. Maybe we can get over what we went through as kids—together.”

Iso hasn’t just confronted pain in his music; he’s wrangled it into an ever-evolving sonic beast. He has survived a turbulent upbringing, suicide attempts, hospitalization, homelessness, and despair and risen up with a string of fan favorite albums, including Autophobia [2016], Dementia [2018], World War Me [2020], and Get Well Soon [2022]. Along the way, his fiery flow burned bright on one of the biggest independent rap songs of all-time “Face Off,” placing him alongside Tech N9ne, Joey Cool, and Dwayne Johnson. Beyond acclaim from, Rock The Bells, and more, he has earned high praise from peers such as Brian Burkheiser of platinum hard rock outfit I Prevail who dubbed him “one of the realest dudes and musicians I’ve ever met.

In 2022, Iso found himself on the brink. So, he checked into a facility and faced his demons head-on.

“It was big for me to seek help,” he admits. “When I got to the hospital, people were in holding tanks for hours waiting for beds to free up. Suicide and mental illness are at an all-time high. Ultimately, it made me want to be a better person physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually. I have brothers who depend on me, and I need to be there for my children. I got out of that motherfucker and wrote iLLdren.”

Beckoning everyone on a journey to healing, Iso produced or co-produced the entirety of the project, splitting the tracklisting into three chapters—Baby Blues, Teen Trauma, and Adult Adversity He initially paved the way for the record with “Nightmare,” “Young,” and “Way You Are.” He dedicated the latter to his son Andreas, telling the story of his autism diagnosis and experience. 

Meanwhile, the single and opener “Feel” [feat. Tech N9ne & Matt Phoenix] hinges on a haunting clean guitar melody. As a glitchy beats kick into high gear, Iso’s cadence picks up momentum as he pleads, “Put down the drink and drugs, so I can feel again. 

“I was a teenager during my last suicide attempt,” he recalls. “I took a bunch of pills, and I ended up at this church. I prayed to God. I wanted him to let me save that young boy who is me. I woke up the next day, and I had another breath. After I was admitted last year, I hadn’t been clean for a long time. I was smoking and drinking, and I had a bad breakdown. I felt all of traumas come back. On the song, Tech, Matt, and I are all discussing our childhood pain and tragedy. It’s a beautiful way to begin.”

The title track “iLLdren” serves as a clarion call for “the individuals who since their youth have been labeled sick, not normal, or different from their doctors, peers or family. His razor sharp flow slices right through a tense keyboard loop and woozy harmonies.

“There are a lot of kids whose behavior doesn’t match the regular programming of school,” he goes on. “They’re unfairly labeled ‘troublemakers.My son is one of them. He was written off as ‘bad’ and kicked out of daycare. It’s not fair these  children are excluded. You can be 35 and never feel accepted or like you have a place in society. I’m doing this for the iLLdren.”

He welcomes a bevy of outliers along for the ride. C-Mob pulls up on the quotable “Attack of the Clones,” and Taebo Tha Truth digs into “Holes.”  Sacramento legend X-Raided locks into a lyrical crossfire with Iso on “CPS.” 

Fittingly, the album concludes with his most emotional cut yet “Dear Mama.”

“Throughout my whole mental battle, my mother didn’t understand what was happening,” he reveals. “I got committed, and my mom had to watch me plead my sanity in front of judges. She realized how bad it was and got by my side when I needed her. She put up with all of the shit, and I have to thank her. We’re tighter than ever.”

In the end, Iso speaks to that kid inside.

He leaves off, “If I could talk to him, I would say, ‘The world is a better place with you in it. There are people who understand you. People will miss you. You are worth it. You are strong. This is temporary. Just talk to someone. You matter. The world needs you. Breathe, relax, and keep fighting. You are loved’.”