Jared "J illy" Milburn | Advocate & Artist

by Paige Watkins

Jared “J illy” is an up-and-coming rapper from Detroit. Growing up as an artist in the city, he attended Detroit School of the Arts and has done music and visual art his whole life. As he begins to build his brand and his audience, he continues to create art that is unique to his experience, and relevant to listeners. This week, the Archives talked to Jared about his music, his inspiration and his goals for the future.


When asked to describe himself, J illy responded simply – “I’m awesome.” Born and raised in various parts of the city, Jared considers himself a misfit. “I’m into science and sci-fi and comics, but I grew up in the hood and that’s my reality. I’m just me. I love art.” After graduating from Detroit School of the Arts in 2009, he has continued to use his artistic background in music and filmmaking. Jaredhad the opportunity to work on the Batman vs. Superman movie that was shot here in Detroit, a great experience that was added to by his affinity for Batman. In addition to these mediums, he is also passionate about drawing – even creating his own comic at one point.

An overall artist, J illy sees music as his ultimate form of expression. “I just want to receive reactions from people, whether it makes them happy or sad. I just wanna evoke emotions from people.”

Initially just using music as a way to entertain, Jared made songs just to be able to talk about things or tell stories. As he grew in his maturity and his art, he began developing a different sound and the content of his songs became more about his struggles, his reactions to being black in this country and what it feels like when people don’t believe in you. “In [my song], Fly, I say I’m the new Nas, because my aim is to come out here and talk about real stuff. Stuff that happens to me and stuff that people can relate to.”



“The universe… Everything is relative to each other thing. I’m inspired by life and our realities – politics, struggle. I’m inspired by other artists.”

Everyone says they want to bring back Hip Hop. J illy considers himself different, in that he wants to bring back the essence of Hip Hop that encourages people to be themselves. “What makes me different doesn’t matter because I’m still great. Failures happen, but it’s a part of success.“

He is motivated by his desire to become famous for his art. “I want to lose my day job and focus on music full-time.” 


Music and Film. Jared wants to continue making music and pursuing his passion for filmmaking. And for him, word of mouth is really important. “I try to use a community aspect of getting people to follow and listen to my music.” He reaches out to people on a very personal level to get them to give his music a chance. J illy is also looking to perform more and get more experience with gigs and shows.  “My goals for 2015 are to finish my mixtape, shoot some videos, and build my brand on social media. I want my art to be everything I’m doing and everything I’m focusing on.”

Jared hopes to use his music as a way to elevate his platform. “I want to get to a point where I’m important enough to make a change. I’m not important enough right now so who’s going to care what I say?”

An advocate for the teaching of Black history and respect of Black culture, J illy wants to help people realize the greatness behind who they are. He wants to help foster a strong sense of community in order to aid in the success and progression of Black people in general. But he realizes that a feeling of community will help not only his people, but his success as an artist. “My struggle in music has been that I’ve always wanted a team, but…people become selfish and it’s hard to get things done… I want to bring a strong sense of community to what I do.”