Memphis' Lil Will got STL flow
By Ma’at Atkins
St. Lousians may not know his name, but they definitely know his affiliation. OUTTOWNERS may know him as the informant who gave us 411 exclusive on the rumors about STL rapper JKwon in March of this year (SEE OUT 578). His name is Lil Will, a 19 year old rapper/producer from 'The Tenna' (That’s Tennessee, via Memphis). In 2007, Lil Will got his big break when he got signed to STL rapper/producer J Kwon’s Hood Hop Music label after the platinum rapper heard him on his MySpace page after the Southern Buzz about the rapper. After the signing, the rest was in the history in the making. Now, Will wants JKwon’s hometowners to know who he is. Will is not only a producer but he also has his own company, Grand/Time is Money Entertainment where he and the CEO Jay Rocc has signed several artists including himself, Chicago rapper Young Finesse, as well as Kia Jolie, Yungstar, and Killa J to name a few.
Since the age of seven, Will has been rapping and working his craft. According to Will, he is unlike most rappers. He doesn’t rap about gang banging, tearin the club up or disrespecting women. His style is more about writing devices such as metaphors. He says his style has been compared between Lupe Fiasco and Plies. For someone so young, Will has gained mad props with many heavy hitters in the hip hop world including Fat Joe, Hurricane Chris, and Lil Wayne as well as his mentor, J-Kwon . Lil'Will is also one of the few youngster rappers that in his words” has not fallen to the craze of Crank Dat and Snap songs” keepin it 100 on his lyrics. With strong support from his family (his mother passed in October 2007 from breast cancer), Wil, wants to break into the biz with guns blaring—and St. Louis is one of his many targets. In his words, “"I don’t care what people think about me or my rhymes at the end of the day when its all said and done and when all the smoke is cleared I'm going to do me and if you ain't family or God you can quite frankly kiss my ass".
OUTTOWN had a chance to interview Lil Will in April about his fresh career as well as his acquaintance with J Kwon and his upcoming tour in June that he hope scan swing to the Show Me State.
OT: Coming from Memphis, how did you get hooked up with JKwon?
LW: Myspace i was cool with another group on HoodHop Music, The Lil Gentlemen, and I saw they had J-kwon on they top friends list and they said they were on his label. I was like that's what’s up you know because J-Kwon was 1 of my favorite rappers and I was just writing to the Hood Hop beat so I just sent him a comment I was like “ Yo Kwon check my page and listen to my music and tell me what u think . “Then next thing I know he sends me a comment back 20 minutes later and said “Yo Lil'Will you coming to get down with HoodHop Music man?” That was the craziest thing that ever happened to me.
OT: Have you performed here in St. Louis and if so, when and where?
LW: Yes many times in 2006 and 2007. The Old Rock House Blueberry Hill, (the defunct) Savor,The Pageant…
OT: Have you released any material through Hood Hop?
LW: I have released my mixtape Warning and my other mixtape Crown War Vol.1.
OT: .Did you have your label before or after signing with JKwon?
LW: Before. But being with HoodHop I have learned from J-Kwon and G.I.(Gino Green, JKwon’s brother) on how to run my label even better no one knows the business better then these two.
OT: How does your label function as it relates to Hood Hop Music?
LW: My label is not distributed through Hood hop but Kwon and Gino lends their input every now and then to help me further the label.
OT: You are currently getting ready to go out on a city tour. When and what cities will you be hitting?
LW: June 7th and we are hitting up places like Chicago, North Carolina, Washington. Mane, to be honest we hitting up the whole U.S. Ha ha.
OT:Any word on a St. Louis booking?
LW: No, not Yet but if any one is interested they need to hit me up.
OT: Who's booking your shows for you?
LW: My manager Jay Roc at www.myspace.com/jayroc100
OT:In April, OUTTOWN got scoop from you about the lingering rumors about J-Kwon and his biz practices and personal challenges. Did you get any slack from keeping it 100?
LW: From Kanecc (JKwon;s former biz partner). He called my phone and he was upset about me keeping it 100 but it’s funny how he will confront me but chooses to keep quiet to J-Kwon and Gino. Hmm, big man trying to confront a 19-year- old but hey it is what it is. Kanecc needs to act his age and not his shoe size man. I don’t bite my tongue. Biting your tongue hurts.
OT: I hear ya, man. So, what was JKwon's reaction to the truth coming out finally?
LW: He thought it was funny. I called him and he was like somebody (from the Lou) already told him that someone asked him if he had an artist name Lil'Wil, and he said “Yea, how y’all know about him?” Ha ha. But seriously, it doesn’t matter to Kwon either or you can love him or hate him at the end of the day we all going to still be HoodHop music
OT: What do you hope to accomplish with your label?
LW: Make history myself and the C.E.O. Jay Roc wants to make history. He is 20 and I'm 19 and we want to make history as the youngest bosses to every come out and run things.
OT: Are you looking for any new artists?
LW: Always. If anyone’s talented, hit me up on my myspace at www.myspace.com/lilwi11 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my Yahoo Messenger at lilwilrap or myspace IM. Right now I am especially looking for female singers but I am still looking for anybody with talent. So no matter how old or young whether you rap or sing, male or female-- get at me. And also, if you want to be on the staff, hit me up also. The numba is 662-298-1949
OT: What do you see your career going in the next 5 to 10 years?
LW: In 5 to 10 years I see myself as being mentioned with people like Jay-Z, Nas, 2Pac, Biggie, Rakim and KrS-One. Being from Tennessee, people wouldn’t expect me to be as lyrical but I am the proof is in the music.