Grand Rapids MC and luxury rap flag bearer Willie The Kid has been a pioneer in underground rap for over a decade. Coming up featuring on DJ Drama‘s “Gangsta Grillz” mixtape series, he solidified his own sound pairing with producers like V Don and Alchemist in the early 2010’s. Not only is Willie a polished MC, but he is a seasoned executive producer and a burgeoning investor and serial entrepreneur. UGHHBLOG got the chance to chop it up with Willie over the phone about his business endeavors as well as his recent album “Capital Gains,” which is streaming on all platforms.
What can you tell us about your new album “Capital Gains?”
The deal is the stock market crashed back in the 80’s and had the same impact as the pandemic today. Whats going on right now is parallel to the stock market crash back then. What I want to make clear with the album is wealth, not cars and jewelry, but I’m talking about being able to take care of your family and the generation coming after you. I want more young people and more minorities and people in Hip Hop to get more familiar with that type of process.
You’ve got a lot of the producers youve been working with who have helped cultivate your sound on here, like V Don, Alchemist and V12.
I’ve been telling people capital gains for me is a reunion album. I have people I’ve been working with for the last 10 years who have been contributing to my signature sound. Me and V Don been working together since 2012, me and Alchemist since 2013 and Action Bronson since 2013. Me and Curren$y since 09. These are all the guys I’ve been working with so its good they all could contribute so I appreciate that.
So whats the next move for you in 2020 and down the road?
Music, transparently I’m looking to partner with another entity to take me to the next level. I’ve been doing music for a very long time. I think I’m gonna need to partner and align myself with another machine or entity to take myself to the next level. Creatively I got the best shit out. This shit is elite. If I had a certain type of spotlight on what it is I’m doing I think it’ll move the culture forward. As far as business, I been doing that for a long time and I found a way to incorporate that into what I’m doing. Like most the time I’ve been rapping because I’m nice. I got a business called Motu Viget Spirits thats sold at 200 locations in the Midwest right now. We’re in bars, restaurants, lounges all the sorts. Were the fastest growing African American owned craft spirit in the state of Michigan so we’re doing really well. We opened up a night club in grand rapids called Ambience so that’s a whole other chapter. I recently became a tech investor as well, I own a DSP like Spotify meets Google Maps for independent artists. So we’re giving independent artists playlist access to collect their royalties from publishing from placement on playlists based on genre and geographic location. Like if you’re in Chattanooga and put on the DSP you’ll hear local artists for whichever genre you choose. So I want to help empower independent artists and help them reach the next level. The DSP is called Radi8er.
So coming from Grand Rapids how has where you’re from inspired your grind?
Grand Rapids made the Forbes list as the number one worst city for black economy in the whole nation. When that became published it sent a wave through the whole city. It made us say “damn what are we doing to level up for our community?” It put us on a mission to change that statistic. Things are turning around and we are blazing the trail to make that change.
Its refreshing that you make the luxury rap you make and you have the business acumen to back it up. The music gains authenticity from that. You’re really living what you’re rapping about.
What I’m doing is painting pictures of my experiences of things i do, things i been through. And the excitement is to turn my experience into a song.
I consider you one of the core three of the luxury rap style, you really portray business savviness which i feel is so important during these times in the pandemic. And youve found a good way to remind people to stay on their grind during these tough economic times and stay on the ball.
When you listen to my music it’s not just a bunch of fly shit or braggadocio shit. I make sure to organically incorporate knowledge and information and empowerment. I send a lot of warnings and messages too. You cant listen to a Willie The Kid record without coming back with some information that’s gonna protect you from things I went through and things that are necessary for everyday living.