On the Record: Willy G.
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Aspiring emcee William Guy, aka Willy G., is going all in to prove that hard-knock beginnings can lead to hope and prosperity. What better way to express such a spirited notion than through music.
Life’s misfortunes can weight a ton and bring you down if you let it. Guy doesn’t sugarcoat the facts when it comes to his past or less-than-ideal upbringing. At 13, his father, a pimp, passed away due to cancer. Three years later his mother died from a brain aneurism. From that point, family stability was nonexistent as the young William Guy lived life on the move, staying with relatives and friends.
“I’m not gonna lie, it sucked but it taught me to be independent. Everything I ever had I got it on my own it made me a man,” said the 24-year-old. “My Ewa Beach community really took me in, my friends and their families showed me a lot of love at a time of need.”
At one point, the series of family tragedies would lead to poor choices and wrong routes taken. He chose hustling over high school and dropped out. Problems with the law followed. It was finally time to put the downward spiral to a halt.
”I remember feeling down and alone, then I would listen to Tupac and hear him talking about going through the same things I was going through.(He) made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I want to do the same for others,” he said.
He will always carry a heavy heart but these days the memories serve as fuel that helps medicate the pain and strengthen his spirit.
A prime example of how Guy won’t allow his tough upbringing define him has been the energy he has been putting into his music as of late. This Saturday, the talented street-wise emcee will be one of four guests of honor at the Honolulu Zodiac Bash at Bonsai. One of the busiest stretches of his career continues next weekend at The Surfer on Aug. 22 where he will be rocking the mic at “Jokes and Jamz” on the North Shore.
“Most artists rather hate rather than build together,” said Guy, who’s latest video, “All I Know” features Miss Hawaii 2014, Moani Hara. “If we had each other’s back that’s all we would need but people not trying to feel that. Hopefully one day the cats in the music scene will wake up and come together for one big movement.”
The events will culminate with the release of his album “We Got We,” on Sept. 3, a project that will blend the stories influenced by the hardships of his past with a party, island, street-music vibe that defines the hip-hop tastes sought after today.
“It’s my struggles that brought me to find music in the first place,” he said. “Sometimes people don’t wanna hear music just about the struggle or a certain subject all the time. There’s going to be times when people just want to get hype and go wild. We need turn up music just as much.”
Guy, who remains in talks with several promoters and venues to host an album-release party, is not only confident the lyrics and feel of “We Got We” (a motto that stands for aloha, loyalty, family) will be a soundtrack fans of island-made hip-hop music will rally behind.
Not allowing his music buzz to settle, Guy will release a “Beyond Paradise” mixtape in October to flood the scene with even more new music.
“I don’t focus on being in competition with anyone but myself,” said Guy. “It’s not that easy to catch a break out here, the hip-hop scene is not, like, front page as we want it to be but it is slowly growing and one day we gonna break through. One day the world will see it, trust.”
In many ways, the common thread in his music is his circle of friends and supporters and the area that raised him. He is especially proud that he never gave up to become a throwaway product of his environment.
“Everyone knows everyone, that’s why I love Ewa Beach, we (are) all a family but it has its downs. I’ve lost a lot of family and friends to the drug scene,” he said. “You really got to be strong-minded to make it out here. It could break you and make you at the same time. I chose to make it.”
Since refusing to get sucked into the urban island poverty matrix, Guy lives a less prideful and more mindful lifestyle. Inspiring his refreshed lease on life was the birth of his son, William Isaiah, now 3. Guy said he will never take for granted the blessings that come with fatherhood and the responsibility of being a protector and provider — ever.
”I know what it’s like to grow up broke and with my father absent, so there is no way I will let him feel the pain I felt,” he said. “He motivates me to go harder in my music, he makes me focus. To hear him going around the house singing my songs is the greatest feeling I could ever feel.”