“I’m never going back to jail, I know that. I am not losing my freedom anymore.”-Willy Northpole
Shaq just left Phoenix for Ohio but there is still a movement brewing in Arizona. The latest signee to Ludacris’ Disturbing Tha Peace label is a hometown talent named Willy Northpole. After spending some time living in 50 Cent’s house (literally) the MC found a recording home with Chris Bridges and company. His first single “Hoodreamer” has been bubbling up for a few months and his debut, Tha Connect, is in stores now.
The Urban Daily caught up with Willy to get his thoughts on his new single, “#1 Side Chick” his days in a juvenile detention center and whether Shaq leaving The Suns was a good or bad move.
TUD:You’re from a hot city like Phoenix so why do you have a name like Willy North Pole?
Willy: What goes on in the North Pole? Its cold as sh*t. And I’m a cold MC in a hot state. Everybody says, “he’s hot. He’s a hot MC.” But I grew up saying cold. Like; “That’s a cold car. She’s a cold girl.” We grew up talking like that.
I was in your hometown for Sha Money’s Producer conference. Tell me a little bit about the Arizona music scene.
Willy: In the hip-hop community everybody is an artist. They look at it as a networking tool. Everyone has a studio, everyone is recording. There are hundreds of local artists and everybody knows each other. All we needed was that one break. We never had that shot. We never had a national voice to come through and break that wall. That’s why I call my album and myself “The Connect.” Because, that’s my job- to connect the rest of the world with what goes on in my neighborhood and in my town.
So how did you make that connection? How were you able to connect people, without them originally knowing your story?
Willy: My story is long man. But the good thing is I addressed it in a song called “My Story.” And it talked about when I met 50 Cent and was affiliated with them and how I ride and stayed in 50 cents house for a little while, in Connecticut. So it talks about how I met my manager, what went on in 50’s house, why I had to leave, and why I left. So I played my music for some people and they pushed it to J Dickson, Shaka Zulu, and Ludacris. It just went on from there. It was like a domino effect. And once it got into the right hands, it was a wrap. I always knew that once my music got into the right hands, it was going to work. I have been recording since I was 12 years old. It took that long, and that much struggling to get to where I am.
I know you’re friends with Hot Rod so why didn’t you stay with G-Unit?
Willy: Man, tragic. (Laughter) You ever have a movie where you know what the movies about, but you don’t want to know the ending? That’s how this album is. If I tell you what happened, it would X out a whole song called “The Story.” It’s going to keep you at the edge of your seat, I promise you. (Laughter)
Ok, then. What’s your relationship like with Ludacris?
Willy: Luda is a homie. He is a trillionare, an amazing actor, and he’s an entrepreneur. I don’t have a choice but to look up to him. I try to make my situation better. Whether it’s following in his footsteps, or just taking pieces of what he does and making my own stuff. I’m not trying to piggyback him, or ride his coattail. He put me on his album, we have done many mix tapes together and I’ve been on tour with him. So now it’s to the point where, “ok, Willy- you gotta go out there and get it.” And that’s what I’m doing right now. As far as working with him, he’s great. He definitely makes you come [with] A game.
I read that you were making your own beats when you started out. How are your production skills now?
Willy: Man, I haven’t touched an MPC in a long time. (Laughter) Being that I have a natural rhythm ear, as far as me knowing the drums- I’m sure I could always touch it. I know when I’m on key or off key. So I can definitely get a keyboard in there, tell them what I like and don’t like. That is how I use to make my beats.When times get better, maybe I will purchase a studio, equipment and get back on the production side. See what I have to offer…
Get on David Banner status…
Willy: Exactly.That’s when the big bucks start to come in (Laughter)
What was your experience like at the Kids Detention Center?
Willy: That was the thing that changed my life. I spent most of my teenage years locked up. So in that little time, that’s all I had when it came to education. Because I could never go to high school, I had to get my education in there. So I got my diploma while I was there. But at the same time it gave me the stories that I have today. It gave me a new direction. I’m never going back to jail, I know that. I am not losing my freedom anymore. But I go back to the juveniles and I talk to the youth. I do that at least once or twice a month.
Yea, I visited on a while back and saw some in there as young as 6. It was hard for me to watch.
Willy: And the funny thing about it is it’s kids, but the age goes up to 17. There was about 40% who didn’t even know their ABC’s.
Ok, changing gears. Shaq leaving Phoenix is good or bad?
Willy: Bad. Shaq the homie. I want him to stay because he’s my boy. I met him out there at the airport, we exchanged phone numbers, chopped it up and we been cool ever since. I wouldn’t want to see him leave. [Shaq has since been traded to Cleveland Cavaliers]
You have a few tattoos. What’s the best and the worst place for a woman to have a tattoo?
Willy: (Laughter) you already know the worst place…the worst place is the lower back. (Laughter) The bull’s eye. I’m feelin’ the tattoo on the foot and I’m feeling a sleeve on a woman. Not down the whole arm, but just the upper triceps part. For some reason, I think that’s dope. That’s sexy.
What’s the next official single we should look out for on the album “The Connect.”
Willy: Its called “Number One Side Chick” featuring Bobby V.
That title sounds like it could get a brother slapped. What does that mean exactly?
Willy: You know exactly what it means (Laughter). People hear the title, and think its bad. But it is actually a good record. It’s for girl or even the guy (the side KICK)- and the girl- the one that has been there since day one. We just made the video. If you watch it, you will see that my side chick has been there since day one, through the thick and thin, through me doggin her out and doggin her in, through relationships. She still help me sell my CD’s, cook me dinner and hold me down. At the end of the video it shows the dedication and loyalty she has to me. She will always be my number one. Even if i’m not ready to make her my woman, she will always be my number one.
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