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D Will Wants You To Know Somebody Cares

Written by on November 19, 2021

“I understand embarking on a new endeavor requires sacrifice, patience and dedication, so I try to embrace it.”

– D Will

Rapper, father, and activist D Will makes music to give voice to Chicago’s voiceless.

Born and raised in Englewood, Chicago, the 29-year-old had never released music before July of this year, when he debuted single “Lost Souls (Chicago).” Inspired by the individuals in his community suffering though tragedy and loss, he decided to share his story — a story relatable to many around him. D Will is an advocate for change in his community, and strives to be a positive example for the next generation.

He shared with us that he was was inspired to submit “Lost Souls”, his first recording, for airplay on Vocalo after listening to the radio station for years. “I discovered you guys in 2018 and fell in love. I drive for Uber and I can’t tell you how many late nights I’ve spent driving through the city listening to you guys.”

Photo courtesy of the artist.

“Lost Souls (Chicago)” was featured on Vocalo’s “In Rotation” playlist for November 2021. The track combines electronic vocalization, smooth R&B beats and D Will’s even-cadenced rapping, detailing his experiences dealing with violence and tragedy while growing up in the city. The track opens with the lines, “There ain’t no city like Chicago, man / City of Broad Shoulders for a reason, you feel me?”, referencing the famous Carl Sandburg poem.

Recently, Vocalo connected with D Will about his debut single, how Chicago has informed his identity, what motivates him to make music and how others can help their communities, too.

You first started recording music in July of this year. What motivated you to get in the studio and record your first song?

The individuals in the inner city motivated me. Just knowing the fact that we all have a story and, for a lot of individuals where I’m from, that story is all too familiar. So I felt I could make music that people would relate to. While hopefully also motivating some to walk a straighter path. None of us are perfect, but we can all try harder, including myself.

How has being born and raised in Chicago informed your identity, both as a musician and an individual?

Chicagoans carry themselves in a way that screams confidence, whether overtly or more of a quiet confidence. The city forced me to be a go-getter. You can’t help but be inspired from the hustle and bustle, from the inner city to downtown. As a musician from the city, the inner city especially, your identity is basically molded for you through your experiences. Chicago musicians may be different in many ways, but at its core it’s much the same — just expressed differently.

Your song “Lost Souls” conveys a strong message about violence and suffering in Chicago. Tell us about this message and what inspired you to write this song.

Being from Chicago’s inner city, you’ve seen and been through a lot. Even if “you” don’t have many problems with violence and tragedy, you know someone who does. The negative energy just lays over certain areas like a dark cloud. Unfortunately, that cloud consumes a lot of its inhabitants. I had a personal incident involving me and a sibling where we were pulled from our vehicle at gunpoint by a pair of police. They attributed it to a misunderstanding, and in that moment I just felt helpless, like my life could’ve been taken with little to nobody caring. Just another young Black guy shot dead, and life goes on. Also just seeing the pain in peoples’ eyes and most not being able to express it or think no one cares. Just let them know someone can feel what they’re going through. If I have a gift that can effectively convey that message, why not use it?

What do you think can be done to advocate for change?

Diversity, inclusion and equality at the highest levels of government and business. Certain individuals in our country have a stronghold in their fields while also having associates and family with the same power, so their control is far-reaching. So if their mindset isn’t for doing the right things, then we’ll continue to go decades with a limited society. Just fairness all around the board, and not be so quick to judge Blacks when they make one mistake and throw them into stereotypical categories — i.e. ghetto, greedy, lazy and countless other things. No one should have to walk on eggshells to appease another human being and constantly get subtle hints of inferiority.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

On your Instagram, you show a dedication to providing water for those who need it. When and how did this cause become so important to you? What are you doing to help?

While I was growing up, we never had bottled water, just the tap. I wasn’t aware of the popularity and convenience of bottled water until about age 16. Of course, you’d get it on field trips and at social functions, but we never had it in our household. So you’d have random times where you’d hawk some to get the extras while it was hot out. But recently, though, I felt the inspiration to do it in a way that can have a larger impact in society as a whole. Water is so essential to our health, and many of us who have it on-hand neglect it while others thirst for it, literally. Thus far, I’ve given out countless bottles to individuals around the city while the weather stretched into the 90’s. I hope to expand my horizons and help more people in need all around the globe and collaborate with other like-minded philanthropists who practice at the highest levels.

If someone was interested, what could they do to help their community in similar ways?

They could pick up garbage, give away their old items to charity, help lead the youth down a better path or just simply treat people with respect. These things don’t cost a thing but can spread the right message that somebody cares, and therefore there’s hope after all.

Tell us about I’m Here, your EP scheduled for release this Christmas.

I’m Here is going to commemorate my arrival on the rap scene. Giving people my insights and stories while exploring my artistry. I’m looking forward to its release. The Christmas release date is like my gift to my listeners.

“The city forced me to be a go-getter.”

– D Will

What are your hopes for yourself as a musician in 2022?

Growth. I understand embarking on a new endeavor requires sacrifice, patience and dedication, so I try to embrace it. Also to expand my territory and work with other talented individuals.

Who inspires you the most musically? Who inspires you as an individual?

It’s tough to just choose one, because everyone in my rotation inspire me in someway. But the ones who continue to create, innovate and elevate are geniuses. Nas, Jay, Ye, 50, Dre, Snoop, Cube, Master P, Diddy — just to name a few. It’s especially impressive, because they’re doing so while still being a Black man in America.

As an individual, my biggest inspiration is my little brother Monte, scheduled to be released from prison in January 2022. He was incarcerated for 10 years for something he didn’t do, but at the time he was arrested resources were sorta scarce and our family had an ignorance of the law. But he did the time like a soldier, and he’ll finally be able to embrace with his 10 year old daughter whom he’s yet to see free. He stood tall without complaint, so he’s my biggest inspiration.

Do you have anything else coming up fans should know about?

Seeking out a few people to collaborate with, so hopefully it all comes together.

Follow D Will on Instagram, and stream his music on Spotify below.

By Erik Anderson

Interview edited for length and clarity.

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