Willy Northpole: Raising Arizona

by: Todd Davis

Willy Northpole, nee’ William Adams, was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and from the very moment baby Willy entered this world it has been a constant struggle. A flood that day forced his mom to give birth, not in a hospital like normal, but rather in a helicopter, en route to one, instead. His ‘original’ nickname was actually ‘Helicopter Baby.’ Growing up a huge fan of Michael Jackson, young Willy turned to music as way of escaping the perils of his youth. He has since overcome the many tragedies that have plagued his life; a crack addicted absent father, the brutal murder of his only male role model, his cousin Walter ‘Salt’ Morison, a.k.a. ‘Broadway Gangsta,’ and his own Armed Robbery arrest and the lengthy incarceration that followed. Upon his release at age eighteen, Willy finally decided to make a change for the better. He aligned himself with a, then, rival local emcee, Hot Rod, and instantly became the rapper’s right hand man. Rap Industry recently caught up with the talented wordsmith who was fresh from inking his major label record deal with Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam Recordings…

Originally, there had been talks of you signing with G Unit Records, and you were even featured on a few DJ Whoo Kid mix-tapes, rapping alongside 50, Lloyd Banks, Buck, Yayo, Hot Rod, among others. However, you instead eventually ended up going with Ludacris’ Disturbing Tha Peace camp — Explain why?

Willy Northpole: G unit is real niggas I can vouch. That error of me signing came to be because I stayed in 50’s house for a quick sec, and helped my boy, Rod, with his career. Man, I have a driven management company, Family Tree Entertainment, who’s ran by Michael ‘Blue’ Williams. And, the quarterback of my career was Tiffany Johnson, Blue’s right hand. Tiffany is my manager who I met at a young age, and she works harder than any mu’fucka I know, and she’s tough on me. She shopped me until she dropped and fell on DTP‘s door step. We flew to L.A., met up with Chaka Zulu CEO, and he told (her) after listening (that) he wanted to sign me. When he said that, Phoenix won the Superbowl, my nigga!! It was the best day and feeling, and it hit me like a brick. I had a flash back of all my ups and downs, and thanked God on the balcony of Chaka’s room where we all (had) met up. Now it’s my turn, and DTP jumped on the ball before G-Unit that’s all that happened — Sh*t was crazy.

You mention Phoenix, of course I’m talking about Arizona, where you were born & bred — What was it like for you coming up?

Willy Northpole:I was a child, man, ‘bout seven or eight and moms used to bump Too $hort Life is…Too $hort album and a nigga used to listen and mimic the whole album ‘til she realized I had stage presence, and started throwing a nigga in talent shows. Back in them days, I was stuck on Ice Cube and N.W.A. as a group, but Cube was my favorite artist growing up…Kool Moe Dee was that nigga, too.

Did you always know from even way back then that you wanted to make a career out of your music?

Willy Northpole: I always wanted it as a kid, but it wasn’t until I got outta jail from a three year bid to realize I really wanted it, and grinded that sh*t to the fullest with every dime I made. I wasn’t afraid to get it either, it was just a matter of time.

How did you wind up calling yourself Willy Northpole?

Willy Northpole: ‘Cause it’s another word for snow. See in the hood, that was the nickname for crack cocaine, and it was the hustle I lived on for a few years to get by, and I took that name and made it a household word in Phoenix. Northpole is me, its every hustla in the nation — It’s a strong slang term on the streets.

Your sound is very unique, so what is the most accurate way to best describe what actually happens when you pick up the M.I.C.?

Willy Northpole: I describe it as a beast in the booth!! It’s universal and creative. It’s what Arizona as a state is, and it comes from the heart. It represents who I am, and I see it as tool to get what I want <Hahahahahaha> It’s West with a struggle behind it, and shows lyricism of a true emcee. I want to be one of the five elites in the game.

What’s the name of your DTP debut?

Willy Northpole: It’s called Tha Connect. That’s a big word in the hustle world and I was a drug connect growing up. Now, I’m ‘Tha Connect’ because I’m connecting a whole fuckin’ state to a world of music. I’m responsible for that. When you come in and out, you gotta go through me — Gotta go through my team.

Aside from, of course, Luda, who all were involved in the creation of your forthcoming solo CD?

Willy Northpole:Bangladesh, my nigga, Nitty, The Heatmakerz, pioneer, EZ Elpee, Track Stars, Charlamagne. All of them niggas came through like champs, even before the deal. Afterwards, I worked with LT Moe, Needlz, Jelly Roll and the list goes on and on. I even did something on the homie, Chingy’s beat. The album is a certified classic. It all sticks like glue. Every song was crafted and designed from the same heart, Ya know?

What’s the biggest misconception about Willy Northpole?

Willy Northpole: That I’m a family nigga, a good father, and a bad cook. I also like the Discovery Channel <Hahaha> I still fuck with, and surround myself with, real niggas. And, I’m Willy everday, nothing phony. I don’t mean mug the cameras at photo shoots to look tough, but I’ll whoop a nigga’s ass if I have to. I’m a private nigga, I like my own space, and I like to think.

What future goals and plans do you have in order to maintain longevity in this grueling business of music?

Willy Northpole: The key to my success is consistence and drive. The hunger I have will continue to sustain me, and bite these niggas even when I’m full. See, it’s all about what a nigga want. I have my goals and plans. I know the amount of money I want, ‘cause there is no amount — So, I’ll never stop.

So, with that being said, what sets you apart from your peers and friends in the industry?

Willy Northpole: I ain’t feeling no albums, no rappers, and I’m not happy at all with Hip-Hop, but all I can do is Willy. No offense, but I’m shittin’ on niggas with this album. I promise Hurricane Katrina in the booth!! This is my profession, and how I get paid, and nobody is gonna fuck with me after this album and mix-tape drop –Remember I said that.

Debut single, has it been selected yet? Album, Tha Connect, scheduled for release when?

Willy Northpole:‘Body Marked Up’ is the single, featuring my nigga Slim Thug, who’s a real ass nigga for showing love to an upcoming artist as myself, without hesitation. And, we trying for October this year for the album, but don’t wanna rush it…

Any parting words?

Willy Northpole: Yeah, understand Y’all, I come from where you come from. I gangbanged, all that sh*t — Anything is possible, trust me. Anything you do for 21 days becomes a habit, so you have to attack that sh*t and mean it. When Michael Jordan left the NBA and Kobe Bryant came, that’s me. It’s just one them situations. I’m that new nigga on the scene, so watch what I do. I see myself becoming a rich nigga, not just from money though, homie, but also from family and love. Willy Northpole, Man Up Squad, Southside Phoenix all day!!

Check out video footage on Willy Northpole and the rest of the DTP camp.