Billy Drease Williams - I Like It [Official Music Video]




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Published on Jan 13, 2008

You could be forgiven for wondering if Buffalo has a hip-hop scene of its own, so diffuse, scattered and underground has that particular community remained over the past 20 years.

But that will change, if Edreys Wajed has his way.

For the past 10 years, Edreys --pronounced "E-drees" --has been charting his own course through the hip-hop industry as an independent artist, all the while working to unify Buffalo's piecemeal rap scene. He also has challenged the bountiful stereotypes that have plagued hip-hop from its beginnings in the early 1980s.

"Hip-hop gets a bad name, and some of that is justified," says Edreys, who also performs beneath the nom de plume Billy Drease Williams. "I've always worked against that whole idea that hip-hop concerts are unsafe, that anyone who raps is a drug addict who carries a gun and has a misogynistic streak.

"Hip-hop is art, when it's at its best. And it is also a significant part of the culture -- here in Buffalo, of course, and in the whole country, as well."

Casting himself as a conduit between what he sees as the popular conception of hip-hop as a dangerous, unsavory art form and the reality --"It's a celebration of a culture, and of art in general" -- Billy Drease Williams has balanced his career as MC, record-maker and songwriter with efforts to provide opportunities for the Buffalo rap community to flourish.

Along the way, he has become the most promising, adventurous, nigh-on-visionary hip-hop artist Buffalo has yet produced.

Growing up in Buffalo under trying economic circumstances, Billy Drease realized from a young age that he wanted no part of the stereotypes that surrounded him. He fell in love with soul music first, submitting to the deep sway of pioneers like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Chaka Kahn. When rap came along, it hit him hard --"As much as a cliche as this is by this time, I still remember buying the Sugar Hill Gang vinyl, getting it home, and saying, 'That's what I wanna do'!" --and he soon became hopelessly immersed in the form's possibilities.

But from the get-go, Billy saw himself as "different," as an outsider with his own vision of what a career in hip-hop might mean.

It boils down to his desire to present himself as a positive role model in an industry that thrives on "gangsta" mentality. Loving the music but rejecting the lifestyle so often associated with it, Billy Drease focused on his love of visual art, writing and his burgeoning MC skills while many of his peers fell into the traps set for them.

Download now on iTunes

www.billydrease.com | www.dtr45.com

From the album "Good Evening Billy" out now on DTR45

Directed by Hezues R.
Edited by Matthew James Sheridan.

Download now on iTunes


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