William $ is Banking In On Fort Worth’s Hip-Hop Scene

MDS_JULY-83.jpgWilliam $ Photo Credit: High Vis | IG handle @high_vis

By Roderick Pullum

Some musicians have stories about what lead them to their chosen professions that could bring you to tears. If you’re looking for a deep, inspirational tale about how and why Ft. Worth rapper William $ decided to pursue music as a career it doesn’t exist. His reasoning for doing so is the definition of pragmatism. “After I got out of high school I was like man what am I gonna do with my life,” recalls William $. “My homeboy was like you should rap, you’re pretty good so why not try it.” William $ figured it was as good of an idea as any so he bought his first condenser microphone, started recording material and releasing songs via YouTube.

After a series of singles he sought out friend and fellow artists, Sean Dream to produce his first full length project called 313 which was released in 2012. Over the next few years he followed up his debut album with Project Influentia, 313 II, and 313 Black Sheep. However, frustration began to set in around 2016 when because he felt his career was stagnant and not gaining any significant momentum. “Really I was about to stop rapping. I didn’t have no money, I couldn’t go to the studio, I was like fuck it, this isn’t working something’s got to give,” said William $.

This was without a doubt the lowest point in his career but just as he was ready to call it quits, a new opportunity presented itself that changed his life. “I had two songs that I hadn’t released yet and they were both unmixed, completely raw. I was like I’m just gonna release this just for the hell of it,” he said. “They did better than any of my other songs had done. One of them was called “Listen Up Ma” and it got like 10,000 plays in two days. Everybody started reposting it on SoundCloud, I was like damn what the hell.”

William $ Photo Credit: High Vis | IG handle @high_vis

Sean Dream, who happened to be friends with L.A. based hip hop/EDM producer Alexander Lewis, posted “Listen Up Ma” on Twitter. Lewis liked what he heard and connected with William $ through Dream. “Alex hit me up on Twitter, and was like we gotta work together, but I didn’t know who he was,” William $ said. “He sent me 3 beats, I sent them back and he was like this is the start of something good.” One of the tracks William $ recorded was called “Back Then” and Alexander Lewis put it on his compilation album Omni which was released in December of 2018. “I wrote that shit on a Greyhound bus heading to SXSW in 2016.”

The next stage of William $’s collaborative relationship with Alexander Lewis was unexpected and it included experiences that would be his first in music and life in general. “I still didn’t know what he [Alexander Lewis] looked like, then one day out of the nowhere he hit me up like yo, do you want to come do a show in L.A. I was like year right, I hadn’t even been on a airplane yet, ever,” said William $.

“He was like yeah I’m about to book you a flight to L.A. you can come do the show and then I’ll just fly you back the next morning. I was still skeptical but he started asking for my info and booked it. He picked me up in I think it was like a BMW M3 and I was like damn,” he said laughing.

William $ was grateful for the opportunity but hoped it would be a different live performance experience than what he was used to. The DFW hip hop scene is full of talent. However it’s common to attend a show that might have several popular artists on the bill but the attendance is under 100. “I’ve seen times where there will be like 10 rappers on the bill with 20 people in the audience so I was hoping this wasn’t going to be the case at the L.A. show. We got there and it was like 2000 people in the crowd. I was at Union for a brownies and lemonade show. I went home the next day and he was like now we gotta start working on your project,” said William $.

William $ and Alexander Lewis have built a strong working relationship that has been beneficial to both of them and the DFW hip hop community as a whole. Lewis has grown to love working with artists from here because of the diversity of styles that exist here and their willingness to experiment. Lewis credits William $ with introducing him to essentially a new world for him within music here locally. Jahn Dough, Matt Swagnew, Coach Tev, and B. Anderson are among those Lewis has worked with over the last few years. Lewis’s international following has helped expand the fan base of the local rappers he’s worked with.

There’s been a special chemistry that has formed between Lewis, William $ and B. Anderson. William $ recalls how B. Anderson Came into the fold. “I had heard his music and been in contact with him, [B. Anderson] through social media, I was like damn he’s dope. I went to L.A. and recorded this song called It’s Possible. I told Alex I know the perfect person to send this to for a third verse. So I hit up B and was like hey we’re trying to drop a song tonight, can you record a verse real quick. He sent the verse back in like 45 minutes and that started the working relationship. ”

Lewis’ new EP Red was released on was released on July 19th. William $ and B. Anderson are featured on the song Energy. The trio recorded the song together in L.A. Upon completion they immediately traveled to San Diego for a show Lewis was booked for and performed “Energy” live. B. Anderson spoke about his first impression of Lewis. “When William introduced me to Alexander Lewis I was drawn to his work from the beginning because I didn’t know any producers that played their own live instruments. When I saw he was actually playing trombone on the beats he made, with other brass instrument, and how he modified the sounds I could tell he was someone who was serious about his music.

MDS_JULY-84.jpgWilliam $ Photo Credit: High Vis | IG handle @high_vis

Lewis is producing the bulk of William $’s upcoming project which is tentatively scheduled to be released in October. Additional producers include Super Miles, Kris Minor, and D The Slim Reaper. B. Anderson and Lewis also continue to collaborate on various projects and William $ seemingly has a sense of pride about having a hand in arranging their connection. “B is a really good friend of mine. He’s a genuine ass person and I’m proud of everything he’s doing right now. It’s good to see that because back in the day I too heavily carried that competition mindset. I kept that too much at the forefront as far as me collaborating with other people. I felt like I was too good, and I know a lot of rappers have that complex. I shut that way of thinking out and started acknowledging other people’s music and it’s worked out. If you put good energy out it will come back to you. I will do everything I can to share resources with anybody I believe in that’s working hard.”


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