Origin: South Bend, Indiana – Home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish!
Current Location: Los Angeles, CA (5 years)
Top 10 Playlist
1. “Forever” – Drake feat. Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem
2. “Patriotic” – Soulja Boy
3. “Forever Young” – Jay-Z
4. “California Dreams” – The Vill feat. Ya Boy & The Game
5. “Before” – Yung Berg
6. “Boogie Board Shawty” – Mr. CG
7. “Killa” – Drake feat. Nipsey Hussle
8. “Uncuff Her” – Essay Potna
9. “Obsessed (Loser” – Trey Songz
10. “Getting’ Money” – Babby Boy feat. Young Dro
HipHopWired: How did you get your start in DJing?
DJ ILL WILL: I have always been that guy who makes mix CD’s with all the hot music for my friends… I just had the opportunity to take it to the next level after I moved to Los Angeles. I first started Deejaying seriously when I got asked to be a late replacement for the house DJ who didn’t show up at this club I worked security in Santa Monica way back when I first moved to Los Angeles 5 yrs ago. I got a good response and they let me keep coming back.
HipHopWired: What DJs influenced your style?
DJ ILL WILL: Mixtape DJ wise I was heavily influenced by DJ Envy, DJ Kay Slay, DJ Khaled etc. but I really drew inspiration from DJ Skee & Big Mike being a white boy – they gave me hope and a trail to follow.
HipHopWired: So tell us how you got your nickname, “Your Wifey’s Favorite DJ,” how’d you come up with that? Were you given that name or did you give it to yourself?
DJ ILL WILL: HaHa!! That would be mad corny to “self anoint” myself with that nickname!! My good friend BIAS just started calling me that one day as a joke in front of other people and it kind of just took a life of its own. When I got drops from big artists and DJ’s calling me that and I got a good response, I decided to roll with it… It’s funny and catchy to most people who don’t have girl problems Lol!
HipHopWired: In your opinion, what DJs are comparable to yourself and your style?
DJ ILL WILL: I don’t like to compare myself to other DJ’s. I think me and my partner DJ Rockstar really have the Internet on lock as far as our movement and what separates us from the competition but there are some other DJ’s who have a nice online movements as well.
HipHopWired: So DJ Rockstar is your official DJ partner, but you gained a lot of notoriety and respect when people heard you, Rockstar and DJ Rampage on the mixtape with Drake, how’d you link up with him for that?
DJ ILL WILL: Heartbreak Drake… HaHa yeah everyone got that joint! Well keep in mind this is pre-Drake-mania…back in October of 2008 me and my good friend S Class were listening to nothing but Drake in our spare time, and together we decided that if Drake can draw US in THAT MUCH and take over our ears than if promoted right, others would fall in line. So my next step was to reach out to Rampage who knew Drake personally from touring in Canada with Omarion and bring DJ Rockstar on board who is from Canada so it all made sense. To be honest though I spoke to Drake several times before the project dropped and we tried to make it official with his drops and exclusive pictures and songs but he was really busy at the time so it wasn’t happening as soon as I would have preferred so I grew impatient and decided to drop the Heartbreak Drake (The Best of Drake) project in early December of 08 and it just took off…
I knew Drizzy was a star and would eventually be a superstar but I had no idea that it would happen that quickly. Heartbreak Drake really did great #’s right away but after he dropped his classic So Far Gone project a few months later, the #’s on HB Drake picked up even more…its crazy. Heartbreak Drake has over 3 million downloads online and I see it bootlegged everywhere I go now. Lol, shout out to Drake. I saw him backstage at his show in LA and he laughed when I asked him if he was mad about Heartbreak Drake…He was like, “Uhhh how can I be, everyone has that Shyte and loves it!”
HipHopWired: So what’s the back-story behind you and Rockstar, how’d you guys link up? How long have you been working together?
DJ ILL WILL: Me & DJ Rockstar linked up a couple years ago and he helped me do a lot of marketing on the projects that I dropped by myself or with DJ Rampage and I believed in his talent to market and promote music so I asked him about 1 yr ago to be my official partner and do all my tapes with me and he happily obliged.
HipHopWired: So being a West Coast DJ, what’s your opinion on the state of West Coast Hip-Hop today?
DJ ILL WILL: The West Coast is alive and well… The Game brought it back a few years ago to the mainstream but there are a lot of new artists garnering nationwide attention right now as well including Ya Boy, Tyga, Jay Rock, Glasses Malone, Bishop Lamont, Hot Dollar, Ca$his etc so we are in a good position. I just think that these new artists need to focus on what’s popping “nowadays” instead of doing cliché west coast music of the past and we will be fine!!
HipHopWired: Do you think West Coast Hip-Hop will ever revitalize?
DJ ILL WILL: I think that certain artists out of the West Coast will succeed and possibly dominate but I think that the “West Coast” scene as a whole has a lot of “camaraderie building” to do before the coast as a whole takes over ever again. That’s not a diss to the West at all because the West coast made me who I am. It’s just a fact that most of the artists on the West don’t work together like the Florida and Atlanta movements do specifically.
HipHopWired: In your opinion what makes you different and stand out from other DJs?
DJ ILL WILL: I think my lane is very different…I do a lot of R&B tapes – “I Love Your Girl” series particularly, that caters towards women… I also specifically chose to do projects with the young, fly, new artists like Yung Berg, Bow Wow, Tyga, Ya Boy, Soulja Boy, Trey Songz, Drake etc and that makes my main fan base younger kids and females…Most mixtape DJ’s are caught up in the gangster music and street scene so I have been able to grow rather quickly in my own lane due to lack of competitors in my market.
HipHopWired: So you have the new Greenlight mixtape with Bow Wow, what’s the next mixtape and when can we expect it?
DJ ILL WILL: My next big mixtape is with Soulja Boy, My Way of Life. I am dropping that with DJ Woogie and DJ Rockstar on September 10th. That’s gonna be huge. We are expecting CRAZY #’s on that one… In addition to that, I have 3 Official Young Money projects coming in the next couple months with Lil Twist, Tyga & Gudda Gudda.
HipHopWired: You were recently nominated for a Justo Mixtape Award. As a DJ gaining notoriety…who do you think is your biggest competition?
DJ ILL WILL: I try not to worry about competition and really just focus on what it takes for me to succeed instead of worrying about what others are doing. But I have always looked up to DJ Skee as a mark of success. If I can stay 2 steps behind that guy I will be very lucky.
HipHopWired: What’s next for you? What can fans expect from Ill Will?
DJ ILL WILL: Currently me and DJ Rockstar are looking for a dope new Rap or R&B artist that we can get behind. That’s the next big step for me…I am going to continue to build my brand as a mixtape DJ but at some point I really want to step away and focus on building an artist and starting a label where we can present an artist to the public. Either independently or through a major where I can help A&R his project and really help make a musical masterpiece through my relationships with big artists and producers. I feel that will be a fun project to be associated with. We are just looking for the right artist at this point.
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