Willie D: Coming Clean

Willie D of the Geto Boys turned himself in last week after he was sentenced to a year in prison for an iPhone scam. Before he went away, the Houston Hip-Hop icon talked to OZONE magazine about the case and offers sobering clarity on what he did wrong.  For more, visit OZONE. 

Of course people are familiar with you as part of the Geto Boys, and everything you accomplished over the years, but what solo projects have you been working on recently?
I’ve just been working and making a lot of music. I don’t have a distribution deal or a label deal at this point, so I’m just making music. I’m doing a series of mixtapes called Gangsta Love. I’m planning on having Volume 1 out by March. Basically, it’s a whole album of f**k songs, but instead of just talking about sex, I’m giving you some game too. It’s not just game for the men, but there’s game for the women too. I’m gonna have a bunch of game in the songs as opposed to just being sexy, so it’s gonna be real sex education. In the words of Pimp C, “It’s gonna be sex education on a compact disc, mane. I’m telling you, mane.” (laughs) 

Do the Geto Boys have any plans to get back together?
Naw, there ain’t no plans. 

Are you guys on good terms?
I ain’t gonna lie. We’ve never really been on good terms. We just kinda stay out of each other’s way.

Well, how do you feel about the state of Southern rap music today, since the Geto Boys really helped pave the way for this movement?
Some of the artists are holding it down, but of course there’s a lot of garbage out there too. There are some artists who are really, really holding it down, and you can tell they’re gonna be around for a minute. But from my viewpoint, the artists that came before the current artists are always going to have a problem with the newest guys in the game. It’s the same thing with sports; the past generation always has something to say about the current generation. The guys who came up when [Michael] Jordan came up think that ballplayers today ain’t nothing. The ballplayers who came up before Jordan think his era wasn’t nothing. And so on and so forth. But let’s not forget that there were some artists who came up in our era that were garbage too. People act like everybody was jammin’. Everybody wasn’t jammin’ in the 90s. Everybody wasn’t jammin’ in the 80s, you know? There were some garbage artists back then and there were some one-hit wonders back then. You don’t even know who they are, because they were one-hit wonders. (laughs) And a lot of artists today who are one-hit wonders, you know, they aren’t even gonna be a footnote five or ten years from now, because nobody is gonna remember their name. So it’s the same thing. The artists today who are really, really solid artists and work on their craft will be remembered years from now. The artists who are in the game right now, the one-hit wonders who run around here asking for $30,000-$40,000 and they only got one song, they’re gonna have problems. I can tell you right now: take those $20,000 and $30,000 licks you’re making once a month and save your ass off, cause when it’s over, it’s over. 

Let’s talk about your legal situation. You’re about to serve a year in prison, correct?
Yes. A year and a day. 

So basically you were accused of taking money from people overseas and promising to ship them electronics, and you kept the money instead of shipping the product. It doesn’t sound like a real foolproof plan, if that’s actually what you were doing. Is that actually what happened?
Yep. That’s what happened. 

Why did you think that would be a good idea? It doesn’t seem like something you’d be able to get away with long-term.
Cause I’m crazy like that, you know? When somebody does something to me, sometimes I don’t use my better judgment in evening the score. Basically, this is what happened. I was running a cell phone business, me and my partner, for about a year solid with no problems. Then we started doing business online and everything was cool. I started doing business with some folks overseas and that’s when everything got twisted. The first few transactions were beautiful and then we got burned for a couple of phones. We felt like that was an isolated incident, but then we got burned again. 

How did you get burned by overseas buyers? Were they giving you fake credit card numbers?
Nah, nah. What they would do is buy phones from us on eBay. They would purchase our phones, we would ship them, and then they would say that they didn’t receive them. EBay works on the honor system, and the buyer has the almighty power to give you a bad score. We had a perfect score, we were at 100%. We had done over 100 transactions with a perfect score. If somebody gives you a bad score on eBay, you can never get that 100% back. Even if you had a million transactions and every single person gave you a positive score, the best you can do is 99.9%, feel me? When people look at that rating, it gives you credibility when they’re looking to purchase something. So rather than risking having a disgruntled buyer or a thieving buyer giving us a bad score, we just decided to eat it and shoot them a refund. EBay and Paypal are one and the same, and they’ll hold your money if there’s a problem with the sale until it gets resolved. So we went ahead and accepted the loss. We did that twice. After that, we decided that anytime we came across someone who seemed like they were unscrupulous, we would get them before they got us. 

How do you determine which buyers are “unscrupulous”?
You can tell by the way they send their emails; the way they communicate with you. There’s certain tell-tale signs that you can look for when you want to know if somebody is trying to dupe you. One example is when they don’t want to do business on eBay. They’ll start doing business with you on eBay, but once they get your information and you start communicating, they’ll say, “Let’s do this outside of eBay, so I don’t have to pay their fees.” 

Well, some of these transactions were pretty large, right? Like, you had large bulk orders that you never shipped?
Yeah, it’s all the same though, whether it’s 2 phones or 20 phones. If we felt like we were dealing with somebody that was unscrupulous, we would sting them before they stung us. 

But why not just refuse to do business with them at all, if you felt like they were unscrupulous?
Because we wanted some payback. We had already been burned a couple times. 

But do you think it makes sense to get payback from one person for another person’s unscrupulous behavior, just because they are both from overseas?
We felt like if they were trying to get us, we were gonna get them, period. 

Okay. So you were charged with wire fraud? How did you plead?
Guilty by reason of insanity. (laughs) No, I’m just kidding. I pled guilty. 

Do you feel like you deserve the sentence that was handed down?
I don’t think anybody feels like they deserve to be in prison, you know, even a murderer. I don’t think anybody thinks they deserve to be locked up. But I do understand what I did. I always take the bitter with the sweet. I understand what I did. I understand I broke the law, and in America, if you break the law, you go to jail. That’s just how it is. So I’m going to jail. As far as paying my debt to society, personally, I feel like I’m already doing that. Even before I got arrested, I was mentoring kids, warning them of the dangers of putting themselves at risk. I’ve been doing that all my life, ever since I learned that my name had some type of clout. I’ve been doing that for over 20 years, just going to prisons and alternative schools and hospitals and universities. I put on my first health fair this past June. It was supported by the City of Houston and St. Luke’s Hospital. We tested hundreds of people for HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, hepatitis B, breast cancer, you name it. No matter what, I feel like the good I do outweighs the bad. But I understand why I’ve gotta do this time. 

How do you plan on spending that year?
I’m gonna do a lot of reading. I haven’t read a book in years, so I’m gonna get caught up on my reading. 

Are you gonna have a six-pack when you come out?
I’ve got an eight-pack now. (laughs)

Okay, a twelve-pack then?
Yeah, I’ve never stopped being in shape. I’ve always worked out, so that ain’t gonna stop.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Look out for the mixtape Gangsta Love Vol. 1. You’ll be able to purchase that online at WillieD.com. You can also check me out on Twitter, @TheRealWillieD. I’m looking for a record label situation, so record labels should definitely holla at me. 

You can write to Willie D here:
William James Dennis #99063179
FCI BEAUMONT LOW
Federal Correctional Institution
PO Box 26020
Beaumont, TX 77720

1.

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  • behind da barz

    --------the chemicals R identical, we're one & the same / with 7 letters in all 3 of my government names / walked on water, nah, neither did jesus / its a parable to make followers & readers believers--------i gave her my honorable discharge & she took it like a soldier--------what's a black beetle anyway, a fuckin roach-------she told the director she tryna get in a school-he said "take them glasses off and get in the pool"---------what ya'll call swag to me is faggotry-------my outfit so disrespectful / u go 'head n sneeze let my presence bless u--------its quite amazing that u rhyme like u do / & how u shine like u grew up in a shrine in peru-------its hard fuckin with niggaz u hope u can trust / ure a fool if ure main bitch is easy to fuck--------beyond the walls of intelligence life is divine / i think of crime when im in a new york state of mind - ------THE WAY SOME ACT IN RAP IS KINDA WACK / IT LACKS CREATIVITY & INTELLIGENCE / BUT THEY DON'T CARE BECAUSE THEIR COMPANY IS SELLING IT / ITS MY PHILOSOPHY ON THE INDUSTRY--------From days I wasn't "Abel/able", there was always "Cain/caine-------know how to leave anything in 30 seconds / when you feel the heat coming & flee with the murder weapon--------ayo my silent moments' loud as the crack of thunder / my hunger like the crocodile that attacked the hunter-------i'm something between platinum & flop, underground & mainstream / conscious, backpack, scratch dat; same thing---------this phiscal year im'a stay hot, buzzin / wit dudes that help me shoot like a-rod's cousin-------i fight chicks who bite dicks / give 'em lock-jaw then make 'em fight pits ------all we see is terrorism on telievision ------i'm da illest nigga alive watch me prove it / i'll snatch your crown with your head still attatched to it ------slap your face till your head ache your neck break / the next day slash your throat thru the neckbrace ------ I'm ahead of the game, ahead of these lames / I'm a head case, the head nurse gets me better with brain ------ure now dealin with da kid who heat-holds & reloads / like god gave him a gta ammunition cheat-code ------once upon a time i used to grind all night / with dat coke residue that was ipod white ------ --i took trips with so much shit in the whip / that if the cops pulled us over the dogs would get sick (sniff) ------ i put my lifetime in between the paper's lines / i'm da quiet storm nigga who fight rhyme ------brain cells are lit ideas start to hit / next the formation of words dat fit / at da table i sit making it legit / when my pen hits da paper...aah shit -------i save money while u spendin ure doe / i must stash like da hair between your lip & your nose ------age don't count in the booth / when your flow stayed submerged in the fountain of youth -------when i'm writing i'm trapped in between the lines / i escape when i finish da rhyme - ------if we can't eat together then u aint my mans / so when u see me in da streets dont shake my hand- -----money is da root of all evil / dats why u always gotta now where u stand with your people--------i can show u how to gamble your money, handle a gun / & be a family man & go home to your sun- -------black diamonds in my jesus-piece / MY GOD-------its like da ball be over the plate & they dont call it a strike- ------i'm a gangsta & a gentleman, show you both sides of the coin / knife at your throat-gun at your groin- --------my testimonial be "death to a phony mc / you wanna impress me, show me a ki--------lord knows what homey would do if i showed him da 9 / a one-eyed man is king in the land of the blind--------on da road to riches & diamond rings / in the land of the blind a man with one eye is the king--------you lack the minerals & vitamins, iron & the niacin--------stares get exchanged then the 5th come out / the tough guy disappears then the bitch come out--------if you got a bith you dont argue with dat bitch / you dont listen to dat bitch all you do is fuck dat bitch-------know da bitch b4 you call yourself lovin it / nogga wit a benz fuckin it------went from $20Gs for blow to $30gs a show / to orgies wit hoes i never seen befo'-------i'm intelectual; passed more essays / than police motorcade parades thru east l.a.-------DEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF LITTLE ITALY LITTLE DID WE KNOW / WE RIDDLED SOME MIDDLE-MAN WHO DIDN'T DO DIDDLY-------visualizing the realism of life in actuality / fuck who's da baddest; a person's status depends on salary-------mechanical movement, understandable smooth shit / that murderers move with-the thief's theme--------DEEP LIKE "THE SHINING" SPARKLE LIKE A DIAMOND / SNEAK AN UZI ON DA ISLAND IN MY ARMY JACKET LINING / HIT THE EARTH LIKE A COMET - INVASION / NAS IS LIKE THE AFRO-CENTRIC ASIAN; ½ MAN, ½ AMAZING-------& why certainly i'm squirtin / bust a nut then get up & wipe my dick on your curtain-------walk by your casket & spit in your face--------i know how to get my peers off me / make 'em cry & die from high blood-pressure cuz tears are salty-------i'm not trying to give you love & affection / i'm tryna give you 60 seconds of erection / then im'a give you cab fare & directions / get your independent ass outta here - question?---------black cat is bad luck; bad guys wear black / must've been a white guy who started all that--------either you're slinging crack-rocks or you got a wicked jumpshot--------all us blacks got is sports & entertainment--------2 many athletes, actors & rappers / but not enough niggaz at nasa - ------why did bush knock down the towers?--------I REACT LIKE MIKE / ANY ONE TY-SON, JOR-DAN, JACK-SON / action, pack gunz, ridiculous--------all the teachers couldn't reach me & my mom couldn't beat me / hard enough to make up for my pop not seeing me---------kings from queens, from queens comes kings / we're raising hell like a class when the lunch bell rings---------excuse me miss, can i give you a minute? / may i buy you a glass of ice with liquor in it?--------what goes around comes around i figure / now we got white kids calling themselves nigga / the tables turn as the crosses burn...---------YOU LOVE TO HEAR THE STORY AGAIN & AGAIN / OF HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED WAY BACK WHEN--------i guess they got a grudge cause i won't budge / playin tough, staring down the judge with my hands cuffed---------A CHILD IS BORN WITH NO STATE OF MIND / BLIND TO THE WAYS OF MANKIND--------who shot biggie smalls? if we don't get them they gon' get us all / i'm down to run up pn them crackers in their city hall----------its kinda hard to be optimistic / when your homey is laying dead in a casket----------they say the blacker the berry; the sweeter the juice / i say the darker the flesh; then the deeper the roots---------i took your breath away then we'd perform cpr---------there's no real way it can be explained / i guess its just the way i smile when i hear your name--------CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME / C.R.E.A.M. GET THE MONEY, DOLLAR DOLLAR BILL Y'AAAAALL------------see I’m a poet to some, a regular modern day shakespeare / jesus christ the king of these latter day saints here / To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me as / a monger of hate and satan a scatter-brained atheist--------i remember marvin gaye used to sing to me / he had me feeling like black was the thing to be------------this be that put-you-out-your-misery song / that makes you ask your man 'is this the joint he's dissin me on?'---------foul all your life now ure 90 / on ure death bed u regret being grimey---------INDUSTRY RULE #4080, RECORD COMPANY PEOPLE ARE SHAAADYYYY / so kids watch your back cause i think they smoke crack---------society's a weak excuse for a man-----------planet earth my place of birth / born to be the sole controller of the universe---------the mic had my prints, on on it was a body---------a squealer tells, but the dealer still sells---------some young male put in jail / lawyer so good his bail was on sale----------i'm just takin a piss......unless you're gonna do it----------fuck street clothes, we thug it out in tuxedos / stomp niggaz with hard bottoms in casinos--------people higher up have the lowest self-esteem / & the prettiest people do the ugliest things-----------IF YOU ADMIRE SOMEONE YOU SHOULD GO 'HEAD & TELL 'EM / PEOPLE NEVER GET THE ROSES WHILE THEY CAN STILL SMELL 'EM-----------goddamn, what a nigga gotta do to make a million / without the fbi catching feelings--------i got a story to tell / in these streets we got drugs & guns for sale---------we keep the nine tucked chop dimes up rap about it / wild out fuck niggaz up laugh about it---------- read between tha lines of ya eyes and ya brows / ya handshake aint matchin ya smile---------what the fuck i rap for? to push a fuckin rav-4?-------fuck all the glamour & glitz, i plan to get rich / i'm from new york & never was a fan of the knicks----------the white boy blossomed after dre endorsed him / his flow on renegade-fuckin awesome...applaud him-------before i start you know i gotta / pay homage & respects to afrika bambaata---------DRUGS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS / MONEY IS THE KEY TO SEX------i pimped my crib so i must exhibit------- I - WILL - NOT - LOSE !
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