Some rappers can land rhymes like a haymaker—quick, unexpected, and pummeling in just the blink of an eye.


In 2013, WillThaRapper confidently stepped into the hip-hop ring sporting a controlled intensity matched only by his tireless quiet grind. The 20-year-old Southeast Washington, D.C. rapper carved out a burgeoning following with his breakout “Hang Wit Me” and a string of buzzing mixtapes: 17 N Savage and Beat Bully Vol. 1 in 2014 and 2015’s Street Runner, On Site, and Beat Bully Vol. 2. Glowing praise would come from XXL, Vibe, The Fader, and Noisey who dubbed him “one of [the DMV’s] newest rising stars. 2017 saw him ink a major label deal with Republic Records as his fiery single “Pull Up Hop Out” racked up 5.4 million Spotify streams in under a month’s time.


However, it’s business as usual for WillThaRapper who taps into raw emotion with each bar. “Once you get that first line, the rest of the song is easy,” he says. “It just falls together in my head.”


A disciple of Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, and D.C. luminaries like Fat Trel, the artist admits most of his childhood was spent “getting in trouble, an impulse that only got worse following the 2012 murder of his sister.


“Rest in peace to my sister,” he sighs. “Whenever I’m doing an interview or talking about my music, I want to get her name out there. That’s why I’m doing this.”


As many before him did, Will turned to hip-hop. He developed a gruff and unpredictable flow, nodding the D.C.-brewed genre of “Go-go.” The speedy, shifting rhythms add another dimension to his musical persona, which he proudly describes as “more D.C.”


That nimble fire is on display in “Pull Up Hop Out.” As he paints a brutal, yet catchy picture of his surroundings, the song functions as a call-to-arms for the uninitiated and initiated alike.


“I’m just trying to make good music,” he goes on. “Everything is popping right now. I’m meeting new people. Guys in the street are hating, got shot at 40,000 times this year—people change up or get weird over time. However, my music grows with me. It’s the way I’m feeling.”


It’s also highly identifiable. When Will starts swinging, you undeniably feel it. He hopes that anybody struggling in his hometown or beyond will hear these raps and—in his words—think, “He’s from where I’m from.


“Pull Up Hop Out” now.