Hip-hop — as a vehicle capable of social change — often comes down to a series of cosigns, which is understandable in a sea of millions of voices struggling to be heard. Well, 30-year-old emcee Will EQ has that covered. A ride through his audibly scenic SoundCloud, features alongside the massively successful rapper/producer David Banner, and 2016 XXL Freshman Dave East is sure to grab your attention; at the very least, it makes Will seem connected in the industry. Don’t get lost in the weeds, though. His Instagram album Dark Years is innovative for a lot of reasons — and a solid bridge to his upcoming release, which he describes as more bright and uplifting; like a light after the dark. Dope right?

Well, Will EQ took some time out from his grind to answer some questions for AAHIPHOP — check out his interview below.

So, what are you all about?

I am about uplifting my community, and music is an outlet for me to “reach out and touch people” verbally.

How would you describe your music?

The sound is a conscious southern sound. Others have compared it to a modern day Outkast type sound or a southern Kanye sound.

How did you get in the game? What are you working on?

I have been involved in music all my life. Many members of my family are musicians and producers (including Nitti Beatz). I also have ghostwritten for various artists – but I prefer not to go into detail about that. My influences are Outkast, Jay-Z, Nas, Killer Mike and a Tribe Called Quest. I have a record out with Dave East and another with David Banner. I am about to drop a longer version of the Dark Years mixtape and then my EP in the fall called Light Years.

How did you link Dave East?

Dave East came about because my manager had connected with his manager. We wound up doing a great record together called “Started In The Hooptie.” That guy is uber talented.

How about Dave Banner? He’s a genius…

Yes, David Banner is a genius. It was an honor working with him. My cousin Nitti Beatz connected us (and produced the song) – “Mu Fucka”.

What would you consider a huge achievement in your career?

I measure achievements differently, so to me the biggest achievements when fans quote my lines because they have a deep connection with the meaning(s).

What was the concept behind Dark Years?

The concept behind Dark Years was to give ppl a sample of the new material I am working on – which organically was coming out dark. The plan was to drop videos of the material on Instagram – and make it the first IG mixtape. Just wanted to be innovative and creative. However, I also plan on releasing a full version of the project (i.e. full songs – as opposed to the 1 minute IG videos) next month. The follow-up, Light Years, will be a collection of “brighter,” more uplifting songs.

What is your goal, ultimately?

My main goal as an artist is to reach and connect with as many fans as possible – to give them music with a message that they can still jam to. I’m increasing my ability to uplift and strengthen my community and people in general. So if music allows me to do that, then that is my “come up.”