The release of heartfelt single ‘Mama’ last month came at an interesting point of change and development for Billy Reeves. The extremely versatile rapper, who previously performed under the moniker Whit3 Boy, has just launched into the second half of 2020 with a new name, a flurry of ideas, and an upcoming swag of riveting sonics that will place his skills for songwriting and production front and centre.
Having already released three studio albums, three EPs as well as a slew of singles under his former persona, the evolution of the New Zealand born, Melbourne based rapper has come at a perfect time, three years since his debut 10-track album Priority.
“I feel like my overall music slowly gained more purpose as I focused more on themes for each song,” Reeves explains, reflecting on his growth as an artist.
“On the first album, a lot of the songs didn’t have a direction or point to them, it was just me and some friends making fun music. Now I take it a lot more seriously when I need to and have fun with it when the mood is right.
“I’ve made mostly conceptual music for story telling purposes. My whole third album was about the ways money can make lives better and ruin them so I wanted to show a lot of perspectives on those songs,” he continues, “I’m pulling from more personal experiences on the new stuff I’m working on.”
Featuring break out singles ‘Stash’ (feat. Jordan Lindsay) and ‘Buried’ (feat. Daniel Elia), it was his aforementioned third album, ‘Papa Green’, that really put a spotlight on the young artist. Becoming a bestselling pre-order weeks before its release and landing at the number #6 spot on the top 40 AU Hip-Hop albums on release day, this milestone is one that Reeves didn’t see coming.
“I definitely got a taste of what could be improved if I worked on some strong marketing for future releases with proper planning, I’ve learned not to rush out anything,” he explains. “I was pleasantly surprised to get so high on the AU Hip-Hop charts, it was awesome.”
Quickly earning the reputation as a Melbourne prodigy in the making (despite his New Zealand roots), it’s really no surprise at all that the humble rapper’s efforts and passion were recognised within the industry. It’s this passion – and serious talent – that has seen the artist already release five singles in 2020 alone, with plans to drop at least one fresh track each month for the rest of the year.
“In a way this holds me accountable and keeps me motivated to keep putting in the work to deliver on my promise, the reason I’m dropping a single every month is so there won’t be a sudden drought of my music in 2020 while I work on my album. So it’s twice the work load, but it’s worth it,” Reeves says.
“My method for putting a song together is always changing but lately I’ve been working on my album and that process starts with deciding what I plan to write a song about then I’ll spend one to three days working on a blueprint for a beat that fits that mood, I’ll then record my verses, hook etc and mix it all. Then later on I’ll make additional changes like adding background vocalists or more instruments before I send it out for feedback.”
Working with a number of collaborators, including Jordan Lindsay, Daniel Elia and Ivories, Reeves’ music comes bolstered with talent, becoming almost a trademark in his discography.
“Usually my collaborations come about from me finding an artist on SoundCloud or Spotify and I really dig their sound so I hit them up to see if they’re down to jump on a song together. I’m always coming across really unique artists online and have been fortunate enough to work with many.”
The dream collaboration though is “Olive Amun for sure,” Reeves beams. “Word on the street is he might be on an upcoming remix of mine.”
With nods to Kanye West, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Tyler, the Creator and Logic, the 21-year-old is very quickly making a name for himself here in Australia, indicating that he may have longevity in the bag when it comes to producing records that have substance and allure to an eager demographic of hip hop fans.
Billy Reeves as a name isn’t just a continuation of Whit3 Boy’s body of work. It’s a new beginning; a sign that he is far from losing his signature spark, and instead, is simply redefining his immense artistic capabilities, both lyrically and instrumentally for the future.
Even with all these records, EPs and releases behind him, Billy Reeves is only just getting started.
Check out his latest tracks below.
You can also listen to tracks released under Whit3 Boy on Spotify here.