Local man uses hip-hop to share testimony

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 2010

Willie Price knows a thing or two about having an “alabi” – after having gone from convicted drug dealer to recording artist.

In 1995, the Andalusia High School student had everything going for him – a bright future and a college scholarship.

“The truth is – when I got out of school, I had a scholarship to play basketball,” Price said. “But due to my impatience and ignorance, I delved into other areas in life that got me into serious trouble, and I went to prison.

“There, the Almighty basically hit me upside the head, and a light bulb came on, and He showed me my other talents,” he said. “When I got locked up, needless to say, I had a lot of time to reflect.

“I put all my energy into music,” said the now christened “Alabi.”

Ninety days after his July 28, 2009, release, his mother, the late Phyllis Hilson, passed away.

“She made me make her one promise before she died – that I wouldn’t go back to prison, that I would make good choices in life,” he said. “I’m working hard at that.

“I know that alibi is spelled differently, but I wanted to put out a light on my home state of Alabama,” he said. “That’s how I came up with the spelling.

“Now I tell people, ‘Alabi – everyone’s got to have one,’” he said.

When people ask him about his current ‘Alabi,’ Price has a good answer – making music, specifically hip-hop, and from all indications, he is pretty successful at it.

He recently signed a five-year, five-album record contract with “Big E” Productions. He has worked with Roy Jones Jr. “who mixes for Usher, Gucci Mane and Piles,” all big names in the music industry.

“Believe it or not, I do a lot of writing,” he said. “My music has been featured on mix albums for Gucci Mane and Lil’ Wayne and others – but those are the two that stick out. Now, I never met them, but that’s the way it works.”

Price said he was discovered while on work release in Orange Beach when a local DJ heard some of his music.

“When he took it to his producer, I had four months to go to my release,” he said. “They came to see me in prison and they’ve been by my side ever since.”

Brooks said his music is a different style than what people may have assumed.

“Yes, it’s rap,” he said. “But you won’t find an ‘b’s or ‘h’s in my music. I know that kids listen to the lyrics in music, and those lyrics affected me in a lot of ways. They became part of my personality. It took me years to decipher between the false voices and reality.

“I can tell you right now, if I hadn’t went to prison, I’d probably be dead,” he said. “I have learned about values and principles. I learned to prioritize.

“My music is basically one big testimony,” he said. “I try to minister to people in a way that’s not preaching.”

His newest single is called “What If,” and is getting some airtime on radio stations, he said. A sample can be heard on Price’s Facebook page, “alabi alabi alabi.”

“I don’t want people to think that just because I did wrong and have been to jail means I won’t make it,” Price said. “This is a lyrical life. There are a lot of people who don’t believe that some people can make it. Tyler Perry slept in cars. T.D. Jakes would preach about prosperity but live in his car. They took adversity and turned it into prosperity. That is my desire. Don’t shut the door. God didn’t on me.”