- The Washington Times - Monday, October 21, 2002

Music something Washington is not known for. Unacceptable, says Walt Williams, an NBA free agent whose first rap CD, "The Insight of a Wizzard," debuted last Tuesday.
The District is "one of the hottest cities in America," Mr. Williams, 32, says in a phone interview, so there is no reason it should not boast a formidable music scene.
Mr. Williams is a native of Temple Hills and a 10-season veteran of the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and other professional basketball squads. He and childhood friend Dave Jordan recently formed a record label, Big WAAD Entertainment (shorthand for Walt and Another Dave Production), to give local talent a reason to stay put.
Starting the Laurel-based label was Mr. Jordan's idea, says Mr. Williams, a 1992 University of Maryland graduate and top-10 NBA draft pick.
Big WAAD has produced a series of promotional demos collectively called "City's Finest," but "The Insight of a Wizzard" is the label's first major release.
With area rappers frequently having to uproot themselves and relocate to cities such as New York City and Los Angeles, "it seemed like the best route to go."
As for his own affinity for hip-hop, the 6-foot-8 rapper says, "Rhymes just come to me."
Prodded by Mr. Jordan, he adds, he grew confident enough to record his material. "He had me in the studio a couple times, and over the years it progressed."
In a written statement, Mr. Jordan says: "With 'The Insight of a Wizzard,' people are going to be very surprised at how good he is. Walt is one of the most talented, humble, underrated people I know."
The pair hopes Mr. Williams' basketball fame will give the label's name recognition a boost.
Mr. Williams grew up listening to the District's homegrown go-go sounds. He started earnestly listening to hip-hop music during his freshman college year at the College Park campus. Artists such as EMPD, KRS-One and the late Notorious Big were chief influences.
He also earned his nickname, "The Wizard," while a freshman Terrapin.
"Because I made nice passes and my ball-handling," skills not typically associated with bigger players, Mr. Williams says, Bob Wade, then head of Maryland's basketball program, gave him his now-trademark moniker.
"It just started sticking."
Mr. Williams' professional teammates were some of his first listeners.
"They kind of ride me about it," he says, "but once they listen to it, it's not what they thought. A lot of guys respect my ability on the mike."
While his NBA affiliation may help propel his album's success, he says, "I want people to judge me for my music. I'm a basketball player that can really rhyme."
• • •
Besides Mr. Williams, "The Insight of a Wizzard" features the contributions of several guest artists, including the District's own Moochie Norris and Trina, who can be heard on recordings by Miami-based Trick Daddy.
Recorded in different studios and incorporating a variety of sounds, Mr. Williams says, "The Insight of a Wizzard" is a versatile album.
"It's a mixture of being able to touch a young crowd and an older crowd," he says, blend-ing "grimy hip-hop, good R&B; and jazzy music."
A versatile musical palette, he adds, jibes with his versatility on the basketball court.
As the title suggests, he says the album is an outlet for musings about his off-court life: "Things that I've seen, things that happened to me in my life and my friends."
Still based in Houston, Mr. Williams is now waiting for another NBA team to pick up his contract. He doesn't expect to perform his music live any time soon.
"I'm not a performer," he says. For now, his focus is to help Big WAAD Entertainment become a starting point for D.C.-based hip-hop artists in the years ahead.
To that end, he and Mr. Jordan are in the process of signing local rappers such as J Stretch and Yendy Brown Lea.
If all goes according to plan, the rap world's East Coast will have a new city on its map.

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