Willy Cardiac is here to bridge South Africa and the States. Recently turning 19-years-old, he’s already well on his way to fulfill this very mission, serving as the second African artist on RADAR, Spotify’s global emerging artists program featuring artists from over 50 markets around the universe.
Willy describes himself as “a trap and mosh pit sensation from Africa. I’m bringing the trap vibes from Africa to the whole world, that’s what I’m trying to do.” While most African artists can be a superstar in their home countries, the majority don’t get recognized on a global scale.
It was his 2017 debut single “Sippy Dippy” that would become an instant viral sensation, dubbing his growing fanbase the Willy Gang. Fast forward to 2020, his newest single “Fan of Me” arrives as the perfect blend of high energy and Trap&B, embodying thump, rhythm and a fire verse from Eric Bellinger.
AllHipHop caught up with Willy Cardiac who was posted in South Africa to discuss his new single with Eric Bellinger, his biggest influences with XXXTentacion being one, his forthcoming EP, and more!
AllHipHop: Where are you located? How is it over there?
Willy Cardiac: South Africa. It’s hot. It’s really hot, I don’t even know but it’s hot.
AllHipHop: What time is it over there?
Willy Cardiac: 20 past 1am. In the morning, but I’m always up at this time.
AllHipHop: Being from South Africa, what was the household like growing up?
Willy Cardiac: It was okay, my parents showed me a lot of support with everything I did. They support me with my music right now. It’s a really supportive environment, I really liked it. Full of love. I have 2 brothers, my mom and my dad.
AllHipHop: Who were the musical influences?
Willy Cardiac: Well the reason why I have so much love for music is because of my mom and dad, they like music a lot. My dad listens to a lot of reggae and dancehall music, my mom listens to everything. Because of her, I love everything. Every genre of music.
AllHipHop: Who did you look up to growing up?
Willy Cardiac: It’s weird but there’s Tracy Chapman, Tame Impala. Hip-hop artists, it was Tyler the Creator, Drake, Lil Wayne.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize this music thing was real?
Willy Cardiac: When I was 10, I really got into music. My cousin, he put me onto hip-hop. I really started liking Hip Hop, I started looking up to rap artists. The first artist I really liked was Lil Wayne. Because of him, I love Hip Hop. I’ve wanted to do music since but I started writing music when I was 14, only started recording when I was 16.
AllHipHop: Did you know what you were doing then?
Willy Cardiac: Yeah, kind of. [laughs] When I listen to my old s##t, it sounds like I don’t know what I was doing. But back then, I prolly knew what I was doing.
AllHipHop: Talk about linking with Eric Bellinger on “Fan of Me.” How’d that collab come about?
Willy Cardiac: I recorded the song right after I came back from LA. Right after I recorded the song, I sent it to my manager the next morning because it was crazy. I told him “this is a hit,” I sent it to him. He sent it to Eric’s team, Eric liked it and recorded his verse. Sent it back in less than 24 hours, it was crazy.
AllHipHop: Who or what inspired the record?
Willy Cardiac: The song is about fans. Since I’ve been getting a lot of attention, a lot of fans have been wanting to be in a relationship with me. I thought about putting it into a song, some crazy fans want to cuff me. That’s how the song goes. If you listen to the song, it’s basically what it’s about.
AllHipHop: You say “I cannot f##k with fans,” why is that?
Willy Cardiac: I say that because I can’t get into a relationship with fans. [laughs]
AllHipHop: What does it mean to have it reach the masses globally? I know that’s important to you.
Willy Cardiac: That’d be a major life goal to accomplish. Since I started music, I’ve always said I want to be bigger than just being big. I always want to be seen as a legend, like Michael Jackson, Jay Z, Beyonce. That’s where I’m heading. A lot of people want to blow up locally and stay here. I’m trying to be in everyone’s ears. Every age, everything. I’m starting to experiment in new genres so I can take over.
AllHipHop: Have you been to the States? How was it?
Willy Cardiac: I was in LA in February, it was dope. It was during Grammy weekend so I met a lot of people. A lot of events. It’s a great atmosphere. I have to move out there someday. Next year, hopefully. [chuckles]
AllHipHop: Was there a culture shock at all?
Willy Cardiac: Things are different. The women are different, the music’s different. The parties, the environment’s different. Everything’s different. I don’t know if you’ve seen music videos from South Africa, but music’s way different from anything else around the world so it was a shock. But I follow a lot of American artists and look at their music, so I was seeing a lot of stuff that I saw.
AllHipHop: What kind of American music do you like?
Willy Cardiac: Hip-hop is my favorite. I like indie music too, indie pop and indie rock. That’s dope. I really listen to everything. Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean, Childish Gambino. I’m really inspired by XXXTentacion, him and Playboi Carti are my 2 main inspirations to my music.
AllHipHop: Because you make mosh music right?
Willy Cardiac: Yeah, I do. When I heard XXX’ s##t, I thought “damn, I want to make s##t like that.”
AllHipHop: How does it feel to be honored in Spotify’s RADAR campaign?
Willy Cardiac: It’s a really big deal to me because it shows things are finally falling into place. Soon, I’m going to be where I want to be. Spotify helps artists go global and reach masses around the world, I’m happy to be a part of that. It’s crazy to me.
AllHipHop: How do you create a vibe in the studio?
Willy Cardiac: I download a beat from my email, then I only listen to it once. When I listen to it, I get on and record. Mumbling over the beat, I get a flow for it. Once I’m done mumbling, I listen to the mumble and fill in the words to make a song. Sometimes if I’m high, I record the song bar for bar. Every bar, you record something different. Stop, record, stop record, without writing.
AllHipHop: How is hip-hop growing in Africa?
Willy Cardiac: Hip-Hop in Africa is not growing that fast because there are a lot of genres here that other artists focus on: Kwaito, Afropop, etc. Hip-hop’s not really as massive as it is overseas.
AllHipHop: Do you hope to bring more Hip-hop to the table?
Willy Cardiac: Yeah, that’s the plan. I’m trying to be that guy, make s##t the way it’s supposed to be.
AllHipHop: Talk about your fashion style and drip.
Willy Cardiac: I get a lot of inspiration from Ian Connor, he’s a stylist from Atlanta. Luka Sabbat, the whole streetwear vibe. I like a lot of street wear, that’s where I get a lot of inspiration from. I like Fendi, I like VLONE.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your EP Filthy Religion?
Willy Cardiac: You can expect a whole lot of mosh pit, a whole lot of love songs. Heartbreak songs. Everything’s going to be there. It’s going to be something not a whole lot of people are expecting because I’m tapping into a lot of stuff. It’s going to be really different.
AllHipHop: Any features?
Willy Cardiac: I’m trying to go with no features, but we’ll see.
AllHipHop: What are some goals for yourself?
Willy Cardiac: Right now, my short-term goals are to move to LA eventually. Get signed, get an American deal with an American record label. Get a house. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Are your parents cool with you moving to the States?
Willy Cardiac: They’re cool with it, they think it’s fine. My mom doesn’t want me to. I’m a mama’s boy, so she isn’t too happy about me leaving the house at such a young age.
AllHipHop: Are you able to be a kid too?
Willy Cardiac: Yeah sometimes, when I’m with my friends. I’m a kid, but sometimes I have to be an adult when it comes to business.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Willy Cardiac: I want to tell all the kids: do what you want to do. Don’t listen to anybody. Stay true to yourself and be who you want to be. Be the best you.