HomeInterviewsNJ Next: Will Cruz

NJ Next: Will Cruz


Photo Courtesy of Will Cruz

Will Cruz is “Rooted” both in the title of his new album and in being a mainstay in the Jersey Shore Hip-Hop scene with a lineage that goes back at least a generation to his father and uncle at Club Abyss.

“Rooted” places Will squarely in the current crop of Jersey Shore MC’s that combine content with style and an ear for quality production with something to say. The project has the rare mix of personality, skills and song writing that almost ensures it shows up on best-of-the-year lists.

NJ Next’s Angelo Gingerelli recently got a chance to talk to Will Cruz about his musical history, being a family man and what he has planned for the future.

When do you become a fan of Hip-Hop and when do you decide to become an artist?

I’ve been a fan of hip hop ever since I could remember. My father was a big night life MC at Club Abyss back in the day and my uncle was and still is a big DJ in the Tristate Area so it was always around

What part of Jersey are you from and what’s the Hip-Hop scene like there?

I’m from Long Branch / Eatontown originally. The scene has always been raw and dope and most of my talented friends are from the area too. I currently live in Toms River though and the scene is terrible out here. A lot of wannabes with no context in their music.

“Rooted” is a great title and the cover art fits perfectly. What does that title mean to you and how did you decide on the cover?

“Rooted” is a project about my roots and traditions and ways I’ll never change . Both lyrically and sonically. Most of the features on the album are people I’ve been doing music with for 10+ years. As far as the artwork, I had a vision on some sort of roots growing into something representing me and my good friend DJ Brandon Alex brought it to life. Simplicity was key.

There are several collaborators on the project, who did you work with and what did they bring to the table?

Party Michael – he was the first person to ever record me 10+ years ago and want to work with me. His church background makes him one of the most talented artist I know. He can go from keys to drums to singing insanely catchy hooks and is an amazing writer.

Cinsere – another day one I started with. He’s the reason I try so hard lyrically and has definitely helped mold the artist I am today because he is an INSANE writer.

Rossi – my click and his click actually used to beef back in the day…lol..but we became best friends after that. Not only is he the best freestyler I know, he’s one of the best writers I know and my musical soulmate. It was only right to have him on the project.

Katryna Elise & Asia – two artists I immediately fell in love with musically. We just never got the chance to actually work until this project and I’m sooooo glad we finally did. Both are truly invested in their craft and voice and writing and delivery and work ethic. I called and they came with no hesitation.

How has being a father effected your creative process and artistry?

I honestly stopped doing music all together when I had my first. Balance was hard, I was in a bad place mentally and couldn’t seem to even be interested in making music. But I then realized that creating was what I was missing. So I made it a point with a huge help from my brother Rossi and Bugs Beatz, to really find balance in life and make creating good music a part of that life.

What’s next for Will Cruz?

“Rooted” has me feeling the most creative I’ve felt in the 15+ years I’ve been making music, so I’m just going to dive back into an EP or another album . Also I have a side project called “Adv3ntures” with Rossi, so a bunch of new content for that will be dropping soon. 2020 is all about consistency and quality for me and my team.

Photo Courtesy of Will Cruz

Rapid Response Questions:

Top 5 MC’s Dead or Alive:
Mac Miller
Jay z

Top 4 Producers you would like to work with if money was no object:

Pretty much any producer drake has worked with

Top 3 acts from Jersey (besides yourself) that people should check out:

Trife Majors

Top 2 places to perform in Jersey:

Stone Pony
The Saint

Top 1 Reason everybody should check out Will Cruz:

Simple, if they want music that’s going to make them FEEL. Check me out…

Angelo Gingerelli
Angelo Gingerellihttp://fifthroundmovement.com/
Angelo Gingerelli has been contributing to The Pop Break since 2015 and writing about pop culture since 2009. A Jersey shore native, Gingerelli is a writer, stand-up comic, hip-hop head, sneaker enthusiast, comic book fan, husband, father and supporter of the local arts scene. He likes debating the best rappers of all time, hates discussing why things were better in the “Good Ol’ Days” and loves beating The Pop Break staff at fantasy football. You can catch up with Angelo on Twitter/IG at https://twitter.com/Mr5thround, at his website www.FifthRoundMovement.com or interviewing rising stars in NJ’s Hip-Hop scene on “The A&R Podcast” (iTunes/SoundCloud).

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