Actor and rapper Akil “King Tut” Williams has been making waves in the local entertainment industry. This year alone, videos of his street performances like the Black Lee in KFC video has gone viral and as a rapper, he has been blowing up in local clubs. Plus, the St James resident lead role in the pilot episode of local sensation CHEE$E, still has viewers salivating for more.
In a recent interview with Newsday, the actor/rapper explained that there is more to him than his lyricism and acting skills.
Williams’ desire for acting and rapping started from young. Growing up on Long Circular Road in his teenage years, he and his friends would do several skits, some of which he reproduced this year with great success. They would also entertain themselves by freestyling on beats of their favourite rap songs.
His inspirations came from rappers like Big L, Tupac and Nas, but his greatest motivation came to him when, as a teenager, his mother found his book of rhymes.
“My mother read my lyrics and saw there was a lot of obscene language. She told me, ‘I don’t want you indulging in this 50 cent crap’. It lit a fire under me, and motivated me to find a way to express myself without cursing; and at the end of the day it even made me a better rapper. I try to express myself in a way that people would relate and hopefully that would influence people to do the same. That is how it was for me.”
Williams spent his free time posting short skits on Facebook while working with his mother at their publishing company,Trinidad Style. He also worked as a cameraman for a CNC3 TV show called Moving On and did other private jobs.
It was during one of those jobs in 2011 that he met his mentor and friend Damian Marcano, who was working on his first film, God Loves The Fighter. Williams told Marcano of his desire to act, and Marcano took him under his wing.
“I would have to write stories for him and bring it to him like assignments, and he would take me on shoots and show me the ropes.”
While working on the music video for Machel Montano’s Fog, the idea for CHEE$E was born. The pilot episode, posted to You Tube in June 2015, would go on to be the highlight of Williams’ still growing acting career.
“We were always trying projects up until we came up for the idea for CHEE$E. I was blessed to be present during the whole creation process. I told him if he needed anyone as an extra – you know, to hold a suitcase or something – I would be down to do it. He made me the lead actor. After CHEE$E people began walking up to me in the streets telling me how good the episode was, and asking me when there would be another one. I feel like people began taking me seriously as an actor after that.”
Williams described CHEE$E as a story about a young man named “Skimma” from the countryside who believed there was more to the village life he had always known. He was put in a situation which forced him to take on a new profession – the village marijuana dealer.
But Williams said the pilot, and what it represents, is not wholly about selling drugs, it is about getting out of a bad social and financial situation by using your wits and creativity.
Williams was lauded for his portrayal of the main protagonist, Skimma. The pilot is also has a great supporting cast, which includes Tishanna Williams who plays his pregnant girlfriend Rebecca, and Lou Lyons who acts as the village rastaman, Osiris. He believed that the characters were so well received because they weren’t just about doing the typical thing, in the regular way.
It is not known when another episode would be filmed, but Williams said he would be more than willing to do more episodes if the need arises.
What the future holds
Williams sees himself as a pioneer in the local entertainment industry and believed he would have a lasting effect in both genres.
“Some people would focus on rapping, others on acting. I think I am the only person locally that is doing both.”
Tracks like Let’s Get High, off his latest mix tape and Sage Mode are also gaining attention in the rap and entertainment circles. Williams hopes to inspire people with his lyricism and expose to the world yet another way TT is able to make its mark on the map.
“Trinidad is a goldmine and people have not realised it yet. People are so fascinated with the way we talk and act, they would also want to know the way we live. If we showcase our way of life, I think people on the outside will be intrigued by that.”
“We have to do our own thing and put it out there and let people be the judge... Because that is all we have”