“His music is powerful. Each bar drips with the confusion and existential dread of a man who feels out of place in his world.” – Noisey
Hip-Hop has seen its fair share of rappers who make the claim that they are different from their peers. They wear the label proudly and don’t hesitate to explain how diverse they are from everyone else. The problem is most of that diversity doesn’t end up being distinct at all. Everyone looks, sounds, and even acts in the same way. Anthony Willis, also known as My Favorite Color, believes he doesn’t need to explain how different he is; his diversity speaks for itself.
My Favorite Color was born in Van Nuys, California, and living in Los Angeles was pretty neat according to him. “Growing up in LA I met a lot of cool people and had open-minded friends,” he says of his brief time on the west coast. His diversity was planted on the grounds of LA, where the culture shaped who he was early on in his life. However, just as he was finding his groove as a kid in LA, he relocated with his mother to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a move that was tough for him he admits.
Pittsburgh is a place vastly different from the sunny locale of Los Angeles, and it only added to My Favorite Color’s growing diversity. “The change to Pittsburgh was super heavy on me because that was around the time I was about to be an adolescent,” he says. It was hard dealing with the sudden move, but just like growing up in LA, My Favorite Color took everything in and stayed true to himself while developing some of the closest friendships he’s ever had in his life.
At home, My Favorite Color continued discovering who he was while dealing with his new life in Pittsburgh. It was there that he began discovering music thanks to the tunes his mother played around the house. “I had a single black mom experience, and it was a lot of single black mom music being played,” he reveals. “It was a ton of Erykah Badu and Sade, and I would hear this and ask her questions about it. She would explain to me the power of women and the power of being black.”
From then on, My Favorite Color began examining his tastes in music even further. His mother bought him a copy of N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, which led to him exploring the works of 2Pac, Jay-Z, Big L, Too $hort, Lil Wayne, Kanye West and more in his early years. He started rapping on his own after hearing Tha Carter III, and he began developing his style based on all the music he was hearing. As he got older he found himself listening to more conscious tones of hip hop and fell in love with artists like Isaiah Rashad, Earl Sweatshirt, MIKE, Black Hippy, J.Cole, Saba, MF DOOM and more. Nowadays, these artists play a huge influence on how My Favorite Color has continued to develope as an artist.
When you listen to his music and voice, you can hear a unique blend of knowledge, awareness, and humor from a young man who makes it his mission to be himself regardless of what people think. “My style is a little bit of everything and it’s really everywhere,” he says. “I feel like I’m not in a box at all because there are so many different versions of me.”
As he got older, he took rapping more seriously and began recording music. In 2017, My Favorite Color dropped out of college to focus on a career in music, and in 2018 his debut project Go! was released. On the project, My Favorite Color allowed his diversity to shine, with each track different from the last. Elements of Hip-Hop, Alternative Rock, R&B, and more were sprinkled throughout, providing just a taste of what’s to come from the young rapper.
His career began taking off shortly after the release of Go!, as it circulated throughout Pittsburgh. Before he knew it, My Favorite Color was performing in venues all over the city as his fanbase grew tremendously. Rostrum Records, a Pittsburgh staple, took notice of the young rapper and signed him after his manager got his music in front of the label. “It was really huge to have my manager introduce my music to them because of their history in Pittsburgh,” My Favorite Color says about meeting and signing with Rostrum. “They instantly fell in love with it, and I instantly fell in love with them cause they treat me like family.”
These days, My Favorite Color is gearing up to release his new album Velma. After making his introduction on Go!, My Favorite Color is ready to enter a new stage in his career. “Velma is a huge metaphor for manifestation. It was me manifesting what life would be like if I ever did get a look from someone like Rostrum and getting an industry look in general,” My Favorite Color explains. “It’s a battle between me and the industry and seeing where that is going to take me. There’s a lot of depression, realization, and relatable situations going on throughout the album.”
Through 11 tracks, stories of depression, doubt, concerns, excitement, happiness, and more will bring listeners into My Favorite Color’s eclectic mind. Tracks like “The End,” “Hooray!,” and “Funeral” showcase the range that My Favorite Color can take with his music, thanks to how diverse he is.
If you ask him, My Favorite Color won’t say anything about how different he is from everyone else. He lets his music, style, and energy say it for him. “What makes me so different is that being different isn’t my goal,” he says. “Being me is my goal. All my life I’ve been considered not exactly the same as everyone. It wasn’t a goal to be different. It was a goal to be myself.”
“I’ve never wanted to be the biggest star, but I honestly just want to leave a legacy of realness,” he continues. “I think I’m legitimately everything and everyone. I try to gain knowledge in every aspect. I always say understanding is the first step of success. I think understanding a little bit about everything is understanding everything. People just need to listen to understand me.”
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