Willie D Discusses Bushwick Bill's Substance Abuse Issues: "It Was A Problem"
Hip hop suffered a tremendous loss earlier this year when Geto Boys icon Bushwick Bill succumbed to cancer. His legacy spans a spectrum from hip hop royalty to headlining controversy, but Bill, real name Richard Stephen Shaw, will always be remembered for his artistry and contributions to rap history.
Shaw's fellow Geto Boys groupmate Willie D recently sat down with VladTV to discuss his late friend. Before hitting it big with the Geto Boys, Shaw was a busboy at a nightclub, and when questioned about what changed in Shaw once he received a taste of fame, Willie D couldn't name one specific attribute. According to him, the money simply magnified Shaw's character.
"I think, you know, that's who Bill was," he said. "As long as I've known Bill, he's always had insecurity, major insecurity, with his size. And I ain't gon' front. I probably would, too. I ain't gon' lie. I have an insecurity with that, too. I have a problem with that, but I'm the type of person that I can make adjustments. I know how to accept things for what they are. If I can't change something, I don't allow it to torment me, and I don't allow it to make me make irrational decisions that can harm me or the people that I say I love."
"That's the way I'm built," Willie D. continued. "But Bill never could get over that. It wasn't just in the music. It was in everyday life. He would constantly remind people about his size. One of his favorite sayings was, 'I'm too short to take shorts.' He would always remind you of stuff like that. He wore that chip on his shoulder and it weighed heavily on his entire life—at least the time that I knew him, and I knew him for 31 years."
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DJ Vlad also touched on Shaw's struggles with addiction. Back in 1991, Shaw shot himself in the eye after reportedly becoming intoxicated on Everclear and PCP. A photo of Shaw being ushered through a hospital on a gurney immediately following the incident was used as the cover of the Geto Boys' album We Can't Be Stopped. "It was a problem throughout his life," Willie D said of Shaw's substance abuse. "I wasn't around him every single day or even every month, but whenever I was around him over that time, no matter how long the gaps were, it was a problem. It was always a problem. Sometimes he would be okay. You'd be like, 'Bill's good. He cool. Everything real cool.' Then he mess around and get a little sip of something or whatever he would do. Go in that room, come out, bam. Something totally different, bro. Like somebody totally different. So, that was the thing: you never knew what Bill you was gonna get."
As candid as he was, Willie wasn't going to speculate on what specific drugs Shaw may have had problems with or if the late rapper ever sought rehabilitation help in his lifetime. Check out a clip of the interview below.