Hip-hop legend among members of Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame sixth class

William “Billy Bill” Waring was a pioneer in the field; his music still heard in movies, TV shows

ALBANY — William Waring was in the right place at the right time; the Harlem native was at the epicenter of hip-hop in the 1980s.

Known as Billy Bill in his work, the musician will join the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame March 25 at Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs. For tickets, visit atuph.org.

“I started B-Boying when I was 15 years old, late in 1971 before I turned 16. And that was before hip-hop had a name,” Waring said.

Waring was a break-dancer with longtime friends Danny Harris and Kurtis Walker, who would go on to be known as Kurtis Blow. The teenagers would go to the infamous DJ Kool Herc parties, where it’s said that hip-hop was invented.

“That was the place to be,” Waring said. “It inspired me because [Herc] played break beats and would extend them. He had some obscure records, and everybody was there because it was a feeling—a community.”

Growing up Waring listened to Curtis Mayfield, The Impressions, The Temptations and “all the Motown.” He moved to the Capital Region 25 years ago “to avoid trouble” and “get away from that environment.”

“And not only would I listen to the harmonies, the melodies and the rhapsody, but I would listen to the lyrical content and be fascinated by it. So, I became compelled to write it,” he said.

He would go on to pen such classic songs as “Hard Times,” “Basketball,” “You Gotta Believe” and “Games People Play.” He co-wrote much of the Fat Boys’ first album and his music has been featured in films and television shows such as “Krush Groove,” “Empire,” “Black Monday,” “Hip Hop Uncovered” and more.

“I’d tell people don’t ever give up. If you have a dream and you think you could do it, you probably can just to stick to it. Don’t let nobody tell you can’t do it and never give up,” he said.

Waring continues writing songs and collaborating with his friends today. “I still write. I haven’t had nothing out, but it’s in the makings. It’s in the makings,” he said.

The ceremony is open to the public and includes musical performances, a social hour, videos on the musical career of each inductee and acceptance speeches. Tickets are on sale now through the Box Office at Proctors in-person, via phone at (518) 346-6204 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday or online by visiting atuph.org.

Universal Preservation Hall and Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame are a part of Proctors Collaborative. For more information on the Hall of Fame visit theeddiesawards.com.