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From Paper Boi to Paper

Nathaniel Deshawn Williams, professionally known as "PAPER," is a rapper, singer, and songwriter from Alabama, raised in a small town named Aliceville--35 minutes outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Paper was an only child for a while and later grew up with younger step brothers. He grew up fast and quickly adopted music to get away from responsibilities.

PAPER released his debut single "Papertalk" in 2019 and followed with the album "Still Papertalk’N" in 2020. PAPER consistently releases viral music and garners support from his community despite being an indie artist. "Pandemic" and "Love Me" collectively reached 28K views via his YouTube channel PAPER TALK. You can discover his music on Spinrilla, Audiomack, iTunes, and other digital streaming platforms! Don't forget to tap in and catch a vibe with his precise Alabama flow on his latest "Paper On Paper" and "The Box Freestyle!"

How did you get the name Paper?

PAPER: As a youngsta I always hung around an older crowd. The O.G.s taught me how to hustle whether I was selling candy out my locker in the 5th grade, cutting hair by the age 15, or other unfortunate, illegal activities... They saw how motivated I was to stack my money so they called me “paperboi.” It had a ring to it so I ran wit it. As I got older I felt I outgrew the “boi” so I dropped it and stuck with PAPER.

How would you describe your upbringing?

PAPER: When I was born, my mom, pops, and I stayed in Franconia projects in the small, poor town, Aliceville, but I was too young to remember a lot of details. We moved to 5th street in a two-bedroom shack by Crenshaw projects. We stayed on one side and my granny stayed on the other side, so I was always back and forth. I watched my mom work two or three jobs, and my pops worked and ran the streets, so I spent a lot of time with my granny before she passed on Mother’s Day. We struggled so my mom and pops argued and fought a lot. I figured it was because we were poor, so I turned to the streets and saw how much money was being made there. I figured if we had more money, they wouldn’t fuss and fight so much. We were fortunate to able to move me to a bigger home outside of the city and that’s when I saw my first murder (but that’s another story). The fact that they tried to move me away from poverty and it still didn’t keep me away from what had such an influence on me, really highlighted that it was a little, too late. I can go on and on about my childhood, but I’ll just say it wasn’t all good, but it wasn’t all bad either. We made it by with what we had and we made it look good to the people on the outside looking in.

When did you start rapping?

PAPER: I started freestyling in the 4th grade while hanging with my older cousins and there homies. I started writing, not music, but writing my feelings on paper, because as a young angry kid, I didn’t feel like I had anyone to talk to about things going on around me. When I got to 6th grade--after a year of freestyling and documenting my feelings and experiences--I went through my journals and attempted to transform my pain into music. Afterall, I was good at freestyling, so why not? I spent my entire 6th grade rehearsing my music and finally finished my first full verse; probably one of the reasons I failed the 6th grade. Lol. I was more focused on how to write a song rather than doing my school work. Lol.

What was your worst experience in school?

PAPER: Well to be transparent, I failed 6th grade one year and got held back. But when I made it to 7th grade--the first year of high school where I come from--I got in some deep trouble. One day, me and some fellas decided to take weed to school so we could smoke a blunt in the locker room during gym class (bad idea. lol). But long story short, we got caught and sent to the principal’s office. He called the police and had them take us to jail. We called our parents to get us out. My mom was in the hospital with my pops in Tuscaloosa for his surgery. She had to leave his side and drive 35 minutes to get me from the jail. Smh. We almost got sent to juvenile from that incident, it was crazy! Lol.

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