Interview with Eugene Willis, Jr. (Blacknerdninja), May 5, 2016

Collection: Athens Music Project Oral History Collection

Dublin Core


Eugene Willis, Jr., aka Blacknerdninja, talks about working at an early age doing odd jobs, drawing comics, and spending a lot of time in the Spring Valley neighborhood of Athens where his grandmother lived. He talks about starting to write raps, deciding to pursue music, and releasing his first CD entitled Home Remedy in the tenth grade. He talks about his relationship to Lo' Down and Duddy, another rap duo in Athens, and the explosion of the hip-hop and rap music scene in Athens in the late 1990s. Willis talks about the evolution of the hip-hop scene from 1996 onward, including the battle rap scene, the influence of the Underground Sound label, and the Dreaded Mindz hip-hop group. Willis also discusses the internet's impact on audience participation, the relevance of live performances, and the oversaturation of the local market. He recalls the three-year period he took off from rapping and the subsequent birth of his new identity as Blacknerdninja in 2010, his breakout perfomance, performing together with Larry Gresham, Jr. aka LG, and his musical influences. Willis discusses the impact of the 2012 inauguration of the Hip-Hop Awards in Athens, Georgia on representation of local hip hop artists. He discusses the business side of hip-hop and the need to invest in supporting artists. He talks about his family and balancing family life and music.






Oral History Item Type Metadata



61 minutes


Eugene Willis, Jr. and Jasmine Mokah Johnson, “Interview with Eugene Willis, Jr. (Blacknerdninja), May 5, 2016,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed February 26, 2024,