Public Art in Buffalo -
Table of Contents
"The Freedom Wall" 7 murals
"Check Out My Melody" Argus Gallery
"Contemporary Portraits" Burchfield Penney Art Center
"Beacons: By Edreys Wajed" Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center
Buffalo Game Changers: Edreys Wajed
By Gwen Ito
Buffalo Spree, December 2012
Edreys Wajed, known to many as Billy Drease Williams, is one of Buffalo Spree's 2012 Game Changers
Photo by KC Kratt
Music lovers will know him by his stage name, Billy Drease Williams. In 1999, he won Best Hip Hop Artist at the Buffalo Music Awards. In 2008, he became the first hip hop artist to be featured in WBFO’s Live Concert Series. Music critic Jeff Miers has described him as “the most promising, adventurous, nigh-on-visionary hip hop artist Buffalo has yet produced.” Famous for his clean lyrics and positive themes, Williams signed with DeepThinka/DTR45 Records, a locally based independent label, and has enjoyed success on MySpace and YouTube.
He was born Edreys Wajed. He grew up on Buffalo’s East Side and credits his mother, a former banker, with instilling in him a set of strong moral values.
The thirty-eight-year-old musician, who earned a degree in graphic design from Buffalo State, has added a new position to his versatile resume: instructor of visual arts at Tapestry Charter High School. “Mr. W” dubs his classroom The Can Lab, and his teacher’s website makes it clear: “The art room is to be considered a laboratory in which to experiment and discover new things, where the word ‘can’t’ is not allowed.”
In addition to teaching impressionable adolescents, Wajed is the father of two boys, ages eight and ten. As his own sons near puberty, his passion for spreading uplifting messages only intensifies. He exposes his Tapestry students not only to art, but also to alternatives to today’s often cynical music.
“There’s a great deal of music being released regularly that is certainly detrimental to the community and negatively affecting our youth,” Wajed says. He is critical of contemporary artists who glorify drugs and violence ...
Yeah! Buffalo: #48 Edrys Wajed
January 12, 2017
Quotes below by Edrys Wajed
I’m a Buffalo native, born second behind an older sister, raised in a home where my father was an artist and jeweler as well as a craftsman who handmade many of the chairs and tables in our home and my mother cooked wholesome organic meals and hand sewed many of the clothes in our wardrobe. Creativity and the Do-It-Yourself attitude was inescapably embedded in me apparently.
Currently, my tool belt of skills is rather loaded, but what’s used most often are my jewelry crafting, art making, music artist consulting and graphic design. My company is simply, “By Edreys” at the suggestion of my good friend and brother, El.
Lastly, but not least, my battery is recharged when I look at my two sons and my wife. My family is all the inspiration that I need if nothing else moves me. They inspire me greatly.
My go-to-words of encouragement to myself are plentiful. I have books by Brian Tracy, Napoleon Hill, James Altucher, Malcolm Gladwell and Cheikh Anta Diop on the nightstand beside my bed that I open frequently for quotes and uplift, ...
What I enjoy most is food, dining out with my partner in life, Alexa. Teton, Taste of Siam, Jewel of India, Sakura, Wasabi, D’volio’s, Amy’s Place and San Marco make my taste buds happy. I’m also fascinated by the architecture throughout the city, whether vacant or occupied, it’s all stimulating to me.