Gov. Reynolds shares Des Moines rapper's newest song, urging Iowans to take COVID-19 seriously
Hip-hop artist Slim Thug announced yesterday he tested positive for coronavirus. He also says it's ironic because he frequently posts on social media about how important it is to take the virus seriously. (March 25) AP Entertainment
With the number of deaths due to coronavirus continuing to rise in the Hawkeye State, Des Moines-based rapper/singer William Holmes, known as Will Keeps, answered the call from Gov. Kim Reynolds to help raise awareness.
Keeps released the song "Take This Serious" to bring awareness to the importance of social distancing and quarantining during the pandemic.
"There's a lot of people that are taking this seriously, but there are people out there that are not, and those people that are not can cause the spread even more," he said.
While browsing the internet, Keeps noticed people hosting house parties and thought to himself, "what are we doing?"
Gov. Kim Reynolds shared the song featuring rapper DeAn "DK" Kelly on her official Facebook page, where it has garnered more than 45,000 views.
It took Keeps an hour to write the song and a day in a half to record the track.
Keeps and Reynolds met years ago at the Capital, when the father of three was working on a video for his song called "Droppin," related to civilians being killed in Des Moines.
The two briefly chatted about his past: moving from Chicago to Des Moines 21 years ago to escape sexual abuse and a gang affiliation.
Keeps then asked the governor to be in his "Droppin" video, and she replied to her team: "Anything that I got to do that day, cancel it because I'd be shooting the video."
Along with Reynolds, Police Chief Dana Wingert also made an appearance in the "Droppin" video.
Keeps has dedicated his life to motivational speaking, mentorship, activism and music.
He got his start in music singing in his church choir between the ages of 7 or 8.
While he dealt with the streets of Chicago, Keeps became a part of the group Laid BaQ, once signed to R&B songstress Mary J. Blige's label, Mary Jane Entertainment, in 1998.
Keeps decided to dedicate his music to speaking out against gun violence when, in 2015, his son's friend, Terry Harris, was fatally shot in his Des Moines residence at the age of 16.
"I went upstairs to my studio and did a song called 'Wake Up, Iowa.' "
"That was the whole change of my music and what God was calling me to do. I had no idea that I was going to be a voice because I never had a voice growing up," he said. "So now, I have a voice. I'm gonna use it to the fullest."
While the Chicago native, who has a pre-existing condition, hasn't lost anyone due to COVID-19, he said it's still on the public to do the right thing, which means social-distancing, washing your hands and sanitizing.
He also noted that he feels sad and hurt that black and brown people are disproportionately testing positive for COVID-19.
He hopes that people take his song's message to heart after listening to "Take This Serious."
"This is on all of us, and I want us as people to take it more serious. This is affecting the world," Keeps concluded.
Sierra Porter covers entertainment for the Des Moines Register. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @SierraAPorter95.Your subscription makes work like this possible. Subscribe today at DesMoinesRegister.com/Deal.