Rapper Will.o.be. sips spring water from a bowl.
“I want to keep my voice healthy and strong…for this interview and for the trial. I want to tell my story and I don’t want to sound the least bit hesitant,” he states.
…With this new charge, they’ve drilled deeper. They’re saying that I have no respect for other forms of life and that is despicable.
Even so, he has limited this interview to ten minutes, so that he can continue to get into shape for his trial on Monday.
His legal representative, Sebastian Shepherd, lies a few feet away from him. Shepherd is a partner in the prestigious Park law firm of Terrier, Terrier, Wolfhound and Shepherd. He can see all and hear all but he promises he won’t intervene.
“The truth needs no clarification,” he says bluntly.
The rapper flicks his whiskers, anticipating a barrage of questions, only a few of which he’s prepared to answer. Nevertheless, he displays a lovely demeanour; he is not nearly as aggressive offstage as he is when he is performing.
“Without giving away too much,” he offers, “a lot of that is an act. But do I feel rage? Yes, I do. And I believe that we all should.”
These days, his rage is focused mainly on the three charges he plans to fight before a judge on Monday: two charges of assault on an Oak Tree and one charge of mischief.
“This whole thing is outrageous,” he states firmly. “I unequivocally deny that I ever did such a thing [sharpening his claws on an Oak Tree] — not on the night in question or ever in my life.”
There are witnesses, those who were in attendance at the Beats of Burden Music Festival, who say they saw him do just that. But there are no photographs.
“The evidence, as such, amounts to hearsay,” the rapper says. “And not only hearsay, but worse. It’s a scheme to defame me and my music, to say that I have no respect for The Park, to punish me for my success because not all of it came from The Park.”
This is not the first time Will.o.be. has made that charge. And this is what is true: much of his success has come from his time performing outside The Park.
“They say I objectify Animals, that I allow myself to be laughed at by Humans and others…that it’s not my music but my so-called antics that have made me successful. Well, I dispute that. I don’t play for Humans. I don’t expect them to understand. If they buy tickets to my concerts, I can’t help that, but I have used that money to help Park Animals. Before, they could only criticize me for the Human element at my concerts. But, with this new charge, they’ve drilled deeper. They’re saying that I have no respect for other forms of life and that is despicable. And they’ve kept me away from my beloved Park Trees for almost three months.”
As the interview draws to a close, Will.o.be. offers to show me his claws, the ones that he is accused of sharpening on a Tree that is a cousin to The Park’s much-revered Ancient Oak. I question the gesture: no matter how they look, they can provide no evidence of anything, so many months after the charges were laid.
But, as it turns out, I may be wrong. The rapper who is so in-your-face about Animals living a “natural” life appears to have his claws professionally clipped on a regular basis.
“And that’s just a preview of my evidence,” he says, purring.
Rapper Will.o.be. will stand trial on Monday. Watch this space for up-to-the-minute reports.