Following his exit from HBO's Boardwalk Empire, actor Michael K. Williams sat down to talk about playing Chalky White and his goals as a performer.

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With roles like Omar Little on HBO's The Wire and Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire, Williams told Hip Hop Nation that he knew at the beginning of his career what kind of roles he would be working with (featured below).

"That was my goal very early on…" explained the actor in terms of humanizing the "thugs" he's played. "One of my earlier coaches told me everybody has a vehicle…you ride that and then you build that body of work and then you branch out."

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For Williams, his transition from playing certain types of characters in music videos paved the way for him to play criminals and outsiders in breakout television roles.

"I took that and I ran with it and what I decided I was gonna do was I was gonna play these roles with dignity and empathy and compassion," declared the actor, "And to show society that you may not agree with these people's lifestyles but I will not allow you to generalize them, us rather, and I will not allow you to write us off. You know, you're gonna have some understanding as to how people got to where they are.

"No one wakes up in the morning and decides they want to be a thug," added Williams. "There's a series of things that happen in one's life that makes them feel they have one way out."

Williams has found much success through this path, playing compelling characters on HBO and moving into roles in some of the biggest films of 2014, including The Purge: Anarchy and Kill The Messenger.

"I feel grateful," said Williams. "I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to be a voice and a face for people that our society might want to just disregard and disconnect from."

Boardwalk Empire continues on HBO with its fifth and final season Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.