Kent was born in Inverness, Sunflower County, Mississippi. Although he had played the bass guitar in Chicago's clubs since the 1950s, Kent worked full-time in careers other than music until he was over 50 years of age. Following heart surgery, he stopped work as a truck driver, and formed a band.
- 1975 – Ghetto (Storyville Records)
- 1989 – I'm What You Need (Big Boy Records)
- 1991 – Ain't It Nice (Delmark Records)
- 1991 – King of Chicago's West Side Blues (Wolf Records)
- 1993 – Live at B.L.U.E.S. in Chicago (Wolf Records)
- 1994 – Too Hurt to Cry (Delmark Records)
- 1996 – Long Way to Ol' Miss (Delmark Records)
- 1998 – Everybody Needs Somebody (Wolf Records)
- 1998 – Make Room for the Blues (Delmark Records)
- 1998 – Who's Been Talking with Lil' Ed Williams (Earwig Music Company)
- 2001 – Comin' Alive! (Blue Chicago Records)
- 2004 – Blues and Trouble (Isabel Records)
Awards and honors
- W.C. Handy Awards: Best Blues Instrumentalist, Bass 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005
- Critics' Choice: Most Outstanding Blues Musician, Bass from Living Blues magazine (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001)
- Readers' Choice: Album of the Year 2001 from Soul Bag magazine, France, for Comin' Alive
- Critics' Choice: Album of the Year 2001 from Soul Bag magazine, France, for Comin' Alive
- France Blues Award: Best Blues Musician, Bass for the years 2002, 2003
- Chicago's Album of the Year 1998: for Make Room for the Blues
- Library of Congress' Best Blues Recording of the Year 1991: for Ain't It Nice
- "RootsWeb: Database Index". Ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- "Willie Kent obituary". The Times. April 5, 2006. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 130. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- Jason Ankeny. "Willie Kent | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2006 January To June". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 2015-07-27.