Am I William Woods? Well...who's asking?
April 16, 2012 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Billy Woods is quietly making the best rap music around.

Hailing from Zimbabwe/Jamaica/Brooklyn/Washington DC, Billy Woods has a unique style and outlook that is truly international. Working within his Backwoodz Studios camp, Woods has released several albums over the last 10 or so years, both as a solo artist and a group member. Known for such diverse qualities as witty references to professional and collegiate sports, his strong critique of the current state of hip hop and pop culture, Woods truly has something to offer anyone who feels like listening (even the occasional love song!).

Most Woods listeners first heard him as part of the slept-on but incredible group Super Chron Flight Bros, where he joined former partner Priviledge for a round of great releases. During their run, Super Chron contributed to great music, interviews, and analysis (overwrought analysis warning!).

Following the demise of Super Chron, Woods struck out on his own. Working regularly with Vordul Mega of Cannibal Ox fame, Woods began to establish himself as a unique voice in rap. Woods and Vordul released several collaborative projects, and along the way Woods built up an impressive catalog of songs.

In 2011, Billy and his Backwoodz brothers dropped a best-of for Woods titled Cowardly Threats and Hideous Cruelty. This project marked the start of Woods career as a truly solo artist, and served as a promotional tool for his 2012 release. The best-of mix showcases Woods doing what he does best: rapping about Africa, DC/Baltimore, international politics, and marijuana.

Last week, Backwoodz released Woods' new album, History Will Absolve Me. Featuring a photograph of controversial Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe framed by Castro's infamous quote, anyone checking the album out knows they're in for something different before the first track even starts.

Highlights from History Will Absolve Me:

Duck Hunt (attacking current rap trends)
Headband (great track, awesome video carrying on Woods' tradition of not showing his face)
The Wake (a powerful and gorgeous song. If you only listen to one song from Woods, make it this one.)
posted by broadway bill (20 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
"Quietly" making "rap music"? That's like "noisily" making "new age" music, no? :)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:54 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Um...this reads like a press release.
posted by Vhanudux at 4:57 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Billy Woods is making rap music.

posted by stifford at 5:00 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

This "music" sounds pretty awful.
posted by dfriedman at 5:01 PM on April 16, 2012

FYI, the video for the first link is full of footage of sports injuries and vehicle crashes, in case you don't want to watch that sort of thing.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:10 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks, hydrophonic. I meant to note that but it got past me. There's no gore or anything, but it could be stuff that some people would not wanna watch.
posted by broadway bill at 5:13 PM on April 16, 2012

I hadn't heard of this guy. Well above average for sure, but Busdriver is still working, so no.

My favorite rapper sucks
posted by cmoj at 5:39 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Some of the beats he raps over are great but I'm not feeling this dude's voice or his lyrics.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 5:43 PM on April 16, 2012

You're right that, stylistically, no one is close to Busdriver. But personally, I can't listen to Bus for more than 3-4 songs; it's too much. Lyrically, though, I don't think anyone is near Billy Woods.
posted by broadway bill at 5:45 PM on April 16, 2012

This "music" sounds pretty awful.

posted by hermitosis at 5:57 PM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

My personal favorite lyricist at the moment is Lupe Fiasco. I won't begrudge anyone their opinion. But here's mine: This is aight. Calling it the "best rap music around" is a bit hyperbolic.
posted by gnutron at 6:01 PM on April 16, 2012

So this is basically Jandek for rap?
posted by Nelson at 6:34 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I happened across Duck Hunt earlier today. This guy is nothing special. His sound and delivery are similar to Monch and C-Rayz, but he isn't as good as either one. Nothing in his lyrics, or at least the 4 videos I watched, including Duck Hunt, stand out. He's just kind of there.
posted by cashman at 6:39 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cashman: I couldn't disagree more. I like both Monch and C-Rayz quite a bit, but I think Billy Woods is head and shoulders above both (Walz especially doesn't have nearly the kind of lyrical content Woods does). Monch is clearly a true legend and pretty amazing rapper, but he hasn't done anything worthwhile in about 12 years (basically since Mayor, which I think was on Soundbombing 2 in like 98-99), and even at his best, in OK, he rarely had the sort of lyrical power and depth that Woods seems to have pretty consistently.

Obviously, it's not for everyone, but there's absolutely nothing average about it to my ears. I mean, how often do we get to hear dudes rapping about growing up in Zimbabwe on one track, with the next two tracks being about selling drugs in DC and the implications of drone warfare?
posted by broadway bill at 6:50 PM on April 16, 2012

As they say, there is no accounting for taste. I'm glad you like him. Each person has their own unique ability to relay stories and information that they've experienced that makes them different from everyone else. I'd take about 20 of the 'unknown' people in a rap pickup game before this dude. F.T., Frankenstein, Siah, K-Rino, Chaundon, etc.

But again, no accounting for taste. It's all love.
posted by cashman at 7:09 PM on April 16, 2012

Count another Busdriver or Bust fan here. Not a fan of this - barely made a dent.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:59 PM on April 16, 2012

I'll just leave this right here:

Kool Moe Dee - I Go To Work

Let me know when this Billy Woods guy does something that good.
posted by prepmonkey at 7:07 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Kool Moe Dee - I Go To Work

God, that's fun to listen to.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:18 AM on April 17, 2012

Busted out the Kool Moe Dee!

There was someone else that came to mind yesterday - Tame One.
posted by cashman at 7:19 AM on April 17, 2012

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