The Legendary Billy Woods

Billy Woods, The Underground Legend

     Billy Woods is a profound storyteller, poet, and educator, and his means to convey information is through hip-hop and rap. Woods applies intricate and conscious lyrics to distinctive and progressive production to give knowledge about the world and the life he has lived. Billy Woods is a workhorse who is constantly trying to get better at his craft by staying educated, surrounding himself with people who make him work harder, and living in the now.

     Billy Woods was born in Washington, D.C. but moved to Zimbabwe at the early age of five where he lived with his Jamaican mother and Zimbabwean father. Both his parents hold a PhD degree, where his mother worked as an English professor while his father was a Marxist writer who was an active participant in the Zimbabwean government and the Zimbabwe War of Liberation. Billy Woods’s convoluted word play and criticisms that are extended beyond colonialism within his music is a byproduct of his parents’ life that he saw growing up. After many years of living in Zimbabwe, he moved back to the states after his father passed away when he was around the age of twelve. After working various jobs, obtaining a bachelor’s degree, facing social adversity, acquiring more knowledge, listening to Public Enemy’s “It Takes a Nation to Hold Us Back,” and seeing the success of independent releases by MF Doom and Cannibal Ox, he decided to hone his interest of being a musician and start his own label. 

     Billy Woods is a fanatic of literature and language which is what hip-hop and rap is about, so it’s natural that he would take interest in this music genre. This interest paired with his culture and growing knowledge, produced a very impactful lyricist that has gained the title “legend” within the underground music world. Billy Woods is also partnered with Elucid in the group Armand Hammer, and is now collaborating with names as big as The Alchemist, Earl Sweatshirt, and Danny Brown. Billy Woods’s music is deep, it may take you a long time to understand what he is saying in a song because his words and overall art is always conveying something specific. He himself and listeners of his music state that sometimes it feels like the reason he isn’t in conversations about music more is because of the disconnect between listeners understanding his craft. However, at the end of the day, he makes “start to finish” music, not music you can just play on shuffle, but if you get into a space where you can absorb his words, his music, and his art, you’ll be able to really appreciate his work.

     Billy Woods is a perfect example of persistence and patience. He has worked very hard throughout his life and always used the tools he was given to push boundaries in getting to a place where he personally can say the work has paid off due to the growth within his art and label. Through providing insight and knowledge about his life and the world, he has made people more educated and allowed them to see that with time results will come.

Billy Woods Playlist: Here

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