^Here’s the album stream on Billy Wood’s Bandcamp^
Who is Billy Woods?
I discovered this album, and Billy Woods through a video discussion/review between Anthony Fantano (of The Needle Drop) and Myke C-Town (of Dead End Hip Hop). I’ve been watching these guys talk and review music for a couple years now, and I can trust them in their opinions on hip hop (for the most part… still don’t agree with Anthony’s low score on Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, but neither does the vast majority that’ve watched that video lol). Anywho, Billy Woods is an alt-hip-hop rapper from New York who usually deals with dark and shadowy topics in his lyrical content, he’s released six albums under the Billy Woods title and is the founder of his own record label “Backwoodz Studioz”. Just like his 2013 album “Dour Candy”, “Known Unknowns” was produced almost entirely by Blockhead, who you might know from Aesop Rock’s albums in which he also produces.
This is the first album that i’ve listened to from Billy Woods, and after discovering this album through Anthony & Myke, I’m interested to check out the rest of his discography to see what this guy is all about. At first listen, when “Bush League” first comes on, you instantly get that iconic Blockhead flavour that you hear so prominently in Aesop Rock’s albums, this album gives off similar vibes to Aesop’s recent, brilliant project “The Impossible Kid” did, minus the usual extreme complicated word-play found on Aesop’s work. Billy Woods on the other hand seems to deliver his words to you in the form of dark, tempered and painful imagery, but these words are hard to interpret unless you really know the artist personally. I don’t want to get too into what the songs are about, because honestly it’s going to take a while to digest what’s going on in this album, but I know that I really am enjoying this dark hip hop record, and songs like “Snake Oil”, and “Police Came to My Show” are already stuck in my head. What i’ve got upon first impressions from Billy, is that he almost is talking from the victim of a schoolyard bully, boldly rapping about his various negative moods and perspectives on the shit he’s been through. Basically if you want a darker, more moody and somewhat cryptic rap album thats a bit harder to digest, but very similar sounding to an Aesop Rock project, then I suggest checking out Known Unknowns.