An Interview with Chevy Woods [Ticket Giveaway]
For close to a decade, Pittsburgh’s come-up in hip hop has further solidified our city’s presence in music; more specifically, the homegrown come-ups of the artists, managers and producers who represent Taylor Gang. Their local implants are largely responsible for putting Pittsburgh on the map.
Kevin “Chevy” Woods, one of Taylor Gang’s originals, was born and raised here in Pittsburgh. Recently, we chatted with Woods about his come-up with Taylor Gang, who assured us that it’s been “business and fun from day one,” a crucial factor in allowing the group to maintain such a strong bond:
“Between group texts, inside jokes, and constantly staying connected while were on the road, we just have fun with each other. If we have an issue, we talk about it; there’s no bad attitudes.”
Chevy got his start with Taylor Gang in its early stages; and after years of writing and recording in his home studio, he began putting in work at ID Labs–one of the ‘Burgh’s renowned recording facilities. It was then that he met Wiz Khalifa, who was also recording music at the time. The two rappers found that their future goals, persistent drive and love of music paralleled one another, which led to a quickly-formed friendship. Chevy later joined Wiz on tour, and their careers began to take flight.
Those who’ve slept on his work in the past can easily develop a newfound appreciation for his craft, of which he’s dedicated much time to perfecting. Those who’ve been riding out to his music from the beginning know that “Kev Tha Hustla” has consistently improved and come into his own, albeit staying true to form with “essential vibe-out music.”
His past saw the release of notable mixtapes and a joint project with Wiz, a handful of pivotal music moments even I can recall quite fondly. To this day, when I put on “Red Cup Music,” or “The Cookout,” flashbacks of playing flip-cup with friends in hazy college apartments fill my mind.
Aside from the fact that his beats complimented our party atmosphere and degenerate college-kid behaviors a little too perfectly, Chevy’s shared hometown references and stories of carefree adventures with friends made him, to some extent, a pretty relatable guy.
And after our conversation, it made sense why he connects so well with fans and listeners. The audience connection is one aspect of music writing he heavily considers when selecting beats and matching lyrics to production:
“When I push “Play,” how does it connect with my audience? Are they feeling it? …Are they dancing to it? It’s about having that inner connection with your listeners… Knowing what type of flow and sound they enjoy–or even expect–from you as an artist, and creating something they can vibe to.”
We even chatted–writer-to-writer–about what it’s like struggling with the dreaded Writer’s Block syndrome, and how we work to combat it. In Chevy’s opinion, Writer’s Block isn’t always a bad thing:
“[When I have Writer’s Block] I can’t try to plan my workflow ahead of time. I have to just go in the studio and create concepts off the top of my head. It starts with putting ideas down, and the structure of the lyrics and flow will eventually just branch off from that. It’s not a process. You just go with what you feel… a block can be a good thing in that aspect.”
Writer’s Block hasn’t stopped him yet. He’s steadily continued to release new works over the years, including his “Gangland” mixtape series, which launched yet another turning point in his career.
The “Gangland” series employed a solid body of content that told a story to fans and listeners, proving that the seemingly laid back hustler with flowy hooks and catchy punchlines had a much deeper story to tell. It was also progressive in serving up fresh material for Chevy’s listeners, providing them with introspection on his self-made journey.
Fast forward to August 2015, when Chevy dropped his latest work, “The 48 Hunnid Project,” a body of content that’s positioned him to the forefront of the collective’s 2015 standout artists. Complimented by immaculate production attributes and artist collabs, the album touches on personal struggles and aspects of his life to embody the essence of the 4800 block neighborhood he grew up in. Subject matter ranges from his hustling days, to the deaths of his loved ones, and grinding in the studio.
Chevy also shared that he’s got another compilation in the works: a mixtape he’s planning to drop at the cusp of the New Year. In addition to that, a Taylor Gang group album is in the works to be released sometime next year:
“Truthfully, the albums are essentially done; between [studio time] in Pittsburgh and L.A., we’ve recorded so much music. It’ll all come down to choosing tracks that are compilation-worthy and perfecting them–how is it gonna connect with the fans, and how does it represent us as artists?”
Chevy also mentioned that he’s heavily collaborating with Pittsburgh producer, Ricky P.–another artist who’s making waves with the Taylor Gang collective–for his upcoming mixtape:
“In regards to production, Ricky P. has my sound on lock. He plays me beats, and I’m ready to jump in the studio with them. We work well together… He’s put in so much work [for this mixtape] already.”
You can preview a track the Pittsburgh duo recently linked up on below:
While we anticipate his upcoming albums, catch Chevy at the Altar Bar on Black Friday, November 27, to perform his latest work for his hometown. He’s also promised us a handful of throwbacks–a staple in his setlists for Pittsburgh shows and longterm listeners.
DJ Motor Mane (also of Taylor Gang), the Statement Records crew, and several others will be joining him for opening support; doors open at 7PM.
You can grab tickets online, at the door, or try your luck at our giveaway to score two free ones for you and a friend below: