Cover Photo Credit: Jhay C
“RAIN. is about the issues and conflicts you might face after you find out who you are,” said Chicago Rapper Jay Wood “The journey doesn’t stop, you just keep pushing. No storm lasts forever. At the same time, you are going to have those storms in your life. You are going to have conflicts. You are going to have bad times. You just gotta pull through.”
Jay Wood is an well established Chicago Rapper with two EP’s under his belt, “Self Doubt” and “RAIN.”
“They have been highlighted by Kevin Coval as an up and going collective of artists starting to make a wave in Chicago this year .” – Tommy Brannigan
“Jay is a part of the collective called, “Freesole” which is a group similar to those of Savemoney, Pivot, Hurt Everybody, Asap Mob, etc.,” said his Manager Tommy Brannigan.
“The project features artists such as Femdot, Christian JaLon, Oliv Blu (Freesole), Chulo (Freesole) as well as production from CEO Beats, Moses Mode (Freesole), and Namesake who has been highlighted along with “PinkCaravan!”.
Wood’s newest project, “RAIN.” was released on SoundCloud December 8th, 2017. His single off the album was released on his birthday, November 30th, 2017.
🎱#RAIN.🎱(link in bio) I’m really excited for yawl to hear this, I put hella hours of work in. I wanna thank everyone who played a part from the engineers down to my homies who sat in the car and heard me spit verses to them. This tape not just for me, it’s for us , this a family thing. With every song I’m learning to better tell my story so that someone else can learn from it. Conflict will grow you and make you stronger, you just gotta appreciate the little things along the way. With that being said I appreciate all the support I’ve been getting from yawl, Avi change, retweet, listens etc. It’s nothing but love on this side and I love yawl. More heat on the way. 🎱⛈🎱
“Streetlights” is one of the tracks highlighted off of “RAIN.” Wood was going through darker times in his life when he wrote it. The weather that day decided to match his mood as he sat jotting down the lyrics in the middle of a Missouri tornado warning.
“I was outside of Plaza,” said Wood “Everybody was running to their dorm and I was like ‘It’s not even raining, what?’ Then by time I was finishing up the lines the wind picked up.
I almost lost my notes and everything. I had to run to my dorm, and right before I got there it was hailing rallying big ice cubes. I damn near got cut.”
Thankfully Jay Wood did not lose his notes and was able to finish writing “Streetlights” along with the other tracks on “RAIN.” in enough time to release the first single on his birthday, November 30th.
For more promotion of his newest EP, Wood held two listening parties, one is Chicago and one in Columbia Missouri (pictured). The “RAIN.” listening party in Chicago had a great turn out of 50 people.
Halfway through, and at the end of the session Jay Wood would ask the crowd which song they like best off of the EP.
“There was no general consensus, which means there is something on there for everybody,” said Wood.
Who Is Jay Wood?
Jay Wood has a very nice technique in the way he samples and spits his verses. Every beat is originally made by him and his team. Still, like most great artists Wood gets inspired from the rapping styles of modern day legends.
“The reason why I rap [is] Chance, Kanye [West], Childish Gambino, Earl Sweatshirt, and then lately the most inspiring has been Saba. He been going crazy lately,” said Wood.
Jay Wood’s rapping style has been influenced by some of the greats in most recent times. Their talent and crisp quality flows within Wood to help him create his own sound.
“If I had to describe my style in a. mix of artists I would say a mix of Kanye, 50 cent, and J Cole. Yeah, J Cole and Kendrick were heavy influencers,” said Wood.
Even though Wood has his own sound, it can’t protect him from being compared and contrasted. When he was asked who his music often gets compared to, Jay Wood mentioned local artist Mick Jenkins.
“Every time I talk they say I sound like Mick Jenkins,” said Wood “Like every single time I play somebody says ‘you sound like Mick Bro!'”
Wood says that he lost gets compared to Saba and 50 cent a lot too. Regardless of what others think, there is no denying that Jay Wood’s name and music still stems unique towards him. Below he describes how he got the inspiration to spell his stage name from his cousin who was shot at the hand of a police officer.
Credit: Jhay C Instagram: @senseishutter
Other aspects that are unique towards Jay Wood’s musical persona is his brand. Wood sells clothing and accessories for his merchandise. Every piece of clothing or piece he sells is branded with the number 8-ball. The symbol and numeral holds a special meaning to Wood’s story.
For starters, in high school Jay Wood played on the team wearing a number 8 jersey. Wood also likes how, when turned sideways, the number 8 turns into the infinity symbol. The infinity symbol represents how Wood’s music will last forever even after he is gone.
“Your music lasts forever, even if I die it will carry on,” said Wood.
The overall reason as to why Wood stuck with the number eight for hid brand was when his number 8 baseball cap and iPhone survived a car collision during an ice storm.
“I was leaving Mizzou. One of my friends was driving for winter break, and the ice storm was really bad. The whole I-70 was shut down. There were cars everywhere, it was like the world was ending,” said Wood “It took us six hours to get to kingdom city which is 30 minutes away.”
Wood’s friend began to get tired of driving and tried to park on the side rode going up a hill. Her car then began to slide backwards so she put it in park. As they were parked a pickup truck coming from the other side of the hill turns sideways going way too fast toward Wood and his friend.
“We had to jump out the car before he hit us into a ditch,” said Wood “When I jumped out the car my hat came off, and I had my phone in my lap. So my phone and my hat were in the wreck.”
The pickup truck came into contact with Wood’s friend’s vehicle, but when Wood went to go back and check on his stuff he was in for a surprise.
“After that we went back down to check the cars, and her car was on top of my phone and my hat,” said Wood “So I’m thinking ‘Cool, phone definitely cracked. Hat probably has skid marks on it, ruined all of that’ but my phone was fine. Nothing was wrong. This
is the same phone. The hat was completely fine too. It wasn’t even wet when it was basically raining.
I was like ‘Maybe this is a sign I should rock with this. This is what I should use to go forward with.'”
And so he did. Jay Wood had a meeting with his manager when he arrived back home and went with the direction of the 8-ball. Now, Jay Wood rocks his 8-wear and rhymes with Freesole.
Freesole is a group of Chicago creators and artists. There are about 15 members that help produce the Rap groups corporation.
“Not everybody is a rapper,” said Wood “We got producers, rappers, fashion designers, marketing people, photographers, and stuff like that.”
Jay Wood entered into Freesole through his childhood friend and current producer CosbyQ. Wood worked with him to create his sole music video “Food for Thought”.
“So the way I got in Freesole was through CosbyQ who produced the beat,” said Wood “He was one of my good friends growing up. I was leaving school everyday going to his house making songs. I would bring him a sample, fall asleep on his couch, and it would be done. We stayed up until 5 in the morning making that beat.”
There is a funny story about the video. the fog you see in the scene with smoke was created by a fire extinguisher, and caused Wood to lose his breath mid take.
“I didn’t know that you couldn’t breathe that in so I’m wrapping my verse and I’m like ‘what is that taste?’ and it was just really sour. I just got to coughing up, and then every body lost they breath and we just ran outside and it was really bad. I was crying damn near.” – Jay Wood
He planned the music video out while he was in college at the university of Missouri. During thanksgiving break of 2016 he shot the video in Gary, Indiana. Jay Wood wants to get into film and this is a great way of practicing his passion.
“I planned the whole thing out,” said Wood “plot wise and location was all me for the most part.”
Jay Wood is more than a rapper, designer, and film maker. In fact, his favorite part about being a rapper is getting to work on the aspects that surround his overall product.
“When I get to sing and stuff or get to add lib or ring the stacks, I feel like that is the more creative side of making music,” said Wood “That is what I have the most fun with.”
— #RAIN. (@_JayWD) December 8, 2017
As for his group, Freesole is currently working on a group tape. Everyone has heir own EP, but Wood’s was the only one to release a full length 13 track project they worked on called “Self Doubt”.
“Self Doubt” is the biggest project that Freesole has worked on as a collective unit. Even though it is labeled and identifies as Jay Wood’s first solo EP, there are features and work that was put in by everyone.
“It was just an experience that whole summer,” said Wood on making “Self Doubt” “It was about believing in yourself and being yourself which is my motto. Just be you.”
“By the time I am 30, I am trying to be Kanye level. That is the plan. I want to be able to provide for myself and my family. I want to be able to give back, and not in terms of just money.”
Wood has drawn up a plan to help out the elementary school he went to from Chicago, Illinois.
“It is basically like a big brother program. We would go to this after school program and play basketball with them, games ,color, or whatever they want to do,” said Wood “Then after the fun time is done we would sit down and talk with them just like a big brother would.
I feel like in my community, and a lot of communities, we had a lack of role models. I knew my dad. My dad is probably the best definition of what a real man is. I still have been over people’s houses where they didn’t know their dad or had big brother who were in and out of jail.
Having a positive big brother role is real important. For me, my big brothers was Rodey and CosbyQ. I am like one of the youngest in Freesole. So whatever they dress like or listen to, I listen to. I understand how much influence a big brother can have. I just want to provide that for the other kids.”
Wood is still high in the music scene in Chicago. Alongside Freesole, Wood has sold out shows locally on numerous occasions. So when fans, new and old, hear his music alike he wants them to think diversely.
“Self Doubt” was about Jay Wood staying true to himself. “RAIN.” is about the adversity that comes after he finds himself
Wood wants people to know that no Storm Lasts Forever. He wants people to draw their own conclusions while listening to the album,.
“The tape can go two different ways the way you look at it, but I will put it like this,” said Wood “My music never stops. The way. I designed it was so that you could play self-doubt into rain and it will all flow. Really, with rain you can play it back to back and it will make sense. Every single time it is going to work, sonically too.”
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