billy woods is an artist who defies easy categorization. He claims Washington, D.C. as his hometown but has spent nearly all his adult life in New York City. He was born in the U.S. but spent much of his childhood in Africa and the West Indies as the second child of a Jamaican intellectual and a would-be Marxist revolutionary. On the mic, woods is no less a conundrum, possessed of versatile flows and not only an ability to tackle topics other artists wouldn’t imagine, but bring unique perspectives to the familiar ones.
After spending much of the 2000s in relative obscurity woods stuck a nerve with 2012’s audacious mission statement, History Will Absolve Me. An album two years in the making, History was a Molotov cocktail of sarcastic fury, with production to match its uncompromising vision. in 2013 woods and fellow NYC artist Elucid joined forces as Armand Hammer and released the incendiary Race Music. In the years that followed, woods has released a steady stream of critically acclaimed projects, both as a solo artist (Known Unknowns, Hiding Places, Terror Management), and with Armand Hammer (Paraffin, Shrines, Haram).