billy woods is heavy listening. The legendary underground rapper has come through with a dense and intricate new album titled Terror Management. He has released some incredible albums over the last couple of years such as his 2019 collaborative album with Kenny Segal Hiding Places and his 2017 project Known Unknowns. This new album is equally as captivating and emotive as his previous work, and shows him expanding his sound even further.
He starts the album off with “Marlow,” an eerie and captivating track that starts with “world getting warmer, we going the other way,” delving into his dystopian view of the world. Tracks like “Western Education Is Forbidden” featuring FIELDED, “Long Grass” featuring Pink Siifu and Akai Solo and “Suzerain” featuring FIELDED are more upbeat and soulful cuts on the album, which breaks the album away from the dense and truly hellish production throughout. Tracks like “Windhoek” featuring Mach-Hommy are pretty dense and intricate, with lyricism and themes that I need to sit with. This album feels and sounds cold. What I mean by this is that the album 1) feels skeletal, with eerie and jarring production, but there’s reference to being in the cold, or feeling like you’re naked. “FNU LNU” is a prime example of this, with what sounds like a powerful winter wind in the instrumental, as well as reference to the cold:
“Spliff placebo, unroll a scroll deep in the stacks
Unfold bedroll by train tracks
Under bridge like a troll, California cold
No need to see when you know in your bones
Hit your hand, but I found ’em both, like Cicero in Rome.”
What’s equally as chilling is the manner in which billy woods articulates his thoughts. His delivery is menacing, honest and cold. He tells things as they are, as he weaves past, present and future into a dark soundscape full of visceral and intricate wordplay and a sometimes darkly humorous tone. It’s an album that needs multiple listens to fully digest, but the devilish tone of the project is what makes it a captivating and intriguing listen.
Listen to billy wood’s new album Terror Management below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via BackwoodzStudioz.