Georgia breeds its fair share of music milestones – chart-topping trap boys, dance innovators, crunk divas, trendsetting teens who twerk their way into the pop culture mainstream. And then there’s Woodrow, a GA native born in Savannah but raised in several different cities/towns in mid Georgia. With a penchant for poetry and songwriting Woodrow drops his latest set – the 5 track recording. There aren’t very many perfect record titles in terms of the music industry. Many times an artist names an EP or album, something that has nothing to do with the project. Fans spend time researching the meanings behind these titles only to hear the artist gave it that particular name for a different reason. “For the Vibez” stays away from the cryptic nonsense and lays its intentions straight out on the table.
In an era when everyone in hip-hop is harmonizing on their songs, Woodrow is able to hear the beat in terms of bars and not just melodies. Hence he attacks every single syllable as if the words were his prey, and then is able to spit them out in layers of luscious melody. Practically extracting the best of both worlds.
Woodrow is as concerned about sounding cool, carrying a tune and advancing the stylistic possibilities in rap delivery, as he is about the spirit of rhymes above everything else. Therefore he can be described a modern rapper with a universal view towards his music.
Apart from the groove and smooth beats, “For the Vibez” doesn’t have a defined aesthetic and feels like Woodrow is still experimenting, with a refusal to rely on formulas. Hence he can go from a jazzy and harmonious groove like “G-Code”, to the tuneful crooning of “Tattoos” and then onto the lyrical onslaught of “Window Tint”.
These tracks are the beginnings of a new kind of rap that seamlessly swirls together elements of R&B, soul and even jazz. He is gleefully disrupting the usual hip-hop templates. A song such as “What It Mean” completely busts the genre, with its wistful beat and free-spirited rapping attitude.
There is much to admire in Woodrow’s approach: an almost religious disregard for mainstream pandering, as his output has been designed to appeal well beyond the style’s carefully policed borders. “Gentleman” is a track that seems designed to be digested and shifted around on streaming services for hungry young rap fans insisting on re-configuring a long playlist filled with dick-sucking and pill-popping anthems.
In these moments Woodrow sounds happy and eager to be a vessel for plain old positively good vibe songs; and they’re some of the EP’s highlights. These tracks leave you with a sense of dreamy other-worldliness that permeates the nooks and crannies of your mind and soul.
While “For the Vibez” easily could have been an enjoyable crossover throwaway, it beats all odds to stand as one of 2017’s enjoyable listening moments. The laid-back, but energized vibe curated by Woodrow takes no prisoners, and leaves no listener behind. You’re sure to have a good time, as he pulled out all the stops with this one.