Hey Jay! How are things going today?
Wassup fam, I’m writing this right after the show we had yesterday and it turned out great so I’m damn near feeling great.
We are so happy to talk with you. Give us a brief introduction on yourself.
Well as far as introductions go, I’m Jay Wood, and from the south suburbs of Chicago. As far as how I got my name, My real name is josh but whenever I’d be on the Southside with my pops and around his childhood friends they called me lil wood, because he was known as big wood when he was growing up, hence to our last name. So the J. Wood kinda just made sense plus I played football and in football every goes by their last name so teammates would call me Wood. But I decided to spell it out like “Jay” Wood because I had a cousin that was killed by the police and his name was Jay and that was the first time I really experienced a death that close to home, it was usually distant elders, so I wanted to pay homage to him.
I am a HUGE fan of your recent track Right Now. Hope you saw the write up – I couldn’t praise it enough. What are your thoughts on that record?
RIGHT NOW. is a fucking banger. Sometimes when I’m in the creative process I’m really picky and being a perfectionist, going back to fix things several times so I don’t really get the full impact of the song until I damn near drop it, and after it dropped and I played it, I impressed myself. Chulo and Fem definitely came with some strong verses and it came together great. Plus the feedback I got was more than expected and the write up you guys did for me was literally heartfelt so much love there.
You linked up with Femdot and Chulo on the record. Talk about your relationship with them.
I’ve known Chulo since the 2nd grade; blood couldn’t make us no closer that’s my sole brother. To see him grow as a person and artist over the years has truly been a blessing. I just met fem this year through YCA and he heard me spit and was down for a feature but low key it was kind of funny because one of my good friends from high school is his cousin so he was always on the radar.
You took a year off before coming back with Right Now. Why the break?
The yearlong break wasn’t necessarily on purpose but the more I live the more I know that everything happens for a reason. The reason why it took so long to get music back out is because I went away to school at Mizzou. Being 6 hours away was hella tough, hard to get in studios and there is no real music scene in Como but in retrospect it was a growth period for me and I learned and experienced so much and I put that into my music, so there is no real such thing as time off, I’m always working.
How do you feel coming back into the music scene? Do you feel you are better prepared than before?
I feel like I know myself better now than ever before, I have a new confidence in my music, and I trust myself in what I do, I am more focused than ever, and I refuse to be held back.
Talk about your Freesole Collective.
Freesole is a family. Some members of the sole I’ve known for basically my whole life, like Chulo or Cosby Q, but my relationship with them is just as strong as it is with the people I met two years ago. This group has inspired me and pushed me to be great and for that I cannot thank them enough.
Your manager mentioned you’ve gained attention from the likes of Malcolm London, Jamilia Woods and many others. What did he mean by that?
The Freesole manager/Photographer actually works at YCA and anybody doing music in the city knows that YCA is a Hub for local artist as well as big artist. It was there that our manager (Sensei Shutter) got our music to the ears of Kevin Coval and Malcolm London and they were impressed with what they heard. We spoke to them at various music events and developed a relationship with them. Malcolm had me open up for him on his OPIA tour in Columbia, MO. Kevin and Malcolm both have provided some pretty good insight on how our next moves should be made.
How long have you lived in Chicago? How do you feel about the hip-hop scene here?
I lived in Chicago for my whole life. I was born in the city and grew up in a handful of suburbs. I genuinely feel like we are undergoing a renaissance that if is done correctly will make Chicago the best city in the nation, but whole time it already is. I remember downloading The Cool Kids music when I was a shordie. Savemoney, Pivot Gang, The Village, 2008ighties etc. have all been my heroes for as long as I’ve had a love for rap, so it can only go up from here. Freesole is the future, period.
What are your plans moving forward? Anything we can look forward to?
I’m currently work on my EP “RAIN.” haha I don’t wanna give no teasers or nothing but yeah, yawl gone have to meet me back here when its dropped, that’s all, I’ll get it out when its done.