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Billy Woods, ShrapKnel at Memorial Union Rathskeller
October 14, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 11:00 pmFree
Photo: Billy Woods poses in a wooden structure, with a mask obscuring his face.
Few rap artists of this era have carved out a niche as singular and arresting as Billy Woods. Run a Twitter search on “Billy Woods best writer” and the resulting cavalcade of glowing tweets are a strong indicator of how he’s perceived by his audience, which continues to expand. As a solo artist and as a member of Armand Hammer, Woods has netted notoriety as one of the genre’s preeminent “underground” rap artists. Woods’ downbeat, haunting, dreamlike soundscapes, aggressive delivery, and superlative writing are the rapper’s core calling cards, conjuring up a mesmeric mystique. Every last inch of that formula is on display in Woods’ latest—the freshly released Church—just as it was on his breakout single, Hiding Places‘ “Spongebob.”
ShrapKnel, a rap group who, like Woods, has made some cross-genre waves within the DIY punk scene, will open the night. Metal Lung, ShrapKnel’s new album, features the emergent duo embracing a wild-eyed, frenetic mode. Both Woods and ShrapKnel are inherently connected by a commendable artistic drive to keep pushing forward, never wanting to risk losing a step. (ShrapKnel also gets bonus Wisconsin points for name-dropping then-Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham on ShrapKnel‘s “Gun Metal Paint.”) NYC’s rap scene has always been overwhelmingly strong and influential, but even in that storied history, Billy Woods and ShrapKnel are talented enough to stand out.
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