For the man born Kevin Woods, rapping began as secondary to athletics. A basketball phenom and a football star, Woods was encouraged by older guys in the neighborhood to kick bars at cookouts and after tournaments. Rapping in front of strangers, he won over fans and made friends, as he says, “just seeing if it worked out, and I got kind of good at it.” This gift of connecting with the people, beyond familiarity, race, or circumstance would prove to be one of Woods’ many gifts. As an athletic scholarship student at Robert Morris University, things started to shift.
While studying business, playing ball, and messing with music, Woods maintained a double life. He was a scholar by day, hustler by night. Respected in his Hazelwood section of the city, Chevy earned an income through selling drugs. Looking back, Kevin admits that the rewards did not justify the risks. However, with a budding Rap career, equipment and CDs cost money that his studies could not supply. In 2004, during a particularly challenging season, Kevin made a profound transition in his life. “I was hustlin’ in the hood, and things didn’t work,” he says of the drought. “It got to the point where I had zero dollars, but I had this Triton keyboard. I went to one of those music pawn shops and they gave me $350.” With the money, Kevin aimed to do something productive. After looking around, he stumbled upon a start-up recording studio, ID Labs. “I booked two days,” Chevy remembers. “The second day, Wiz Khalifa happened to be working there. He liked what I was doing, I liked what he was doing, and we just became friends.”
That friendship grew fast. As “Kev da Hustler,” Woods appeared on Wiz’ acclaimed Prince Of The City breakthrough mixtape, and his 2006 indie debut, Show and Prove. Chevy Woods would serve as an anchor to the street imagery on that work, understanding the high stakes of the Steel City. “He had his select group of friends, but they weren’t all from the same place; mine were,” says Chevy of the earliest days of Taylor Gang. “It’s a lot of my homeboys, my friends, my brother,” he adds. In fact, the idea of the interactive mob of artists and fans began with conversations Wiz had with Chevy in 2007 and 2008. Today, also serving as a label, Taylor Gang is a destination state of mind. “I’ve learned a lot from Juicy J, Ty Dolla $ign, and Wiz,” says Chevy. “It has everything to do with work ethic.” Coming from a blue-collar city to a DIY label, the strong work ethic comes naturally and every inch of success is earned, not given. “Coming from Hazelwood, you gotta go for yours, whatever it is.”
With the meteoric rise of Taylor Gang, Chevy Woods made a clean start. Changing his name in an effort to be original, the MC nicknamed “Chevy” around his way for oversized pants turned the key on his Rap career. In 2008, Woods says he left the hustling behind. “I didn’t want to be in the streets chasing the small money, looking over my shoulder.” He adds, “Everything that I got right now is off of music.” Today, Chevy is a homeowner, a car enthusiast, who loves vacationing with his parents, his brothers, and his own children. He professes, “When you eliminate one negative thing, a lot of positive things start to happen.”
It is that kind of seasoned wisdom that’s made Chevy Woods’ Gangland mixtape series so unique. Starting in 2012, the benchmark projects in Chevy’s discography helped show an underbelly to the Steel City, but differentiate him from his cohorts. “I didn’t want to get credit for what I did in the streets, ‘cause it was good times and bad times. But what I did want to get across is that I’m not a weed-rapper,” he says. A casual smoker, Chevy’s material focuses on the tense realities of corner transactions, stashing money, and trying to enjoy a fast life. Owning his past, the MC now draws inspiration from his father, a former steel mill worker, and the work ethic of his mother, who raised six boys. Still with a hustler’s mentality and a D-boy’s swagger, Chevy Woods is of the world he may no longer be in. On The 48 Hunnid Project, Chevy teamed with hit-maker Rico Love (Usher, Beyonce, T.I.) to make savvy songs. “I’m in school again, when I get around him,” Chevy says of the Grammy Award-winning Rico. “He knows both sides of the industry: women and R&B, and the hip-hop.” This record bridges the gap between the bus stop and the boardroom. Other songs, like current video hit “30 Deep,” capture the loyalty of Taylor Gang, and the audience of 412 natives that travel to see Chevy on the road.
The road is a big part of Chevy Woods’ success. After co-headlining a tour with Kevin Gates, Chevy returns to be a guest feature alongside Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa this summer. “It gives me time to reflect, and interact with fans,” says Chevy, who has done nearly 10 major runs in his career. With The 48 Hunnid Project, which features the crew as well as OG Maco and DeJ Loaf, Chevy had time to focus, and fed off of the energy of his brothers. Fresh off of crossover “Now That I’m Up,” Woods set out to provide more wisdom and perspective.
After giving away hundreds upon hundreds of songs away, Chevy Woods’ day is here. “I never sold anything,” says the hustle-savvy MC. Even still, he was always architecting this day. “Right now, there are songs that are important to me that I recorded in 2010, that have never been released.” He elaborates, “I’ve put together plans for things to happen, plans for certain songs. If it’s not the right time, I don’t put it out.” The right time is coming, and creatively, Chevy Woods is going back to the place, the time, the vibe. The complete story is weaving together for one of Pittsburgh’s most patient modern pioneers.
In the fall of 2016, Chevy Woods will release Taylor’d, his follow up to The 48 Hunnid Projet. Featuring tracks such as “History,” ft. Devin Cruise, and “Bank of America,” featuring Rich The Kid, Taylor’d is Chevy Woods’ first official full-length album, a standout effort building upon years of hip-hop experience and hard work. Taylor’d paints a vivid picture of Chevy Woods, evenly stacked with party bangers, songs for the smokers, and more personal introspective tracks. Releasing via Taylor Gang and Atlantic Records, Taylor’d is poised to be a career tentpole for Chevy.
With appearances on gold albums, hit singles, prime compilations, and more history in and out of the booth than he takes credit for, Chevy’s engine is revving. Since inception, Woods has been the granite foundation within the Taylor Gang. His insight, his edge, and his network helped take a movement from the rust belt to the top of pop culture. After paying dues, perfecting his craft, and studying his brothers, this artist aims to be the latest to become a decorated vet.[/wpex]
Taylor Gang Heavy-Hitter Chevy Woods Drops Exactly What They Want Mixtape
TGOD Lieutenant Chevy Woods and Rich The Kid Break the “Bank Of America” in Hollywood
Wiz Khalifa, J.R. Donato, and Chevy Woods Have Money and Weed to Burn in “The Man”
Pittsburgh Native and TGOD Lieutenant Chevy Woods Conquers Los Angeles in “Forever”
Blue Collar Baller Chevy Woods Goes Beast Mode on “Gang Shit Only”
Pittsburgh’s Chevy Woods Represents TGOD on Gang Shit Only Mixtape
Taylor Gang Rapper Chevy Woods Launches A Signature Men’s Brief Collection With Ethika
Taylor Gang’s Chevy Woods Balls on an Unlimited Budget
Chevy Woods Has More Money Than The Bank On “Bank Of America”
Chevy Woods Drops “History,” a Triumphant Summer Anthem Premiered by XXL
Chevy Woods Drops Hypnotic “6 Months Later” Single
Chevy Woods Delivers Lavish “All the Way Up” Freestyle
Chevy Woods Shares “Forever” in Celebration of His Birthday
Chevy Woods and Rich the Kid Connect for “Wit My Dogs”
Chevy Woods Stays Up Late, Releases “I Made This Drunk” Loose Single
Taylor Gang Rapper Chevy Woods Rides Around Pittsburgh in 4-Part Video EP, And the Story Goes, Free Download via Taylor Gang Ent.
Chevy Woods Remixes Bryson Tiller’s “Don’t” in Freestyle Video
Taylor Gang’s Chevy Woods Teams Up With Sage The Gemini on “Myself”
Taylor Gang Rapper Chevy Woods Rings in the New Year Continuing Streak of Freestyles With a Verse On Jeezy’s “Seen It All”
Chevy Woods Shares “56 Grams,” a Freestyle Over Future’s Southside-Produced “56 Nights” Single
The Taylor Gang Rapper Shares a Loose Single Made For Club DJ’s, “Fucc Up the Face” Debuted via VIBE
Rico Love Joins Chevy Woods And His Taylor Gang Crew in Miami For “Wit Me,” Debuted by WorldStarHipHop
A Stand-Out Single From the Taylor Gang Rapper’s The 48 Hunnid Project Gets a Wild Visual, Debuted by All Def Digital
Taylor Gang Hosts Free Pop-Up Show in Atlanta
Following First Commercial EP, The 48 Hunnid Project, Taylor Gang’s Chevy Woods Drops Heavy-Hitting Single
Premiered by Yahoo! Music, the Taylor Gang Rapper’s New Video Finds Him Hitting the Vegas Strip and Travelling to the City’s Outskirts
Chevy Woods Teams up with RAW Papers to Launch Scavenger Hunt in Hometown of Pittsburgh
Taylor Gang Rapper Chevy Woods Releases First Commercial EP, The 48 Hunnid Project
Premiered by Complex, the Pittsburgh Lyricist and “White Iverson” Rapper Connect for Club-Ready Single from The 48 Hunnid Project
Premiered by i-D, the Taylor Gang Rapper Links Up with DeJ Loaf For Powerful Visual From Forthcoming The 48 Hunnid Project EP
The Taylor Gang Rapper Teams Up With the Detroit Hooksmith For “All Said And Done,” Share Video Trailer
Announced by HipHopDX, the Pittsburgh Native Shares the Tracklist, Release Date, and Cover Art for His Forthcoming EP
The Pittsburgh Native Links Up with the Detroit Hooksmith to Deliver Gritty Track from Forthcoming EP
Following His Gangland 3 Mixtape and Surprise SXSW I Love Texas EP, the Taylor Gang Rapper Continues His Busy Year With A Boastful Visual
The Taylor Gang Rapper Surprises Fans With a 5-Song EP Showing Appreciation for the Lone Star State