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Article May 7 2019 Written by

Album Review | billy woods & Kenny Segal – Hiding Places

Album Review | billy woods & Kenny Segal – Hiding Places

This album was released on March 29th this year. I haven’t heard billy woods’ first two albums, which dropped in 2003 & 2004. I started listening to his music when he dropped his exceptional 2012 comeback album, History Will Absolve Me. I’ve liked the other solo albums he’s dropped since then, but not quite as much. Dour Candy & Known Unknowns were really good. Today, I Wrote Nothing was cool too, but it’s definitely my least favorite. It kinda reminds me of Some Rap Songs, except it’s actually enjoyable.

One thing right off the bat that kinda irks me about this project in particular is the fact that the cover is in color. Every solo album he’s dropped since 2012 has been in black and white. To be fair, you could argue that this isn’t a solo album. It’s being marketed as a collaborative effort with Kenny Segal, who is pretty much one of the most underrated producers out right now. I wouldn’t say I’m super familiar with his work, but everything I’ve heard from him has been really great. I do find this to be a somewhat odd pairing though. I’m used to hearing billy woods rap over dark, murky beats. From what I’ve heard, Kenny Segal doesn’t really make those kinda beats. Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe he can make beats like that too. Or maybe he doesn’t need to. Maybe billy woods will sound just as good over softer, lighter instrumentals. We’ll see. To be fair, Kenny Segal did contribute a couple beats to the last Armand Hammer album, and that turned out pretty good. I think I’m gonna like this. One of my acquaintances didn’t seem to like it that much, but I’m not really sure why. Hopefully I like it more than he did. Anyway, every song is obviously produced by Kenny Segal. Here we go…

1. Spongebob

Oh s***. Okay… My uncertainty towards this collaboration was quelled as soon as I heard the first bar from billy woods. This beat is great, and he sounds really good over it. billy woods has a pretty abstruse style of writing, so I have a lot of trouble grasping his concepts when I listen to his music. Hopefully that doesn’t make this review too difficult. Much like with milo’s music, billy woods makes me feel like an idiot. I really like his super unique delivery and flow. I can’t really think of any other rappers that sound like him. It’s pretty much like he’s just yelling at the listener. It doesn’t sound very good on paper, but it’s dope. I like billy woods on this track, but the production is what I’m enjoying the most. The first verse was cool. I really like the hook a lot too.

Came back to God like, ‘M**********, you promised! You promised!’

The second verse is even better than the first one. I really like this track. However, like I said earlier, it’s mainly because of Kenny Segal. It’s not like I didn’t like what billy woods did over the beat too though. I don’t really have any issues with this track. I’d probably be able to appreciate it more if I actually understood what billy woods was rapping about, but I still really enjoyed this song. This s*** is dope.

2. Steak Knives

This beat actually sounds pretty dark. It’s really a perfect fit for billy woods. I just listened to the entire track. It’s the shortest song on the album. It’s pretty much just one verse with no hook. It was a little easier for me to understand than the previous track, so that’s cool. I enjoyed this track. I think I like the previous one a little better, but this song is still pretty good. Nothing about it really bothered me. I don’t mind the short length at all.

3. Checkpoints

Oh s***. Okay, this is definitely my favorite beat so far. It’s dope af. Kenny Segal put his a*s in this beat, man. It’s so f***ing awesome. Especially when the additional percussion comes in after about a minute. This beat is amazing. The first verse was really good too. That reference to the 7th Chamber skit from 36 Chambers was nice. The line where he said he was chillin’ like Africans who never felt the whip was dark. The hook is cool. The final verse was nice too. This is definitely my favorite track on the album so far. Again, it’s mainly due to the phenomenal work from Kenny Segal, but billy woods did his thing too.

4. Spider Hole

Kenny Segal, man… This dude is amazing. This beat is so f***ing good. Even if this was just an instrumental I’d listen to this s***. It’s dope af. Man, I hate to focus so much on the production, but that’s really the main reason I’m enjoying this so much. This beat is fantastic. billy woods is doing his thing too, but since I can’t really understand what he’s rapping about it’s hard for me to get that much enjoyment out of it. I enjoy this more sonically than lyrically. The rapping is cool, but the production is what hooks me the most. I think this is one of the better songs on the album so far.

5. Houthi

Holy s***. I f***ing love Kenny Segal. These beats are so f***ing good. Once again billy woods is saying really cryptic s***. There are a lot of lines that I find super interesting, but have no clue what they mean.

Cut my shadow off with a dull knife
Whispered in its ear, then sent it off into the night

The first verse was dope. I actually really like the hook too. He’s KINDA singing I guess. He has a very slightly melodic delivery. I wanna say he killed that second verse even though I still have no idea what the hell he was talking about. Man, I really wish I understood this s*** more. Why the hell is this song called Houthi? Does that have anything to do with the actual content? I don’t get it. I definitely enjoyed this song though. Even though I’m having trouble interpreting the actual lyrics, billy woods’ rapping is nice on this track, and the production is great.

6. A Day in a Week in a Year featuring MOTHERMARY co-produced by Marcella Elyse Winn

This song has another really great instrumental. It’s a little bit more melodic and chill than a lot of the other beats so far in my opinion. This is the longest song on the album. I feel like billy’s lyrics are a little more straightforward on this track. They’re still kinda hard to understand, but I feel like I’m grasping more of what he’s saying than I usually do. The beat kinda switches up after the first verse. It gets more electronic, and the percussion is slightly bouncier. I like MOTHERMARY’s vocals on the hook. They’re not gonna blow anyone away. They sound really subtle. It sounds good. I really like how light the overall atmosphere of this song is. I feel like I’m walking through a rainforest. Hmm… I thought I kinda understood what billy was saying during the first verse, but he lost me during the second one. I still enjoyed it though. The reference to Willie Bosket seemed really random. I didn’t really understand what it meant. I feel like this song kinda stands out from the rest of the tracks. It’s not necessarily one of my favorites, but it’s really different compared to the others just because of the overall mood of the song. It’s really dope.

7. Bedtime

This song probably has my least favorite instrumental on the album so far. It’s still pretty good. I just don’t love it as much as the others. I really wish the lyrics for this song were on Genius. Oh s***… Forget what I said about the production on this track. The way it kinda switches up between the two verses is really f***in’ cool. It kinda sounds lo-fi-ish. The second verse of this song is really f***ing cool. That’s probably the first moment on this whole album where I completely understood everything billy woods was rapping about. He painted the picture of kids doing whatever they wanted after all the adults on Earth disappeared. I really liked that s*** a lot. In fact, I think this is actually one of my favorite songs so far. It’s one of the most interesting tracks lyrically, and the production grew on me a lot.

8. Crawlspace performed by Armand Hammer co-produced by Blockhead

This probably won’t be any easier for me to comprehend because Elucid’s lyrics are just as cryptic as billy woods’ to me. This song has one of the weirdest beats on the album so far. It’s really cool. I wanna say Elucid killed it even though I have no idea what he was talking about. His more traditional delivery and faster paced flow are a really nice contrast from billy woods’ rant-like delivery & conversational flow. The beat kinda switches up for billy woods’ verse. It gets more melodic. billy woods’ verse was pretty good. Again, I didn’t really get what the hell he was rapping about. Hopefully with more listens it’ll become more clear in the future. This is honestly one of the weaker songs on the album in my opinion. I still like it a lot though. It’s just not one of my favorites. Anyway, I f*** with this track.

9. Speak Gently featuring Self Jupiter

This song has one of the loudest, more hard-hitting beats on the album. I could see Danny Brown rapping over this. billy starts goin’ in as soon as the song starts. Pretty much everything I’ve said about his rapping up to this point applies to this verse. I didn’t understand the lyrics. Am I an idiot? Is it this difficult for other people to get what he’s trying to convey? I really hope it’s not just me… Anyway, Self Jupiter’s verse was much easier to understand for me. The beat kinda switched up for his verse. I honestly loved his verse. It was really cool. He sounded really good over this beat. The way the production evolves throughout the course of this song is really dope. The last part of the song is pretty much just billy woods talking. The background music is really good. It would’ve been cool to hear somebody rap over this part of the beat. I’m not really sure what the purpose of that spiel about mail at the end of the song was. I didn’t mind it though. I think this is a really good song. The production is great, and the feature was really good too.

10. Toothy

The beat on this track is really dope. billy woods’ flow seems a little more fast-paced on this track than on the others. The hook on this song is awesome. It’s one of the shorter tracks on the album; it’s just over two minutes long. It doesn’t feel incomplete though. I actually don’t have a single gripe with this track. I still don’t really know what the lyrics are about, but billy sounded really good on this song, and I love the beat. The hook is really nice too. This is one of the standout tracks on the album for me. I really love this one.

11. Bigfakelaugh

Once again, Kenny Segal made an absolutely stellar instrumental for billy woods to spit over. This might actually be my favorite beat on the whole album. It’s incredible. The way it evolves and gets more detailed throughout the track is f***ing awesome. I don’t understand every single thing billy is saying, but there are definitely some lines that I get. I enjoyed the lines about the social worker with thicc thighs and hips but a flat a**. The “thought exercise” he described reminds me of when I was in the hospital. Honestly, this is one of my favorite songs on the album. The production is spectacular, and billy woods’ rapping was good too.

12. Red Dust

S***, man. This song has another fantastic beat. Kenny Segal is such a talented producer. I love his beats so much. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an average instrumental from him. The hook on this track is pretty cool. Woah… That first verse on this track is amazing. I feel like I actually kinda got most of what he was saying. The first few lines elicit thoughts of Anne Frank from me. He’s rapping about hiding during a genocide. I still don’t think I’m fully grasping the message behind this song. I really wish I did because I feel like it’s something that’d be really moving to me. Wow. The second verse is even crazier. It’s so f***** up. It’s pure hatred in the form of a rap verse.

I want us to be alone in your home
I wanna suck the marrow out ya bones
I wanna show you what I learned from the worst people I ever known
I wanna follow you like the Jakes
I wanna swallow you, show you the hate inside, it’s a lake

I hope the Genius page for this song gets annotated eventually because I really wanna know everything about this song. This is another one of my favorite tracks. Just in terms of lyrics alone it’s the best song on the album in my opinion. It’s dope af.

This album is great. First of all, I gotta give a major tip of the hat to Kenny Segal because a lot of these beats are legitimately amazing to me, and the dude doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. The instrumentals are super detailed and layered. There’s not a single track on this project that I don’t like. billy woods sounds really good over these beats too. Even though I had no idea what the f*** he was saying throughout the majority of this project, he still has the ability to keep my attention lyrically. He says really interesting s***. I just don’t always know what it actually means. I may think I understand a couple lines here and there, but it’s hard for me to put them all together to see the full picture he’s trying to paint on each song. I actually think this is my favorite billy woods album so far. It’s relatively short length compared to his other projects might have something to do with that. There was very little room for error, and to me he didn’t miss. This s*** is dope.



Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album.

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I am not a music expert. My reviews are completely subjective and should not sway anyone’s opinion on any musical project. I don’t grade albums based on how “good” they are objectively. The score they receiv…

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