Ryan Mitchell Wood (or “Woodie”), was an American rapper and record producer. He sadly died on March 7, 2007. It’s difficult to find official information on his passing, but it is assumed that he tragically died by self-inflicted gunshot.
Who Was Woodie?
Woodie was born on November 20 1975, and is a truly inspiring character. He was born in Antioch, California, and grew up in a world of drugs, gangs, crime, and violence. Woodie had a difficult relationship with the law – his friend Carlos “Blackbird” Ramirez was killed by local police, another friend Gabriel “Snoop” Robinson was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, and Woodfie himself had his own run-ins with the police (one of these resulting in his nearly being charged with attempted murder).
Fed up with this tumultuous life, Woodie focused on his rap music and recorded his debut EP: “Yoc Influenced”.
The album became incredibly popular within the Bay Area, leading Woodie to team up with a record producer and release “Northern Expozure, Vol. 1”. The popularity of this record led Woodie to being offered a record deal with Koch (a national label), which resulted in the album “Demonz in My Sleep” being released in 2001.
What Discography Did Woodie Have?
Woodie had an extensive discography, including both solo works and collaborative works:
‘Yoc Influenced’, released in 1999.
‘Demonz N My Sleep’, released in 2001.
‘Life Stories Vol. 1’, released in 2002.
‘2 Sides of the Game’, released in 2005.
‘Northern Expozure Vol. 7’, released in 2006.
‘Pistoleros’, released in 2007.
What Genre Of Music Was Woodie?
Woodie is still to this day known as a rapper and producer within the hip-hop/rap music genre. The genre of ‘hip-hop’ was developed in the United States by African American musicians in the inner cities. In the Bronx in the 1970s, Puerto Rican and Jamaican musicians also played a key role in developing the genre.
Hip-hop is a cultural movement, combining poetry, music, dance, fashion, art and social commentary. It often includes speaking poetry over a backbeat or instrumental track, as opposed to the traditional elements of singing (which involves a melody).
Hip-hop is considered to have five key “pillars” or fundamental elements.
What Are The Five Key Pillars of Hip-Hop?
The five key pillars of hip-hop are Oral, Aural, Physical, Visual and Mental.
MCing/Oral – also called “rapping”, this pillar includes wordplay, often in a rapid-fire sequence. This method is crucial in telling the story of many underserved and under-represented urban and inner-city communities.
DJing/Aural – this element combines percussive beats with breaks and isolations, resulting in an entirely new manipulation of sounds. DJing is an art form in and of itself, with many creators able to create new music and tracks on the spot.
Breakdance/Physical – this a form of dance blended with Capoeira, gymnastics and martial arts. It is considered “visual poetry”, and is very expressive.
Graffiti/Visual – this pillar is often seen as controversial, as it involves the “tagging” of public places. Artwork is sprayed or painted onto surfaces (often public ones), most often to convey a message. These works are vibrant and striking, and may be signed (or “tagged”) with the artist’s name or alias.
Knowledge/Mental – this pillar combines all of the other pillars together. It encompasses the surge in social and political philosophy that is fundamental in hip-hop, and aims to empower oppressed members of society.
How Did Woodie Die?
Woodie died on March 7 2007 at 31 years old. The general consensus is that Woodie sadly died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, in the aftermath of his girlfriend’s death.
His girlfriend had been ill and in hospital, but her death was unexpected and affected Woodie profoundly.
There are rumours that Woodie’s death was in fact a gang killing disguised as a suicide, but these are generally thought to be untrue.
What Was Woodie’s Final Release?
Woodie’s final release was a collaborative record with fellow rapper A-Wax. The album is called “2 Sides of the Game”.
The tracks are:
The Yog and the Burg
Stranger in Disguise
On the Edge
Love is Hope
A Rebel’s Prayer
Thank you for all the wonderful music, Woodie. Your story, music and impact will not be forgotten.