Sometimes I forget that Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. After having lived here for two years and having covered the music scene as best as I can, I act rather confidently about who and what I've heard coming out of Chicago. That being said, not a week goes by where I don't have a new name pop up on my radar. Just when I think I know all of the musical movement in this massive metropolis, someone else sprouts and blossoms.
A prime example of this above paragraph is rapper Jayaire Woods. This time last week, I had never heard his name. Now, I can't stop listening to his thirteen song mixtape, trees42morrow. Hailing from the West Side suburbs (artwork shows 49th and Randolph), Woods is a harmonic rapper that doesn't glamorize his lifestyle. He's not talking about extravagant cars and mansions. Instead, he's rhyming about single mothers, being unable to afford a meal, and being lonely while hunting for inner peace. He covers growth, he covers struggles, and he smokes an endless amount of weed throughout.
With a vintage vocal sample taken from Disney's Carousel of Progress (1964), the opening song closes with “There's a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day, just a dream away.” This line sums up the ongoing theme throughout this project: dreams, destiny, and perpetually looking to the future. Throughout the album, Woods hones in on a passionate vision where movements and maneuvers might lead to fortunes and comfort. Contrasted nicely with autobiographical life struggles (fallen friends, empty pockets, smoking away pain), the project is constantly stuck in the stars, hoping for a future of greatness. “Always plottin' on the next day,” he sings at one point as he admits to staring at the sun in order to gain brightness. Outer space, outer limits, they're all within reach for Woods. “I've been rappin' since like four feet,” he confesses. On “Mary J”, he says, “I've been trying to follow all my dreams like past the moon, I'ma go a long way.” Lines like this are constant. trees42morrow is full of ambitious and motivational rap. Every line on “2SHOES” can be quoted here. “seatbelt” as well.
Woods manages to combine sing-song harmonies with spacey production and sharp rhymes. To make a Chicago comparison, he might come across as Dally Auston mixed with Smino mixed with never ending passion. The production throughout is soulful and sincere. Perfect backdrops for telling stories. I don't know how to describe it, but the chemistry between the two involved producers (Vzn and Jordeaux) and Jayaire Woods reminds me of Blu and Exile. Not similar flows by any means, but the crafted atmosphere is similar; sunny skies, occasional rainfall, and heavy doses of reflection. Girl problems, money problems, and dreams of being a household name.
Some of the songs linger a bit too long, and the whole project is a song or two longer than it should have been, but as is, trees42morrow is very refreshing, smooth, and cohesive. Starting with “2MAH” and ending with “2DAY”, the “day in the life” concept is simple but effective. The only criticism I really have with this project is the poor artwork. The content within, however, is strong enough to demand replay value. While Jayaire Woods wasn't someone that I knew last week, he's certainly a name I'll be looking out for in the future.