PREMIERE: BEWARE Presents ‘Woodward Ave’

Listen to resident Still Crew producer’s new compilation of Detroit-based artists, featuring heat from Royce Da 5'9", ELZhi, Nolan The Ninja, Payroll Giovanni, Chavis Chandler, Oba Rowland, Seven The General, and more.

Woodward Ave is a concept I’ve had for almost ten years, before I was even producing. Before I knew that would be the title.

Having covered Detroit’s rap scene for a decade with TSS Crew and fiending for local rap growing up a few miles north in Royal Oak, I’ve felt The D was one of the most talented Hip-Hop cities in the world forever. Yet, the Motor City’s rap scene has always been siloed with different sub-genres or cliques never being able to come together, holding back the needed cohesion a true culture thrives on. Seemingly, Detroit rap will soar when artists bridge the gap and work together, but local unity has never easily accomplished.

In 2008, I interviewed Trick Trick about this very theory for The Smoking Section. During our conversation, we discussed how he had been trying to release a project called The Godfather Presents, which featured damn near everyone in the city, in order to show the world what Detroit is made of. Label politics and logistics got in the way of him giving it a formal release.

Last year, Royce Da 5'9" rocked his first solo Motor City concert in over five years. For a long time, there was so much animosity in the city, he stayed away. Now, he’s taken a mentor role for local artists and had half the city either opening for him, or in the crowd supporting him. His message was the same as Trick Trick’s — unity will take us further.

When I started producing, my first lofty goal was to make a project that achieved the same vision as Trick Trick and Royce — unite talent from the Detroit area who normally wouldn’t be heard together, to show everyone we can indeed get on the same page like other major markets. With such a wide array of talent, the project would inevitably be versatile, flexing the multi-faceted creativity our current incarnation of Motown has to offer.

Well, that’s exactly what happened. Woodward Ave is my third release and the first with artists over my production. I reached out to local rappers I respect and listen to, looking to put together a cohesive project, representative of our city’s overall versatility, both musically and culturally.

That’s where the name Woodward Ave comes from. Aside from being the first paved road in America, Woodward Ave is the central thoroughfare through Detroit and the suburbs, offering a taste of everything the Metro area has to offer. The good, the bad, the blight and the beautiful. That level of versatility is what Detroit and Woodward Ave brings to the table.

Special thanks to every single artist who participated in the project or helped me put it together. My partner in crime, ALLiTiZ. My engineer, Mike Wyatt. The chopmaster and next up, Chavis Chandler. Oba Rowland. Royce Da 5'9". ELZHI. Fenkell Payroll. Red Pill. Adam Reverie. Melanie Rutherford. Jibreel Price. Seven The General and whole crew! Cool African. Square Biz. Nick Speed. Nolan The Ninja. Body. Savidge. Winter. Alex Colista. Patrick Fitzgibbon. And, most importantly, my wife. Support your loved ones and magical things happen.

Woodward Ave is available below for stream. Ten songs. Hope you dig them. If you don’t, be prepared for lots more surprises from BEWARE the producer and 4th St. Beats down the line. Listen on Spotify or Apple Music.

Follow Royal Oak’s finest on Twitter at @BEWARE4.

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