"You see me out, I rep my gang/ Used to serve that John McCain / That John McCain, hold up/ They don't know my name?"
When people hear "Taylor Gang," they naturally might think about Wiz Khalifa. Well, the times, they are a changin' because it's officially Chevy's turn.
After seeing the meteoric rise that Taylor Gang founder, Wiz Khalifa, had in 2011, Chevy Woods is declaring 2012 as not only the year of Taylor Gang, but also the year of C.W. The Pittsburgh rapper is ready to take the reins and truly declare his own lane within the industry, all while riding or dying with his captain.
Chevy spoke with AllHipHop.com about his upcoming mixtape, Gangland, his debut album, and the Taylor Gang mentality. He also touched on Amber Rose's music, and the question on everyone's mind - who smokes more weed, Chevy or Wiz? Read on:
AllHipHop.com: Hey, Chevy. How are you doing?
Chevy Woods: Good, man, good.
AllHipHop.com: So, everyone knows that you and Wiz are partners in crime, but how did you two first link up?
Chevy Woods: Well, we didn’t grow up together; I’m actually six years older than him. I was looking for a recording studio and I found ID Labs, and he happened to be recording one day in the back room, and I was recording in the front. And, he’ll tell you the same story - that he wasn’t recoding with no artists down there, and he said he heard my music. We had a little green party, and we started doing music together right after that.
AllHipHop.com: Green party, I like that. So with that being how you two first met, how did Taylor Gang come to be?
Chevy Woods: Taylor Gang was all his idea. He was the one that always wore the Chuck Taylors and always did the different things than everybody else, but he was still relevant and a part of us no matter what, but he was always different. He just came up with this off of wearing the Chuck Taylors, and then he liked to have his clothes fit, so it was all about the Taylors and Taylor Gang. It just went like that.
AllHipHop.com: Fair enough. How have the Taylors, fans, and industry responded to your last project, The Cookout, in the months since its release?
Chevy Woods: Actually, it was a good response, that’s why I keep up and try to make sure I just please everybody and put out stuff for people to listen to. The response is great. I go to places, even though I’m starting from the bottom as far as doing my own thing, people still show up. And, I like going from the bottom to the top, and they’ve seen me before with Wiz, and now with just me up there. I’m just doing what t I like to do.
AllHipHop.com: I saw in a past interview you said that with The Cookout you wanted to “take listeners to your backyard with your mom on the grill and your homies around.” What sound are you trying to create with Gangland?
Chevy Woods: It’s more of an edgy sound, more of a street sound. Just not too long ago, whether people know it or not, I was just running around the streets just doing what people do, and this was just an opportunity for me. When Wiz first went on tour, I was still in the streets running around, and he had seen that, and he was just like ‘I’m go out on my own and just do this first part of the tour until you get your stuff together.’ I just told him that I didn’t want to be doing that stuff no more or doing that sh*t. I would rather just go on the road. So, I just dropped everything and rode.
AllHipHop.com: Does Gangland have any tentative release date right now?
Chevy Woods: No I don’t got a release date yet. I’m just working on it. I really want it to be that mixtape before the album that everybody loves. So I’m really trying to hone in all the songs and make it like real songs and run them past Wiz and see if we need to add anything or do anything to them. That’s all I���m doing right now. I’m still recording for it, just in case I can put more stuff on it, but I’m just ready to let it out whenever it’s done.
AllHipHop.com: How far into the project would you say you are right now?
Chevy Woods: I’m overboard, actually. I’m overboard on music from recording so much. I’ve been going to the studio and recording like five songs a night. I can do like five or six songs in like a four- to five-hour period. I just been going hard.
AllHipHop.com: Other than Cardo and Wiz, who are some of the people that you’ve worked with, or plan to work with, on Gangland?
Chevy Woods: Well, of course I got a few beats from Lex [Luger]; some Drumma Boy beats. I got a couple of my homies from around the way. I’m really keeping it more home-based. I haven’t really ventured out to other artists. I’ve just been doing little things here and there, trying to get the attention of these people and at the same time, let them know that I want to work with them over Twitter or whatever social site.
AllHipHop.com: Not necessarily for this project, but if there was anyone you could think of that you’d love to work with, who would it be?
Chevy Woods: Um, that’s a good a*s question.
AllHipHop.com: I’ve got to keep your on your toes.
Chevy Woods: Yeah, you definitely did that. But really, whether people may like or not or know it or not, I’m a Black Rob fan. I’m not looking for the top person; I’m just a fan of people that do their art at their best, and I feel like he is one of those people. He should have a shot from whoever is at the label.
AllHipHop.com: That’s definitely one of the more interesting answers I’ve gotten.
Chevy Woods: Just the way his flow pattern is and the stories he tells. It’s like a reflection off of what I lived. He’s just a little bit older.
AllHipHop.com: Changing it up a little, you and Wiz closed out 2011 by signing Juicy J to Taylor Gang. What is the label and brand’s plan for 2012?
Chevy Woods: We’re working on a Taylor Gang compilation right now, and everybody is putting in crazy work. The music is ridiculous to me. I listen to it everyday, and I’m probably not going to get enough of it. So for 2012, we’re just all working together and it’s cool to have – we call him Uncle Juice – it’s cool to have Juice there to just look over things. Him and Wiz are real brainiacs with the music, so they pinpoint things that we need to do, and it helps to have two heads like that - one that’s been in the game for a while, and one that’s starting and still climbing up the charts. It’s just success for everybody.
AllHipHop.com: I can only imagine the “green parties” that the three of you throw.
Chevy Woods: [laughter] Man, I’m telling you, by next year I might turn into a plant.
AllHipHop.com: [laughter] I actually saw a video a couple of weeks ago of you and Wiz and some people hanging out backstage drinking large amounts of gin. I have to ask, out of you and Wiz, who is the “Gin champion,” and who is the bigger smoker?
Chevy Woods: I think he got both of those. He has both of those, because when people drink or when they smoke, a lot of people go down, like to sleep or whatever, and he doesn’t do that. You’ll know that he’s f*cked up, but you wouldn’t know it while he’s doing music or while he’s making a business decision. It doesn’t even affect him. I’m always like, ‘Damn dude, how the f*ck are you still going?’ Meanwhile I’m like,‘I’m going to bed, peace.’
AllHipHop.com: That’s wild, and you have some time to catch up ‘cause I know your hitting the road on your own tour at the end of the month. Do you prepare any differently for something like that, as opposed to when you’re on the road opening for Wiz or whoever?
Chevy Woods: Well, I always do it the way I do it, and being that I did it with him from the bottom up, it’s a big deal to have my own tour, but it’s not that big of a deal for me to get ready for it. Mostly because I have already done this, and like I said before, the people know who I am from the Taylor Gang status, so I don’t really prepare no differently. It’s just maybe less people and a closer environment for me to get intimate with the people real close up.
AllHipHop.com: Since we’re back on Taylor Gang, I have to ask about some of the comments Wacka Flocka made a few weeks back about Wiz. I was wondering how the team handles things like that. If someone goes after one of you, are they technically going after all of you? How do those situations get handled?
Chevy Woods: We to the dirt with this thing, and it’s not that he’s not saying nothing back. It’s just like, ‘Why even address that?’ It’s a point where, I’m not speaking for myself, I’m just speaking on what I see, and that’s my homie. There’s a point where he doesn’t have to talk about nobody. He doesn’t have to respond to nobody, because that’s not going to make him or break him. So whatever they’re saying is just whatever they feel, and that’s their emotions. They can have their opinion - everybody is entitled to that - but we don’t give a f*ck about none of that sh*t. That sh*t doesn’t bother anything. We do what we do over here, and Wiz is a great leader for everyone of us, so it’s to the dirt with that.
AllHipHop.com: Fair enough. Other than being an artist, do you have a larger role in Taylor Gang?
Chevy Woods: No. We running like a militant type of thing, so it’s really like he’s the captain, I’m the general. We got soldiers that people don’t ever see, and guys that just come around sometimes. There’s a lot of us. People only see the music part of us, but there’s a lot of people doing music that’s still affiliated with us that people don’t know yet, but will get to know.
AllHipHop.com: Any thoughts on the music that Wiz’s girlfriend, Amber Rose, released recently, and is there any bad blood between her and the first lady of Taylor Gang, Lola Luv?
Chevy Woods: They’re sisters, you know, so there’s not no bad vibes or nothing. We’re all a family. That’s what the difference is between us, like everybody says that sh*t, ‘Oh yeah, we’re a family,’ but a lot of people end up not liking each other for real, and everybody has animosity between each other. With us, nobody wants to be nobody, and everybody is getting put out into their own lanes. Lola has her own lane, I have my own lane, Wiz does what he does, Amber does what she does, and Juicy J does what he does. Everybody just has their own thing to do.
As far as her song goes, I heard it before anybody else even heard it. I was there when Wiz recorded his verse and everything, and I was blown away by her voice and how she sounds on the song. Then he put his little touches on it, and then it’s just a great song. You gotta understand that she is universal. She can do a lot of things, so she can go worldwide with that. It’s not just for the United States.
AllHipHop.com: Is there anything else you want the fans and readers to know?
Chevy Woods: I’m working real hard on my album. I been sitting down with Wiz, and we been going in and doing the real music part of things, ‘cause you know, just jumping into it, I was putting out mixtapes, but I never knew how to put out a project. That’s what I did with The Cookout; I rounded it out and made sure everything was clean before I put it out. Everything else, I just record, mix it a little bit, and just throw it out there. Now, I like really get the music and business side just from being around Wiz.
It’s just regular sh*t. Taylor Gang or Die 2012. Everybody get rich.
AllHipHop.com: Thanks again, Chevy. Looking forward to Gangland, for sure.
Chevy Woods: Thank you. I appreciate the love, man.
Follow Chevy Woods On Twitter: @ChevyWoods