Miky Woodz: From Hoop Dreams to Latin Trap Stardom
Miky Woodz is a lyrical threat in the Latin rap scene, but it was his motivation to play in the NBA and moving to the U.S. that brought him closer to music. Expressing his tough lifestyle and witty punchlines in his freestyles pushed his first album, Before Famous, to the fourth spot on Billboard’s Latin Album sales in 2017 — all with no management. Now he’s pushing his latest EP OG Week.
Miguel Ángel Rivera Rodríguez, the lyricist artistically known as Miky Woodz, has done a lot throughout his 3-year-old music career, but it's in the studio with his idols that he feels like he has accomplished a major objective. That is, the approval of Wisin and Yandel. Woodz and Wisin had just finished composing “Mi Intencion” and got word that Yandel, who wasn't in Puerto Rico at the moment, loved it.
The video dropped April 25 and has more than 2 million views. This is just one of the numerous musical highlights that have happened for the Puerto Rican rapper.
His first album, Before Famous, reached the fourth spot on Billboard's Latin Album sales in 2017. That opened doors for him in the urbano genre. “The fans are the ones in charge in taking my music to another level and to continue to identify themselves with me,” he shares with CHICA. And he didn't rely on pro management: “Just my team — the team that was there from the beginning.” The trap star's successful first project was thanks to his crew.
He released his second album, El OG, the following year, which debuted at No. 6 on the same chart. The album included collaborations with artists like Farruko, De La Ghetto and Noriel, as well as Bad Bunny for “Estamos Clear,” which highlighted a mini social beef the two artists had over the proper use of the term “OG.”
The 27-year-old is still pretty new to the art, considering he started to officially rap at 23. Before making it on Billboard, the Carolina native had dreams of playing in the NBA. “Thanks to basketball, I was able to go to down a good path. Even though I had friends who were out in the streets, I was always focused on becoming a basketball player and I remained consistent until I got to the U.S.”
Woodz moved to the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, to study at Penn State University's campus there. The beginning of the year he spent away was the hardest part. “I didn't have forms of transportation, I wasn't economically stable, I didn't have many friends, the language — I didn't know much English.”
He's grateful for the experience: “Those were situations that helped me grow mentally and mature. And things that have changed my life. That's when I realized life isn't easy; I have to keep forward. I have a family, and I want them to be proud of me.”
Even as a sportsman, he's loved music and admired rappers his whole life — something he understood when getting ready for big games. “I've always loved music, I've always been a fan of music, but it was more as a fanatic and as an athlete. Athletes are always listening to music before games and I've always been that way.”
While in the States, outside of class and practice, he made American and Dominican friends and learned about music. The days he was bored, he would lock himself in his small room and watch Meek Mill and Wiz Khalifa videos. “They were the two artists that inspired me to become an artist,” he said. It was in the tight space of his room that he composed his first song.
His time in Pennsylvania was cut short after experiencing a series of economic setbacks that resulted in a flight back to Puerto Rico. Right about this time, he was building a following with his “Freestyle Mania” videos, the series in which urban lyricists like Woodz and Jon Z would freestyle to certain beats. Highly motivated by his growing and dedicated following, he headed to the studio for the real deal. He uses the nickname “OG” because he feels he's a leader, not a follower, and wanted to keep that present in his role in the Latin rap game.
The urbano's flow is not only appreciated on the trap side but within the Dominican dembow sub-genre as well. “El Alfa called me and told me, ‘I have a track I want you to come out in.' And I took advantage of the opportunity. Dominicans are crazy about me, and they know I always appear on their yard [island].” The remix to El Alfa's “Suave” has accumulated more than 111 million views in the past eight months. The multi-artist collaboration featured Miky Woodz, Plan B's Chencho, Jon Z, Noriel and Bryant Myers — all who are rappers or reggaetoneros, not dembowseros. “We are the Association of 90 Piquete [a slogan he came up with referring to his work and the creative team being the best in the world], we are open to making all types of music, and thank God we have the ability to be versatile and hop on any rhythm…. Fans from different parts of the world can tell how transparent I am. They identify with my lyrics and my personality. That's why when I appear on a track, my lyrics, flow and personality — they know I'm el final [dope].”
The rapper is now onto his latest EP, which isn't the same-old: “People are used to hearing the Miky Woodz that makes honest trap and street songs. OG Week only has two songs that are like that. The rest are commercial tracks for the babies [women], and I'm super happy with all of the support it's received.” The project, which is an intro to the album La Asociacion de 90 Piquetes, dropping later this year, caters to pop reggaetón, straying away from Latin rap. It's also the prequel to the diversity of genres expected in the future album, which has dancehall influences.
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