William Leon Rhodes a.k.a Billy Roadz

Since I´ll be blogging from the N.Y./N.J. area in a few months time, I thought I would take it back to Jerz for a moment. Living on the West Coast non-stop, you lose touch with ¨home¨, especially if you don´t return often. You miss out on picking up new slang.

¨U all ready know!!!!!!!¨  ¨You aalllreadddyy!¨

I started hearing those phrases a couple years back when I would go back home for Thanksgiving, or to cover CMJ. I think I´m hearing West Coast cats use ¨Already¨ now.  It´s sort of an updated, ¨You better believe it,¨ or as my cornier friends´moms would say, ¨You bet your buns

Along with some of the slang, I feel like I´m missing out on New Jersey´s rap movement. Is it really a ¨movement¨? I don´t think so. You´ll always have inner city hip-hop heads who are good (or not) at rhyming and flowing over beats.  There is really a much larger post I could do on N.J. hip-hop talent. Jay-Z knows who they are. Iovine probably does, too.

It´s cool to see Naughty by Nature get up and do some dad rap. But we Jerzy folks know there hasn´t been a true rap superstar for us since Redman.  Still, people keep trying to get there. Case in point, the rapper in the pic above: Billy Roadz.

Viewing the rap scene in Newark (I have a lot of work ahead of me, since Youtube — and a chance meeting with Roadz — is the main reference right now) is like looking into the hip-hop scene in Mexico City, D.F.  For one, as in D.F., Newark has hundreds of MCs and producers trying to get a piece of the musical pie. Making rap $tar money is a distant reality for  all of the rappers in D.F., and most in Newark. Second, it´s a hip-hop scene in the shadows of a larger, more successful one: NYC´s; and in Mexico´s case, the West and Southwest rap scenes.  Am I stretching that? Hope not.

The one ingredient in Newark hip-hop is grittiness. All the greats had it, or still do. In the naughts nothing´s shaped Newark more than lackluster Redman albums. And in a city going through enormous changes, with new stadiums, young mayors and a possible visit from Lebron James, one ingredient remains the same:  Brick City grit underneath the finger nails and in the flows.

Billy Roadz is only one talent in a pool of rappers who are proving themselves efficient at producing quality material. There´s just no product push at this point. Long gone are the days of selling CDs out of a trunk. But it´s good to see these rappers are intelligent enough to at least have a decent online presence, and pay the right DJs to help get material out. Ever heard of the Kash Addictz? Check Mike Mula´s blog (and on Twitter).

| Stream and Download Bill Roadz 2009 Mixtape |

Check his bio, here. Find out when his next mixtape drops, here.


2 thoughts on “Newark´s rap inroadz

  1. “Allllready” is straight-up Texas, going back at least a decade. Just so you know. Y’all people on the coasts think y’all invented everything.

    Loving your blog, keep it up.

    1. It´s probably been around since then in NWK, lots of the south has links to Jersey (legal and illegal). I knew there was a reason Roadz´ wants to title his debit CD “Mind of a City Slicker, Heart of a Country Nigga¨.

      Damn, now I know I made it. Tone is checking! Thanks man.

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