It wasn’t given to him as some divine right; he gave it to himself. It wasn’t handed down at birth. No one in a golden robe decided to visit Port Arthur, Texas, with frankincense and myrrh to sprinkle on Woods's head. But he, much as if a great carnival barker had the ego of a pro wrestler, has made it so. If he’s Moses, he’s leading the people. If he’s the keeper of the Ghost of Pimp C, you need to wear Bond No. 9 or Issey Miyake to even step to the gates. If he’s the leader of the boys and girls with two jobs, you’d better have both pay stubs and a W-2 to prove it to him.
Up until two Sundays ago at HustleGrade’s Submission Sundays Live, a great concept that unfortunately sounds like a dominatrix convention, I had never seen Mickey Woods Jr. perform. All he had was a single mixtape, a sticking point of living a 90-minute drive from Houston, and a spot as the last man up. Needless to say, he won plenty of people over, myself included.
Here are the various ways Mickey Woods Jr., a guy who will perform on top of Dr. Dre’s “XXXplosive” instrumental and The Roots’ “Peace Into the Light” at a show, will describe himself to tell you who he is.
“I come in peace/ This piece just a piece of a piece”
“3rd Coast Savior”
Mickey Woods Jr. is not an alien. He’s a lanky dude who knows exactly who he is. If anything, we could probably send him to stand in front of aliens to explain why lanky rappers with a drawl stand out so much in Houston.
“I swear to God, one day y’all gon’ have to pay me”
“Cool, calm and collected but still I go crazy like Carl Davis”
“3rd Coast Savior”
If you aren’t rapping for the joy of it, you’re rapping for the dollars that may come down the road. The most famous currently living Carl Davis plays for the Baltimore Ravens. It is a crazy notion to believe. Not because it’s a Carl Davis playing football for the Ravens; football itself is just inherently crazy as hell. Also, do you realize how common a name Carl Davis is? 57 million Google search results common.
“Mickey be the king of the stanzas/ I got what you need, you can get it for the low”
“Mo Money, Mo Problems”
In some regal land where everything is controlled by the parameters of the English language, Mickey Woods Jr. is the Lord of words tied together by a rhythm. He probably has gone to war with the kings of paragraphs and sentences. He’s stared a run-on in the face and backhanded it. He knows how to use a semicolon and could probably sell you a couple of lines if you want them. I mean, wholesale — we don’t do single-word purchases over here, those are for suckers and thieves who snake entire concepts and flows from people, if not worse.
“God knows I mean it.”
Mickey talks to God how you and I talk to God. Port Arthur is close enough to being one of the state’s biggest Bible-thumping towns. If Mickey didn’t talk to God, I’m certain none of his powers would have manifested the way they have. This wouldn’t even be an article about Mickey Woods Jr., “soul brother.” This could have been about Mickey Woods Jr., guy who makes viral videos slapping Trump supporters in a Shiny Suit Man costume.
“If they think about killing me, I’ll shoot like ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich”
The most common white basketball player mentioned on rap records is not Larry Joe Bird. It is not Gordon Hayward, even though he’s pretty decent, handsome and was the best white basketball player in the NBA this season. It is not Jerry West, who is the godforsaken “logo” of the NBA. It is not Bob Cousy, who could probably never play in today's NBA because he had a set shot that would have been sent right into your kid’s iPad during a random second quarter.
It is not even Jason “White Chocolate” Williams, by and large the most stylish white NBA player of the late '90s and early '00s. Instead, The Most Common White Basketball Player Mentioned On Rap Records is one “Pistol” Pete Maravich, a born shot creator who for LSU was the greatest scorer in NCAA history (44.2 points-per-game average, 3,667 points total). Remember, kids, always shoot for volume. Also, “Pistol Pete” is a cool-ass nickname.
“I had a dream I’m selling Andy Milonakis”
Andy Milonakis once starred in his own show on MTV. It wasn’t superbly hilarious, but it lasted for 22 episodes over two seasons. Either Mickey Woods Jr. (you need to say the whole thing like A Tribe Called Quest) dabbles in selling things that are bulbous and white or he’s selling you the idea that "Shit — the right moment can launch a career.” We want to bet on the latter because there are far too many below-average dope boys in the world.
“In my past life I was an angel, maybe"
Think logically for a second. If you are living this one life and feel that you’re a flawed yet inspiring figure, wouldn’t you then consider yourself to be delivered from God himself? You can be pious about it. You can also be remorseful or even enlightened. Mickey Woods Jr. believes he was once an angel and now his human form means rapping from his heart. A step down, yes, but still — he’s delivering the good word in his own way.
“I’m your shrink today”
Groove is a 16-track Mickey Woods Jr. tape that arrived with little buzz. The most famous figure by proxy is TUT, a Tennessee native, preacher’s kid and devastatingly good rapper. The most introspective concept on it does not feature TUT (that would be “The Ark”). Rather, the most introspective concept is “Shrink,” in which Mickey has converses with friends who are addicted to Actavis and weed. Mickey, always the helper, always the man who you lean on with your problems.
“Is it ironic that I’m blacker than Don Cornelius but today woke up Don Corleone?”
Comparing yourself to arguably the greatest TV emcee ever is one thing. Saying you can wake up looking like Marlon Brando in arguably the greatest gangster movie ever is another. Cornelius was a gangster in his own right on Soul Train, while Corleone needs no further explanation. But let’s dig deeper here. If you could switch between being a very powerful person in one “white” circle and being a black person in a very “cool” circle, who would you be? The obvious answer here is The Rock and whoever signs the checks at Disney. Why? The Rock is the most bankable star in Hollywood. Everyone likes the guy at Disney. Perfect win-win.
“I just made the Sun play a game, my nigga name a planet that ain’t done that”
This line isn’t as egregious as Jay Z’s “.38 revolve like the sun round the Earth.” In fact, it may be the most player line on all of Groove. “Horoscopes,” per Soundcloud plays, is the most popular song on the project. Mickey Woods Jr., not necessarily a player who believes in retrogrades and sun and moon signs, can give you the very surface of it all.
On the more barest of levels, he wants to change the world and spend some of his free time in the club. As with many other rappers, he likes the typical out-there braggadocio because the game is predisposed to champion outrageous egos and personalities. His delivery is hyper-poetic, twisting words together like a skinny braid too tight to the scalp. He likes it that way. It means you have to listen just a bit harder to get the entire picture.