‘Da Rock’ Is Cooking With Mr. Wood$
In the summer of 1999 radio stations in the New York tri-state area broadcasted a rap that would remain number one for seven weeks on the Billboard and topped the R&B and Hip Hop charts. "No Pigeons", which became a certified gold single, was the brainchild of Rockaway’s own Diallo Edmond, better known to the music and entertainment world as Mr. Wood$.
Born and raised in Arverne, a graduate of local schools -- St. Rose of Lima and Beach Channel High School -- Mr. Wood$ started dancing and rapping at a young age. "I was rapping with Fisher Price," Mr. Wood$ said with a chuckle. "I always wanted to be an entertainer."
While dancing was an exciting opportunity, Mr. Wood$ admitted he’s not much of a follower. "I don’t like to be behind," Mr. Wood$ said. "I’m a leader."
It’s that leader attitude that made Mr. Wood$ pursue his music dream. After hearing TLC’s "No Scrubs", Mr. Wood$ knew the time was ripe for the taking. Armed with a rap he created, first known as "No Vulchers," Mr. Wood$ connected with DJ Rhude, one of the hottest disc jockeys in Brooklyn. Soon the song caught the ear of Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex, who suggested to Mr. Wood$ that the song be performed with a then up-and-coming group, Sporty Thieves.
Mr. Wood$ took Flex’s suggestion and the rest is music industry history. "No Vulchers" evolved into the hit of 1999, "No Pigeons," which Mr. Wood$ said was "less harsh" than his original concept.
While Sporty Thieves received accolades, and instant fame, Mr. Wood$ took a back seat as the "mystery man." But, the last verse he sang – "Greet your highness...Queens finest...Gleam shiners...Three clip street
fighters...deep dish Jeep riders" -- caught on like wildfire, giving him voice and name recognition.
The "street" version, featuring Mr. Wood$, flew off the shelves and the song was the number one request on Hot 97. But, when Columbia Records signed Sporty Thieves, Mr. Wood$ and his verse were cut.
Although Mr. Wood$ is an unsigned artist at this time, his talents have been sought after by the entertainment industry.
When Pepsi needed someone to rap for the "Master P" commercial, they looked no further then Mr. Wood$. When McDonald’s wanted to publicize the new Dollar Value Menu, Mr. Wood$ was called upon to get the message out.
It wasn’t too long after these two commercials that Farmclub.com, a tv show on the USA network, heard about the growing fame of Mr. Wood$. After seeing that Mr. Wood$’ music, biography and picture were well-received on the show’s website, the producer, Brandi Menefee, decided to fly out to New York from California and film "A Day in the Life of Mr. Wood$."
Always trying to put his hometown on the map, Mr. Wood$ brought the film crew around Far Rockaway. Impressed with Mr. Wood$’ personal achievements and his natural take to the camera, Farmclub.com flew Wood$ to California to perform for their more than three million television viewers. At the Universal Studios performance, Mr. Wood$ shared the stage with bigwigs, including Wu Tang, Mr. Cool and Outcast.
Interviewed by several magazines, and with a photo layout in XXL, Mr. Wood$ is a rising star in the music business. He presently is negotiating with several music labels, referring to the situation as a "serious bidding war." And as a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Mr. Wood$ is looking at other commercial and movie opportunities.
While Mr. Wood$ said he can "taste the fame," it didn’t come without hard work and dedication. According to Rob Cheeks, a childhood friend and manager (with Moe Boatwright) of Mr. Wood$, it took "lots of leg work." And without the help of a label, the task was even more difficult.
Mr. Wood$ takes his music seriously, saying, "It’s about everyday life...not fabricated. I have to be me."
Mr. Wood$’ influences include, as he puts it, a "functional family" – his mother, father, sister and brother—and God. He attributes his success to his parent’s support, his belief in a higher power, and his commitment to his goals in life.
"Whatever dream you have," Wood$ said, "don’t let anyone tell you different. "Whatever you feel you can do, it can happen...believe in God...one day it will happen."
As Mr. Wood$’ star rises, he wants to see Rockaway’s future brighten as well. He hopes to "build up a rollerdome" for the kids of Far Rockaway and continue making the community proud of his work. He even has a hometown anthem -- "Da Rock" – which can be requested by calling Hot 97.
Along with his crew "Filth-E-Rich", Rockawayites are sure to hear more about the career of Mr. Wood$. And if the words - "see it...frame it...do it..." - spoken by Wood$’ manager Rob, lend any insight into the future of the rap star, there appears to be no limitations...
(For more information on Mr. Wood$, visit his website at mrwoodsworld.com)