Keynes Woods
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Keynes Woods

Ottawa, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | INDIE

Ottawa, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2016
Solo Hip Hop R&B




"Kinshasa-Born Rapper Keynes Woods Is Set to Become a 'Threat'"

Listen to the hazy new single from the Toronto based rapper.
Keynes Woods is a Toronto based rapper born in Kinshasa, DRC who caught our eye with his silky performance of "Threat" on COLORS.

The new single, which wasn't even officially out when he performed it, sees Woods showcasing his seamless flow over a hazy beat and announcing himself as an unfriendly threat to all his counterparts.

The official version of "Threat" is now out today and premiering here with us here below. Here's what the the bubbling rapper told us about it:

" [I] Was born and raised in the heart of Africa before I moved to a place where I was constantly reminded of how different I was from the majority. I remember feeling embarrassed to tell people I was African because of all the negative connotations," Woods says in an e-mail to OkayAfrica.

"This was the same reason I hated telling people I made music. I felt like people would judge me. I don't fear judgement anymore and I've taken pride in my superpowers. I hope African kids can look at me and understand that when you embrace everything that makes you who you are, you become a THREAT to anything and anybody that stands in your way. Stop letting these mandem dictate how you live your life!"

Get into "Threat" below. - OkayAfrica


The long weekend is over but that means everyone is back to the usual grind. That wake-up alarm probably isn’t a pleasant reminder. If you’re looking for the new soundtrack to your early mornings, we’ve got you covered.

Today we’re pleased to present the visual accompaniment to rising Ottawa rapper Keynes Woods’ new single, “Solitude.”

Directed by Liam Higgins, the visual takes the viewer through a day in the life of Woods as he grapples with the end of a relationship. Scenes of Woods wandering on his own are contrasted with glimpses of flashbacks to intimate times with his past lover. Heartbreak can be hard – sometimes you just need to lie back and smoke a cigarette in bed.

Kick back, relax and peep Keynes Woods’ video for “Solitude.” The track will be included on his upcoming Threat EP. Woods recently began to gain online traction after being featured on the popular German music channel COLORS Berlin with his vibrant performance of the EP’s lead single of the same name. - SideWalk Hustle


Keynes Woods needs a break. Since the Ottawa born vocalist first emerged in 2015, he’s been extremely busy. He’s dropped a slew of high-quality songs and self-directed videos, all while moving from management team to management team until he found the right people to work with.

During the process, Keynes moved from Ottawa to Toronto and has recently been travelling all over Europe (including Germany) where he performed his song “Threat” for COLORS. And he’s done it all while pulling double duty as a full time student.

“Life of a starving artist, say I’m doing fine but I’m hardly honest.”

Keynes wrote “Solitude” about exhaustion – both with his internal vices and with the struggles of being an up-and-coming artist. The song’s content, sound and video were heavily inspired by director Liam Higgins – who initially approached Keynes with the video concept. And they really pulled it off; “Solitude” is one of Keynes’ most striking pieces yet.

This is what you need to know.

The story behind Solitude
“Solitude” came about in a really different way from any of my other songs. The idea for the video came first and then the song came about to match that idea. Liam Higgins – who I’ve known for a long time and worked with on some photoshoots – hit me up with this video idea and all the imagery he wanted to use for the video, plus a beat to write to. I liked his ideas. So I just sat on them for a few days and wrote. It was hard to get past writer’s block at first ’cause it was my first time writing to fit visuals instead of the other way around. I ended up drawing on some of my past experiences, plus some of what Liam was going through and feeling. I think that’s part of why making the video was such a passion project for him. And we can all relate to what I’m talking about in the song.

3 things we learned about Keynes Woods

COLORS got him out to Germany last year

“When my management team at ANTHEM – Farai and Warren – first reached out to me they gave me a step-by-step list of things that we were going to get done this year. And COLORS was one of the first things on that list. I was a fan of COLORS already so I asked “can you really make that happen?” They said they could, and I don’t know exactly how they did it, but they did it. COLORS got back to us and said it was on. So we actually flew out to Germany to film it. We had to scrape together money for all our flights. But once we were there, it was really worth it.”

He’d rather represent Ottawa than fake represent Toronto…
“When people outside the city and the country ask me where I’m from I don’t say I’m from Toronto. I live here now but I’m from Ottawa. I’ve lived there ever since I moved here from the Congo. So no matter where I’m at that’s the city I want to represent. A lot of people switch when they move here but that’s not me.”

…but the rest of the world is listening to him more than Ottawa is
“Ottawa is in like 28th place right now. My numbers say that at the moment. London is the city where I have the most listeners. It’s really, really weird. It goes London, LA, then Toronto and then Ottawa – way at the bottom. I think it shows that when you’re from a city like Ottawa – where the scene’s still coming up – you have to have the rest of the world on your side before your hometown gets behind you.”

Q&A: Keynes Woods
Despite travelling all over the world performing and working with other artists, you’re still a student at York University. How do you balance being an artist with the pressure of school?

Bro, I’m not even going to lie – I’m so close to dropping out at this point. I’ve just been waiting for the right time. I’m studying International Development but I’m not passionate about it anymore. And it’s not for me I don’t think. And my school’s TAs and profs might go on strike this spring. So if that happens it might be the right time to leave ’cause it’s holding me back from a lot of what I want to make.

Deelo is probably your top collaborator at this point – you did “Shoot Your Shot” and “Dream Girl” with him. How did you and him first start working together?

I knew about Deelo from being in Ottawa originally. But I don’t think he remembers meeting me there ’cause we never really talked. We just had a bunch of mutual friends – creative people – and we’d all be in the house together talking. I remember him playing guitar and singing and I was like “Oh shit! This dude is dope!” And then when I moved to Toronto I saw he was here too and I hit him up on Instagram. We got together to try working on some music. And the first time we met we made “Dream Girl” so we knew we just had good chemistry. Now he lives in my neighbourhood in Toronto so we link up all the time and go to networking events and everything. It’s just nice to have a friend in Toronto who makes music and is actually good – someone who’s got your back.

What other projects do you have coming this year?

I have an EP dropping and I have another video dropping really soon. Probably within the next month or two. I’ve been doing a shit-ton of features and I’m actually going out to the UK in March to shoot a video for one of the tracks I’m featured on. So I’m basically gonna just try to keep busy and travel as much as I can in the the next few months, see as many places as I can and connect with as many people as I can. - Good Juice

"Shoot Your Shot: New Music"

Keynes Woods, the Toronto-based rapper by way of DR Congo, tells his listeners to "shoot [their] shot" in his latest release. Speaking more on the inspiration behind the track, Keynes says: "I remember scrolling through my timeline on Instagram and a seeing a fine looking hipster shorty. I'm not one to slide into DMs, but I figured I'd shoot my shot for once. About a year into our relationship, I realized that it was one of the best decisions I've ever made." - REVOLT





Avarice - 2018
Water in the city - 2018
Solitude - 2018
Threat - 2018
Shoot Your Shot - 2017
Kirikou - 2017
Dream Girl - 2017



Keynes Woods is a Toronto based rapper born in Kinshasa, DRC in 1995 and raised in Ottawa.

Whether its wooing your girlfriend over R&B hooks, making your favourite Soundcloud rapper reconsider their career choice with his lyrical ability or painting lucid imagery for his listeners with his storytelling it’s hard not be impressed by Keynes’ talent and refreshing sound. Mellow, introspective and bathed in honesty his music is made to feel.

He released his first song in 2015, followed by numerous singles as well as an EP online. Refining his craft he closed out 2016 with the release of the singles ‘Kirikou' a clear statement of intent to the rap game, ‘Dream Girl’ an ethereal melodic number, and he’s kicked off 2017 with the release of ‘Shoot Your Shot’ as he leads up to the release of his first independent project, made possible by Factor Canada (Daniel Caesar, BADBADNOTGOOD, A Tribe Called Red).

He then set the online world on fire with his fiery performance of 'THREAT' on COLORS Berlin, gaining further traction and paving the way towards a series of follow up releases (Water in the City, Solitude and standout features everywhere).

Band Members