Mr. Tucker Wood: truly an original guy. Wood, also known as RhymeZweLL is perhaps the only human on the planet that can make this claim: he educates our youth during the day… while taking his rhymes to the stage at night. That’s right; the Bostonnative is a nursery school teacher/hop hop performer, making beats that reflect his passion to help and educate his students.

Wondering what an educational and family friendly hip hop artist sounds like? Check out Wood’s latest release, “Nursery RhymeZ”. RhymeZweLL says “This album is my debut children’s record.  I really tried to create a hip hop record first and a children’s album second.  With that I mean, I did not want to dumb down my lyrics for the kids, I wanted to make something they could relate to. I use all the same style of beats I would for any hip hop record I was recording whether it were for adults or children. I just chose topics kids would find interesting, as well as parents and myself.  I still think pirates, space, and snow days are awesome so, you can expect a really fun, upbeat album, that both parents and kids can jam out to!”

You gotta hand it to Tucker – his stuff is good. Real good and unlike some of the stuff we’re hearing today, it’s made for a great purpose. RhymeZweLL will be all over the place in the coming months with shows and TV appearances so keep an eye out and sample “Nursery RhymeZ”. There’s a lot more to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: RhymeZweLL – Tucker Wood

PensEyeView.com (PEV): A nursery school teacher and hip hop performer, how would you describe your take on hip hop and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in both hip hop and children’s music?

RhymeZweLL (R): I guess I would describe my take on hip hop as, tried and true hip hop music for kids.  I think it's important to respect how intelligent children are.  They don't need to be played DOWN to, they need to be played to, and that’s what I have done with my record.   I think in the genre of hip hop I stand out because not many artists are making good hip hop that kids can relate to, and in the children’s music world there isn't much GOOD hip hop for kids that isn't watered down and dumbed down.  That's something I really strived to do with Nursery RhymeZ, make a REAL hip hop record, just geared towards kids so they can have some hip hop to relate to.

PEV: Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

R:  My family is a very musical family.  There was, and is, always music playing at my parents house.  I grew up listening to a lot of Beach Boys.  My father had a lot of records and we would always listen to his LP's.  He had a lot of Motown and Soul, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder.  Even to this day one of my favorite records is the Blues Brothers Soundtrack.  I still listen to that record all the time.  As for my main influence in the hip hop world, I couldn't really say if I had a favorite.  I got swept up in the entire genre, I loved old school Snoop and Dre west coast hip hop with the dog pound, Tupac, NWA.  I also loved Nas,  Gangstarr, Lost Boyz, Biggie.  I really loved it all.  One song that stands out in my life was Hip Hop Hooray, by Naughty by Nature.  I remember hearing that song and getting absolutely obsessed with it.  I taped it off the radio and would pretend I was them, rockin’ it out around my room.  

PEV: Having played in the business for a good time now, what was it like for you when you first started out playing this type of hip hop? Was everyone on board right away?

R:  Everyone in my life has always been extremely supportive of everything i do.  I have always had a devoted following for my adult hip hop shows and could get a great crowd of friends and family to every show I had.  When I made the switch over and played some of my children's hip hop stuff to my friends, they were definitely on board.  I think initially they may have thought, "Wait, your making kids hip hop?"  But once they heard I'm a Pirate they were with it.   Of all my music I have recorded in the past ten years, probably 9 out of 10 of my friends would say I'm a Pirate is their favorite. 

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

R:  I do actually, I recorded the ABC's for my nursery school's end of the year dvd and the parents and kids really went nuts for it.  Their kids would watch the dvd over and over again, so I thought, hmmm maybe I should try another track, and then I'm a Pirate came and it was all over.  Recording really became fun for me again.  There is something about making children's music. It is REALLY FUN.   When I got about halfway done with Nursery RhymeZ, I tested it out at school in my music class and the kids danced like crazy and I knew I had something.

PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live RhymeZweLL show?

R:  Fans can expect a lot of energy.  I move around a lot.  There will be explosions, fireworks, a jumbotron, 27 dudes onstage all with microphones yelling...  Not really, but they can expect a real hip hop show, no gimmicks, just lots of crowd participation, dancing.  Almost every show I have had, a dance party has broken out.  So you never know.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

R:  Rock this crowd!

PEV: What do most parents think when they see someone incorporating hip hop and rap into positive learning for their children?

R:  I think they are into it.  I have had a tremendous amount of positive feedback from parents at my school and around the area.  I think this generation of parents grew up with hip hop as a primary genre of music.  So to be able to share hip hop with your kids is something they have embraced and they are all really supportive of what I am doing.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

R:  Almost every song from Nursery RhymeZ is taken directly from interactions with kids at school.  They provide the most amazing inspiration for me personally because they are so open to everything and so open to learning.  I pay very close attention to what they say to each other and to me and I use that when creating my songs.  Certain situations we have at school provide inspiration and opportunities for me to teach something, for example, in the track It's a Snowday. The bridge says, "Snow pants, boots, jacket and hat, finish with your mittens, and that will be that."   This is an ongoing struggle to get a class ready to play outside and there really is a specific order to dressing.  The children repeat this rhyme while getting ready and it really expedites the process.  And I'm sure any parent can agree, it IS A PROCESS.

PEV: Tell us about your latest release, "Nursery RhymeZ". What can fans expect from this work?

R:  This album is my debut children’s record.  I really tried to create a hip hop record first and a children’s album second.  With that I mean, I did not want to dumb down my lyrics for the kids, I wanted to make something they could relate to.  I use all the same style of beats I would for any hip hop record I was recording whether it were for adults or children.  I just chose topics kids would find interesting, as well as, parents and myself.  I still think pirates, space, and snow days are awesome so, you can expect a really fun, upbeat album that both parents and kids can jam out to!

PEV: What has been the most surprising thing that has come from sharing your music?

R:  I guess the most surprising thing would be the way the kids absorb it like sponges.  Daily, I have kids singing lyrics from my songs at school, and talking to me about my music.  It's really amazing just how intelligent these kids are and also just how receptive they can be.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about RhymeZweLL?

R:  I play the bagpipes.  That's probably pretty surprising. 

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music along with teaching was going to be a career for you?

R:  I can remember being in high school and taking an Early Childhood Education Class and absolutely loving it.  We got to intern at a day care and I really loved being with the children.  They have such a refreshing and innocent look at life, it really is awesome.  I knew then that I would probably do something with teaching, that is of course if my career in the NBA didn't pan out.    As far as music is concerned I have always been making music almost my whole life and to be able to STILL be doing that, and making a little money from it is pretty great.  I always dreamed of being famous and in a band or something, so it’s nice to be doing it for real.  Not that I am even remotely famous but...     

PEV: What one word best describes RhymeZweLL?


PEV: Not that we condone fighting whatsoever, but who would win in a fight, you or the Wiggles?... Tell me, it’s you!

R:  Come on with that question!  It’s not even a contest, with my years of beating up children’s musicians, it would be nothing to take on the Wiggles in true Karate style!

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

R:  I would love to go overseas and rock out in Europe.  I think they are very receptive and supportive of American hip hop over there, so it would probably be a great time.  Also it would be nice to get to California.  With the 4 feet of snow we have here, i think i could handle some 75 degree weather right about now!

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? 

R:  They have been extremely supportive of me in all my endeavors.  My parents get to almost every show I have, and always want to hear my new songs.  It’s really amazing just how supportive they are.  Thank you so much Mom, Dad, Mac, Cami, Lauren, Dean, Bobby, Wooves!!  Love you guys, here's your shout out!!!

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

R:  Good question, aside from making music, you can find me cooking.  I love to cook.  I also enjoy being out taking photographs; one of my favorite hobbies is Photography.  I love spending time with friends and family, and watching movies, listening to music and just generally enjoying my life with the people I love.   

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

R:  You should check out Flooky and the Beans.  They have a really cool concept behind their band, and they make great music for children. www.flooky.com. Also one other to look for is Little Groove - Sarah Wheeler she teaches music classes all around Boston and makes great music for kids.  www.littlegroove.com

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

R: Man that is a great question.  I would love to own a local little breakfast place.  I LOVE breakfast.  I could see myself owning a spot like that, again, if my NBA career didn't work out!   

PEV: So, what is next for RhymeZweLL?

R: What's next for RhymeZweLL is a bunch of shows, some TV performances, and general promotion of my new record Nursery RhymeZ.  I am currently halfway done with my second kids record so I’ll be busy recording the rest of that as well.  Got some music videos in the works and who knows maybe a tour. Hopefully a record contract with a huge signing bonus.  You know, the usual.  But for now, Nursery RhymeZ is out for digital download on Amazon and iTunes.  Physical copies can be purchased from my website www.RhymeZweLL.com or from CDBABY.com.  Also my cd release party is Sat. February 12th, 2011 in Newton, MA.  details are on my website.  So busy!


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