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New Voices: 'Woody vs. Papi'

We talk to one-half of the podcast, Ismaila Traore, about the inspiration behind and mission of his show.

'New Voices' is a weekly column, released every Tuesday, that highlights the trailblazers in the growing podcast industry.

There's no doubt that we are, across the board, experiencing some very transformative years. As both media and entertainment industries move toward a more innovative approach to keep the interest of their youth-driven audience, the internet has led in the evolution. The rapid progression from dial-up to WiFi experienced by millennials has ushered in a new era of radical pioneers that "hold no punches." And these days, there is an outlet for anyone to share their opinion, but seldom do commentators add value to these conversations. In a world where we tightrope between fact and fiction, the rise of podcasts like Woody vs. Papi provide checks and balances for the culture.

In June 2016, two tastemakers and good friends, Ismaila Traore (Woody) and Christopher Chance (Papi), started their podcast Woody vs. Papi. The two spend time discussing music, fashion, business, and politics as applied to their daily experiences, and their living in New York City adds a unique perspective as plenty of events and highlight moments happen there.

Traore brings extra intrigue in each dialogue as he blends historical context with current events to make points that press the need for legacy within the culture. And REVOLT TV got the chance to learn more about the purpose and importance of a podcast like this through his perspective. Read the interview below.

How do you define "the culture"?

It's straight-forward for me: just personal interactions with day-to-day tasks. 'The culture; that we are in is just a niche example of what I just explained.

What added value does your podcast bring to "the culture"?

We walk the line of knowing the ins and outs of what's going on on both ends of the spectrum. We give insight from just a fan's perspective on the arts or [on] sports, and the knowledge from the side of the creator, as well—without it feeling like gossip. I have to thank people like Tremaine Emory, creator of No Vacancy Inn, who indirectly showed me. You can speak on things you're doing to let someone in, and also educate them at the door, as well. So our podcast is very welcoming.

Where do you find your subjects for the podcast?

Real life. And just the culture and current events seem to call out to us sometimes. Even more, Chris might ask a question or text me something so crazy I just know I have to explain it or speak on it during the podcast. It's a responsibility. Knowing I can explain things that have happened or knowing a better perspective on something that transpired, it's almost like jet fuel to speak on things that us humans think about briefly during the day.

Why is developing and highlighting history important to you?

Because we seem to forget everything we do is archived whether it be a picture, video, or even this interview. It's about understanding we are just as important as things you learn in school growing up. So I choose to take the high ground and know that these stories will be told again. I want to make sure I can say my piece on what I observed. People always seem to say 'I never saw it that way' because I never forget small pieces of huge storylines that make it worth telling. So, with that, I know if I can get people on board with certain concepts [then] our history may not be disrespected and [can be] considered one that made sense, looking back after it's all said and done for our generation.

What legacy do you want to leave with this podcast?

We all are going to die one day. And I love history. I briefly went to school for it. I love anthropology and I love the thought process of leaving a legacy through doing things and leaving a mark on whatever field you're in. I'm not an athlete, but culture is my sport. I do it for my legacy and for people who are growing up the same way I did who might not be equipped to pursue their dreams within our creative space the way someone privileged can. So, hopefully, when I die, my code I worked to live by and maintain will be someone else's guideline to continue a certain type of mantra that us 'creative people' live by.

When did you decide launching Coral Radio was an integral business move for your brand?

I don't rap. I'm not some executive. But I've realized [that] when you do acquire power it's best you learn to create platforms to go further and to push your story line further. And, ultimately, me and my guy Henrik Hiort are problem-solvers. We don't listen to radio. I don't like what I hear on it. Most of it is presented by labels doing things I don't care to speak on. So I figured, let's empower each other and do things for us, by us [laughs].

What is the mission of Coral Radio?

Why take my podcast to a network when I can create my own? [And] tell a more relatable story and create channels that people have chosen rather the other way around? There are people who know what they want to hear when they listen to any form of radio. They want 'the real.' Not the commercial hits all the time. And some real dialogue. And that's where my participation comes in. So I want to be inclusive and get unknown music and music that is championed within our culture; a platform that's easy to use and fun to just turn on and go.

'New Voices' is a weekly column, released every Tuesday, that highlights the trailblazers in the growing podcast industry.

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