Copywrite is an underground hip-hop artist from Columbus, Ohio. Copywrite emerged onto the independent hip-hop scene in 1998 along with his group “MHz” with a debut single on the legendary Fondle ‘em Records, entitled “World Premier”. Since then he has worked with the High and Mighty, Royce Da 59, Dilated Peoples, Inspecta Deck, Sean Price as well a heavyweight producers like Jay Dee (J Dilla), RJD2, Jake One and J-Zone. He is a talented emcee who has worked with a cadre of UK artists including Mystro, Rhyme Asylum, Loudmouth Melvin, Skillit, Sarah Love and Sam Khan.
This is his first full length since his 2010 release The Life and Times of Peter Nelson and is released on Man Bites Dog records on the 13th of June. Its seventeen tracks long with only one interlude and a whole host of emcees and producers on board. In fact every track features a number of other emcees and a variety of producers.
The album kicks off with a track called Year of the Gun produced by Wu Tanger Bronze Nazareth and featuring Killah Priest, Inspecta Deck and Bigz Flygerian. The beat is mellow with a soulful vocal sample throughout and some nice strings. All four emcees drop lyrical gems with Deck and Copywrite coming out the strongest but Killah Priest and Flygerian still hold their own. The second joint features LA native Crooked I alongside West London native Iron Braydz over a Surock produced joint. Serious battle rhymes over this harpsichord beat. All three emcees spit fire on this one with lines like “It’s like surviving an avalanche to die in the ambulance” and “I did’nt lose my mind I purposely misplaced it”.
The third track is an interlude with UK DJ Sarah Love telling us about the album and how it features a host of UK emcees which to be honest I would expect most people who listen to this would already know. The fourth track is Troop jackets and features BCC All Star Sean Price and UK emcees SAS. The beat is provided by Kount Fif and samples the Labi Siffre classic I got the Blues with an additional guitar sample thrown in for good measure. Copywrite once again shows off his lyrical skilss with intricate rhymes, Sean Price does exactly what you want him to do with boisterous rhymes and SAS represents London nicely.
The next joint features someone called Context and Jason Rose produces the beat. It’s a slower paced track featuring an uninspiring sample and although both emcees represent nicely the beat detracts from their obvious skills making the track tiresome and boring. Track six features one of my favporite rappers, Royce Da 59 and South London rapper Genesis Elijah. The beat features a crisp snare with some nice strings but it’s the emcees who stand out here. Copywrite spits “I’ll put you in a box for Eternity like Calvin Klein” alongside Royce telling us that “Give me a track and I give it back in an Urn”. However its not just the US emcees that represent on this joint Genesis Elijah makes us South Londoners proud with a dope 16 bars. A very strong track for those of us who like our lyrics strong.
J.O.Y. is up next featuring one of my favorite indie emcees Torae and a vocalist called Jason Rose who also produces the track. The beat features an of kilter piano and some nice snares alongside some singing from Jason Rose which at first I didn’t like but after a few listens it grew on me. Torae and Copywrite drop some nice lyrics with intricate word play. A surprisingly enjoyable track. Jason Rose also produces the next track, Got Myself. Which is a snappy joint with a nice piano loop and light drum paradiddle throughout. Lyrically we have Gillie the Kidd and Sinister Daniro joining Copywrite this time with pretty much run of the mill lyrics but this highlight’s above average lyrics.
More Sorrow is a mellow joint paying homage to those who have left us produced by Stu Bangas. Lyrically it works well to express the emcee’s grief and the beat is mellow but the sung chorus grates and detracts from the track. Without the singing the track would have been better instead the singing ends up cheapening the track. Copywrite and Illogic represent well but Don Jaga’s sing is misplaced. Yo MTV Rap (Money for Nuthin) is another Jason Rose produced joint which he also lays down some vocals on. I have a problem with this track as its just a poor rip off of Dire Straits and from what I have heard on the album this is below par for both Copywrite and Jaosn Rose. A bad idea in my opinion that should never have been allowed to get this far.
Golden State (of Mind) is a superb tribute to LA featuring LA legends Casual, Evidence and Roc Marciano over a Vanderslice beat reminiscent of the West Coat indie heyday of the late 90s. A very enjoyable slower paced joint featuring a good beat, some nice scratches and strong lyrics from all four emcees. Illogic joins Copywrite again for the Marco Polo produced Opium Prodigies. This is classic East Coast Boom Bap with two talented emcees spitting intrcicate rhymes that will fly over the head of your average Lil Wayne fan. Lines like “ Use reason and logic and stop using Reason and Logik” impress me and also show me who this album is aimed at, straight up B-Boys. Killah Priest returns for the Jaguar Skills produced track Arachnophobia this time with Lord Basis and Melanin 9. It’s a faster paced joint that the majority of the album and all emcees perform well. The beat sounds like its sampling some orchestral strings with a nice crisp snare.
The fourteenth track of the album, Starter Hats is produced by Kount Fif and features Sonny Seeza and Akalla on the mic alongside Copywrite. The beat is nice and features samples that sound like they could have been lifted from a mid 70s cop show. Again the UK lyricists represent these shores skillfully alongside their US counterparts. The beat works well and so do the emcees to produce a dope track. G$K is the fifteenth track on the album and is another Stu Bangas produced joint. It features a lovely vocal sample running throughout and touching lyrics from UK emcee Dru Blu alongside Jason Rose’s singing again. However this time the singing works well as its not too intrusive and adds to the tune rather than detract from it. Copywrite rhymes well as per usual but then I would expect nothing less form this talented emcee.
The penultimate track of the album, Still Pickin sees Sean Price return this time with UK legend Mystro and Dom with Kount Fif behind the boards. The beat is nice with a xylophone sample and some dusty drums. All emcees show their own personalities in their rhymes providing interesting and at times funny metaphors. Another strong track. The album ends with an eight and a half opus called A Talk with Jesus produced by Poetiq Beatz. This track is has Copywrite on his own and shows him being very personal in his rhymes. Talking about the loss of his parents and his relationship with religion. A skillful track where the second verse sees him acting out a conversation with God where he provides both sides of the conversation. An interesting concept handled well. The album ends with Illogic giving a brief summary of Ohio Hip-Hop.
All in all a very strong Hip Hop album. It’s not ground breaking musically but then again I don’t always want that. It provides strong Boom Bap beats that sound great in my car with interesting talented lyricists. Copywrite has always been a great lyricist who has earned his underground stripes but with this album he has shown his respect for UK hip-hop by including so many of the dopest UK emcees. A few of the tracks could have been dropped which would have made it a stronger album and I would have liked to hear more of Copywrite on his own being more personal as some of his best work ever has been when he has shown his own life through his rhymes (the phenomenal June from RjD2’s first album is a fantastic example of this). However that said he is a talented battle emcees who uses detailed metaphors and snappy punch lines all over this album. The list of guests help to make this a good strong album. Easily a four out of five.
Year of The Gun ft Killah Priest, Inspectah Deck & Bigz Flygerian prod by Bronze Nazareth
Crooked Coppers ft Crooked I & Iron Braydz prod by Surock
Love from Sarah (PSA) ft DJ Sarah Love
Troop Jackets ft Sean Price & SAS prod by Kount Fif
Ghost in the Machine ft Context prod by Jason Rose
Overdose ft Royce da 5 9 & Genesis Elijah prod Curtiss King
J.O.Y. ft Torae & Jason Rose prod Jason Rose
Got Myself ft Gillie The Kid & Sinista Daniro prod by Jason Rose
More Sorrow ft Illogic & Don Jaga prod by Stu Bangas
Yo! MTV Raps! (Money for Nothin’) ft Jason Rose prod by Jason Rose
Golden State (of Mind) ft Casual, Evidence, & Roc Marciano prod by Vanderslice
Opium Prodigies ft Illogic prod by Marco Polo
Arachnaphobia ft Killah Priest, Lord Basis & Melanin 9 prod by Jaguar Skills
Starter Hats ft Sonny Seeza (Onyx) & Akala prod by Kount Fif
G$K ft Dru Blu & Jason Rose prod by Stu Bangas
Still Pickin ft Sean Price, Mystro & Dom prod by Kount Fif
A Talk with Jesus prod by Poetiq Beetz