The Columbus based MC, self declared “Ohio’s Mike Myers” and battle-hardened rapper Copywrite has released his fourth studio album – God Save the King (Proper English Version).
Don’t be fooled by the album title, it doesn’t allude to his new-found Christian faith. In fact, the content of GSTK, excluding one or two tracks, is grittier than what you’d expect from a 2012 release. Raw, sometimes chorus free tracks, such as Year of The Gun and Starter Hats showcase his lyrical ability while songs like Crooked Coppers highlight Peter “Copywrite” Nelson’s battle-rap acquired knack for punchlines and great delivery.
Winner of the "Best Lyricist" title at The Ohio Hip Hop Awards ’11, Copywrite doesn’t disappoint lyrically.
In Troop Jackets, Nelson tackles the cliché “white rappers have it harder” by toying with being an Eminem rebore, “Maybe I’ll die my hair blonde and rhyme to Dre productions”. Ironically displaying Marshall Mathers –like lighthearted self criticism, he switches between comical and sinister wordplay, dropping the line “They don’t know what’s in my trunk could kill and it goes off it(at) Will like Uncle Phil” elsewhere on the EP.
Track number 3 is a massive co-sign by Hip-Hop connoisseur, DJ Sarah Love. She points out the crazy UK/US features such as Royce da 5’9/Genesis Elijah(Brixton) and Crooked I/Iron Braydz(Harlesden).
While you have to applaud Copywrite’s transatlantic bridging collabs, at times it all feels laid on a wee bit too thick. There are features on almost every song, allowing only a verse or so for Copywrite to really show out on his own album. This is especially disappointing as the Ohio rapper is a long-established underground favourite and doesn’t need the validation that constant heavyweight collabs bring. This is more a new artist manoeuvre.
Nevertheless, the record moves on. Strong production is consistent throughout, a standout being Surock who brings to the table a beat in the same vein as Just Blaze’s ‘Lord Knows’.
A randomly placed gruff political reminder, “Vote for Obama you b****” – (Sean Price) and stories of perseverance make up the rest of Troop Jackets.
Ghosts in The Machine comes next, sounding more like a Context release but with strong bars from both rappers , a warning to haters who “hide behind their keyboards”. It’s followed by Overdose – an appearance from Brixton’s own, Genesis Elijah.
God Save the King (Proper English Version) then takes a much needed turn as it switches the vibe up with J.O.Y. Kicking in with blues-y vocals by Jason Rose, Copywrite reflects on the death of his parents, fueds and other dark times in his career.
The laidback chilled songs continue on to More Sorrow which does as it says on the tin, an ode to lost loved ones. The track also serves as one of the few Christian rap songs on the EP featuring Illogic and a thought-provoking quote - “everybody is an atheist until tragedy happens”.
A few album fillers follow. An electric guitar driven tune that namechecks several MTV shows.. Yo! MTV Raps! (Money for Nothin') & Golden State (of Mind) seemingly just a track praising Cali don’t really add much to the album overall.
GSTK wraps up with A Talk With Jesus, an honest insight into where Peter Nelson’s mindframe is now. By far the most religious song on the EP, the track is produced by Poetiq Beetz and includes a B.I.G sample “born sinner, the opposite of a winner” over which he literally has a conversation with a Godly figure.
Peter Nelson or Copywrite is adamant that he doesn’t want his new Christian fans to buy this album, and from the hardcore content, I wholly agree.
“If your girl was chillin with me she must’ve kissed my..“ ahem! – G$K.
For his typical fanbase, this is probably the last full release we will have from Copywrite in which God-laden references won’t be shoved down your throat. Consider it a bridge album.
For fans of straight up, no frills, lyricism and good hip-hop, this is one of the most well-rounded EPs this year.
God Save the King (Proper English Version) releases on Man Bites Dog Records 7th August 2012
Written by Louisa Chengo.