One of the most under-rated (or highly rated, depending on the circle you move in) rappers on this earth is the man that so nearly could have been Eminem, but instead went on to be Christian.
Copywrite of Ohio (real name Peter Nelson) came about just at the same time as Eminem. Despite some remarkable similarities in both style and background, Copywrite continued along within the underground scene whilst Eminem has rocketed through the mainstream.
Through skill and passion Copywrite has gone on to make a great career for himself in the hip hop industry. Now, with a never-been-done-before UK-US crossover album coming out (God Save The King – Proper English Version dropping July 24th on Man Bites Dog Records) where he works with English MCs from Mystro to Dru Blu, English producerslike Jaguar Skils, and gives a skit for our DJ Sarah Love, as well as a range of US stars like Killah Priest, Sean Price and Royce Da 5'9, Copywrite dropped in for a chat with Jazz Gill to discuss UK rap, Eminem and his lovefor Jesus.
Jazz: Hello Copywrite! As your reputation is now growing in the UK everyday, tell us how you came
about creating an album with such a UK-US collaboration appeal to it?
Copywrite: I just wanted to create something that told my fans, ‘Hey, if you like my stuff, check out
these guys too’. I have always enjoyed British music, I have always been a fan of The Sex Pistols.
Because a lot of my fans may have never really listened to Bigz Flygerian or Akala before. I have
always been big on collaborating, ever since I started. So with this, I just wanted to get some of the
dope UK MC’s that I respect on my album.
Jazz: Did you have to tailor your music to suit a UK audience?
Copywrite: Nah man, I just make music I like and if other people like it or whatever, that is cool. I
never set out thinking ‘I want to do this on this album’. I never know what I am going to do. This all
just happened organically.
Jazz: The album has a very open and sincere spiritual vibe to it, something unseen in hip hop since
DMX prayed openly on record. What brought this new vibe on?
Copywrite: I have always been a Christian, since like 16. But last year the Holy Spirit was just tugging
at me and I finally gave in to my own will. It just got to a point where I couldn’t and didn’t want to
run from it anymore. It was just something I wanted to put out there because at one point I was scared
of what people would think of me. A lot of people out there may believe in Jesus but they are worried
about what people will think. But it just got to a point where I didn’t care and I thought me saying
something may help other people feel OK with doing it too.
Jazz: What about the difficulties of mixing the two very different worlds of rap and religion? Have you
faced any backlash from either side?
Copywrite: No I haven’t. In fact, the feedback I have gotten has been really positive. People have
told me they have been encouraged by my words to be open about their beliefs too. I have always had
negativity throughout my career, people really love to hate on me for some reason but I am used to
it, so it helped me come out with being a Christian because I have been hated on my whole life, so I
would rather people hate on me for Jesus then anything else.
Jazz: Stylistically, you are a very aggressive rapper that often likes to come at people. How do you
incorporate this style with your Christian beliefs?
Copywrite: If you look at my song Starters Hats from the album you may notice or not that I did not
swear once during the track, yet I bodied it. I enjoyed that. I mean, it is easy to say a bunch of raunchy
stuff and get props for it. But by doing something that people may not want to hear and putting it in a
way where they will want to hear it, even nonbelievers that may not believe in Jesus Christ, that is a
real challenge. I know that people will be like, ‘why do I want to hear a guy talk about Jesus’, but if
they listen, I know people will feel it.
Jazz: Does this mean it is the end of the days when you and Asher Roth would go at each other?
Copywrite: That was like three years ago but it feels like six looking back. It was never anything
personal, I am sure he is a nice guy. I was just irritated at the time because here is this guy – and I
know he didn’t want to do it because no one wants to be a clone – but he is pushed by his management
into trying to sound like Eminem, putting on a Eminem voice and trying to be him, except he does not
have the skills to do it! I don’t have anything against him as a person but can he rap? No!
Jazz: So you mentioned Eminem there. Eminem and yourself came into prominence right around the
same time. What was it like for you watching him come through as you were doing the same thing?
Copywrite: I would just look at this guy like WOW, you just stole my life. I feel if the right people
looked at me, or if Eminem had never come about, I could be in his spot right now. Would I want the
Eminem life? No! I have never wanted to be that mainstream, to where you can’t even go to a local
shopping centre or board a plane. But we have a lot in common. We both flunked the 9th grade three
times before dropping out of school. We both have mothers that battled addiction. We both were the
only white kids in all black neighbourhoods, schools and groups. So watching him come through was
just weird at the time.
Jazz; How did Eminem blowing change the world of white rappers?
Copywrite: It did a lot of good and a lot of bad. People may have always compared me and other white
rappers since to Eminem but it is better then being compared to the white rapper before him, Vanilla
Ice. But it also made a lot of big record labels make bad mistakes. Record labels have bad ears, they
don’t know what to look out for. I remember a guy called Hot Karl (*anyone unaware of what Hot Karl
means to an American, please do not google it!) being signed up by Interscope and being given a huge
budget for his album. So he kicked a lot of doors down for us but not everything was easier.
Jazz: But now with an album being played all over the UK, fame in America, constant demand for
shows, do you feel you have made it?
Copywrite: Sometimes someone will come to me like ‘I hope you make it man’, thinking in terms of
the mainstream. But maybe because I never expected much, I feel like I have made it. I have been in
the billboard charts, my songs have been in video games, I have been travelling the world since 1999. I
am happy with my level of success.
Jazz: Do you have any final message for our readers, your fans and the world in general?
Copywrite: I may die and go to hell right now but I will never deny Jesus. I am standing by all the
albums I have made as I feel they are all one and the same, just me on a different path. Hollar at me on
twitter - @Copywrite. And I would like to end this with a great big praise the Lord Jesus Christ.
Copywrite ft Dru Blu & Jason Rose "G$K"
Copywrite ft Genesis Elijah, Mystro & Iron Braydz "Royal Flush"
Copywrite ft Royce Da 5'9 & Genesis Elijah