My initial exposure to Copywrite was not a good one. The first bars I ever heard him spit were two diss tracks towards Asher Roth. While those songs showed that he has a dexterity for rhyming, I just couldn’t hop on board with someone who instigates a beef for the sole reason that they are both white, and one has more shine than the other (deservedly or not). To me, there are so many talented rappers out there that there is no reason to spend time listening to someone who’s personality you aren’t feeling. Despite the fact that I am not an Asher Roth fan in the least bit, the bitterness and jealousy exhibited in those two youtube tracks allowed me to easily erase Copywrite completely from my radar for around two years. Yet over the past month or so, I started seeing his name pop up again, and instead of in reference to some lame ass beef, it was to promote an album that featured some of my favorite MC’s and Producers. The Life and Times of Peter Nelson features Sean Price, Crooked I, Planet Asia, Dilated Peoples, and MF Grimm among others, and is produced by the likes of RJD2, !llmind, Kyhrysis, and DJ Rhettmatic. With a line up like that standing beside an MC, it’s hard not to be interested. Additionally having so many respected artists work with him made me think that my limited exposure to Copywrite didn’t do justice to what he has to offer. There had to be something they saw/heard in him that I didn’t, and after listening to the new album, the appeal now makes a lot more sense.
As the title suggests, The Life and Times of Peter Nelson, is an extremely personal record that pairs top notch lyricism with deep introspection about life, friends, families, relationships, substance abuse, and a slew of other topics. It seems like in approaching this album Copywrite knew that he had a reputation for being an asshole, and he was going to use this opportunity to explain to his audience the shit that he’s been through that has made him that way. He’s not apologetic, but tracks like “Forever and a Day” ft. Middle Distance Runner and produced by RJD2, “Three Story Building” ft. Dilated Peoples and MF Grimm and produced by Twiz The Beat Pro, and “Mother May I” produced by !llmind paint a vivid picture of the difficult and struggle filled upbringing of a white, lower-middle class child, raised by a single mother. Yet the best insight on what makes Copywrite the man he is today has to be “Confessional”, produced by Rob Stern, which also happens to be my favorite track on the album. The melancholy horns and flute in the instrumental set the perfect tone for Copy’s subject matter, in which he addresses the recent death of both parents, the illness of his grandparents, his own struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, and the fact that his personality has lead him into countless confrontations, many of which being physical. It’s one of the most unabashed and open verbal performances I’ve heard this year, matched with the perfect balance of lyricism that stays away from being cryptic so that the stories and points can be heard and understood in their entirety. Yet it must be said that while I enjoyed the candidness of much of Copywrite’s subject matter, there is a ton of the self loathing on this album that has almost become stereotypical of white rappers. The nonstop talk of suicide and wishing he was dead gets redundant. If that’s how he really feels, obviously I fully support him rapping about it rather than actually killing himself, but as a listener the statements about wanting to die get boring and lose their gravity after having to hear about it again and again for nearly an hour and a half.