Copywrite is a passionate guy with a lot to get off his chest. Known for his arrogant punchlines, the underground Hip Hop emcee hit a wall years ago, when his strong talents failed to translate to mainstream recognition. Returning home to Columbus, Ohio, the MHz alum delivers his most personal album to date, and experiments with sounds and subjects, but still a chip on his shoulder.
The Life and Times of Peter Nelson, Copy spares no harsh words for all the haters in his life, whether real or imagined. In the process, he employs lucid rhyming and spirited verses over tactful euphemisms and hushed rumination in an attempt to reflect the brutal truth buried deep inside his heart. The result? an album full of truthfulness that brings light to the fractured realism and brutal honesty of art often missing in contemporary Rap music.
“Three Story Building” is a noteworthy track that brings the Columbus native and Dilated Peoples in a cypher that explores their not-so-rosy childhoods. Rakaa shares his experiences watching L.A. hustlers quickly rise and ultimately fall and Evidence explains that life can be quite dangerous on the streets of Venice Beach. Moreover, Copywrite drops rhymes with picture-perfect brevity, revealing the horror of having to starve and getting by with very little as a result of being from a poor Midwestern family. As he eloquently repeats, “Let the beat tell the story for us” if these rappers’ words aren’t enough to evoke the eloquence of poetic realness. “Confessional” is another satisfying cut that finds the battle-hardened emcee giving us more than enough reason as to why rapping comes natural to him. He allows laser-precise words to flow freely from his lips, cutting through the countless accusations of him as being a misogynistic, self-obsessed alcoholic who cannot see past his arrogance. The MHz emcee not only shares the loss of his beloved mother, the hassles of fame and years of substance abuse but also the wisdom earned from years of struggling in a world impervious to compassion and progress. Other standouts include “Mother May I”, a heartfelt ode to the most important woman in his life, “Forever and A Day,” featuring Middle Distance Runner, a nice tribute to the people who are no longer here but have impacted him greatly and, last but not least, “Trooper” featuring Sean Price, a redemption song of sorts that finds Copy and Sean validating their artistic worth even if their fellow peers fear the weight of their lyrical talent and unfettered imagination.
Some missteps do occur on this particular full-length. For example, “Shotgun” is a sorry attempt by the rapper to belittle the brain-dead nature of Hip Hop slow jams, conjuring the memory of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love to describe his particularly volatile relationship with a psychotic female that sounds disingenuous and immature, considering the high level of honesty he’s achieved on other songs. “Bored” is another silly ditty that gives the Ohio “Killa” a chance to get back at all the Internet trolls who have spent too much time giving him hell for living a Rock star-type lifestyle. Thirdly, “Y.O.G.A. Stretch” finds us meeting the Copywrite of old in a dark alleyway, vengeful and obnoxious as ever. His battle rhymes retain their youthful and energetic tone but after listening to other heady joints where he is able to turn sad verses into poetic bliss, it seems a bit hollow and in his very own words, “retarded.”
Copywrite is an intense man who knows how to turn the adversity of his life as a talented-but-tortured rapper into good art, as evidenced by The Life and Times of Peter Nelson. The Columbus, Ohio mic-wrecker shares the heavy pain, rejection and frustration that haunts his psyche in a valiant effort to paint a vivid picture of what Rap music truly is – a genre that rewards listeners the wisdom of reflection, hope and illumination as it does entertain with tales of sexual conquests, violence and material riches. Although the passionate emcee does resort to low-brow attacks and sophomoric analogies when he feels like it, he’s always keeping it trill.