UK Hip Hop legend Wordsmith is a week away from the release of his second album In Pursuit of Harmony. 18 tracks of pure goodness that will easily be one of the UK albums of the year can be yours in 7 days. In the meantime, check out what the man himself has to say about it and some other things (including his US namesake, his new label, the album's guestlist and his social involvement):
Certified Banger: Yo Wordsmith! What’ve you been up to for the last couple of years?
Wordsmith: To be honest, just working hard on my grind, trying to make ends meet and get some music out there.
CB: So your album is going to be out soon, tell us some more about that – a lot of people are anticipating it. What can we expect?
Wordsmith: The official release date is March 2nd. It's been a long time in the making but on the whole its 18 of my favorite tracks. All in all it’s a solid piece of work and big steps have been made since my earlier releases. S**t’s Banging. Buy It!
CB: Do you have any guests on there? Who has done the production?
Wordsmith: Expect a few notable appearances from the likes of Genesis Elijah, Supar Novar, Dubbledge and Skribblah, plus a look at F.L.I.P family member Big Ben. Production is heavy from Show n Prove, Apa-Tight, Chemo and Caruana and my tour DJ Race provides all the cuts. Coalition Business indeed!
CB: Which tracks should we look out for particularly? Which are your favourite?
Wordsmith: Apart from the party joint ‘Slip and Slide’ and the 12" track 'They Don't Seem To Care', my personal favorite is ‘The Bad Guy’, produced by Show n Prove. It addresses some of the issues I have had to deal with and the attitudes towards me. It's a no holds barred track, love me or hate me, I'm here to stay… so f***k you. Also take a look at ‘The Coalition’ just for sheer weight of numbers and talent.
CB: Is it coming out on Son or have you moved label? Can you discuss that?
Wordsmith: Son records feels like a long time ago, are they even still releasing s**t? Apart from my past catalogue that is?! Nah for real… I severed ties with them and now I'm with up and coming label Def Ethics. They used run Hip Hop down in Brighton and featured some heavy US artists like Tim Dog and KRS. They took me and Genesis on tour and after that I signed a deal for this album. So there you have it, trust me they have big plans for the future!
CB: You’ve achieved something near to legendary status in the UK without having flooded the market with product. With fewer releases than a lot of artists, how do you think you have managed that?
Wordsmith: You know what… I've had a few high profile collabs and affiliations that helped project me into the spotlight. My music was always aimed at the underground and apart from ‘The Roadman Showcase’ I featured on loadsa different mixtapes. It ain't an ego ting but I always felt I came with something different to all the other heads on the scene. I'm glad people appreciated that, I've always been my own man, I spit the shit I'd wanna listen to.
CB: Do you know about the Wordsmith from the US? He’s just signed a distribution deal with Dented to release material in the UK. Is the fact that you share a name going to be a problem? What’s going to happen there?
Wordsmith: No comment. But A.P's name might crop up in a lyric or two. The irony is at one point Dented were gonna be handling my distribution – now that would've been confusing.
CB: On the lead track of your 12” EP ‘They Don’t Seem To Care’ you talk about certain social issues that really need tackling nationwide. How can we, as a country, continue to tackle the issue of lost childhood and all that goes with it?
Wordsmith: More needs to be done for sure. I work with kids and see how detached and despondent they can get when there are troubles at home or in school. Music and sport are great tools to help motivate and focus young minds. I'm just trying to connect with the youth by sharing my own life experiences. I feel like I've been down a lot of the same roads and made it out the other side, while a lot of my friends haven't. I don't believe any child is inherently bad they just need pointing in the right direction. Violence and weapons are a whole separate story. The government needs to stand up and deal with it before it gets outta control. We as public entertainers have an opportunity and responsibility to discuss these problems! ‘Never Would've Thought’ off the first EP is F.L.I.P’s message about the negativity of violence and gun crime.
CB: You obviously aren’t afraid to tackle a range of issues. What should the balance be in Hip Hop – all party? All serious? How do you feel as an artist who does both side by side?
Wordsmith: I like diversity, in my opinion you can like De La Soul and Necro. There's a time in life for fun and a time to take note. I wanna do songs that encompass both. Hip Hop gives me the chance to relay a whole lot of information in just one verse, so on an 18 track album this was my chance to cover all the angles. I'm never gonna be a one dimensional rapper.
CB: You never seem to resort to half-arsed rhymes. How long does it take you to write and perfect a track? Are you a perfectionist?
Wordsmith: Definitely a perfectionist, some of the tunes were written on the spot in the studio whereas others can take time. I'm kinda erratic, but when I'm in a zone a sick 16 bars can take a few minutes. If it aint right then I'm the first to notice, I take it away and work at it until I'm happy.
CB: I’ve heard you’ve got another album’s worth of material ready to go. Can you give us any more details on that?
Wordsmith: A collection of rare and unreleased tunes will be dropping shortly after the album called 'The Roadman Chronicles’. It's a bit more raw than the album. The bars are fire. Production from all the usual suspects with a couple a gems on there, trust me.
CB: What are you going to be up to once the album is released? A tour? Singles? Featuring on other tracks?
Wordsmith: All of the above in abundance. Keep your eyes on my blogspot for more tour dates and releases.
CB: Finish us off with some wisdom you’d like to impart to a people group of your choice. Also add in any big ups and plugs!
Wordsmith: I called the album ‘In Pursuit of Harmony’ because its all about balance. For any up and coming artists: work hard, don't take no for an answer, hone your skills as practice makes perfect. Be yourself and follow your own path. Focus on the originality you have within yourself… Big ups go to all the contributors to the album and Def Ethics for putting it all together. Also my little boy Kaylen for keeping me focused.
‘In Pursuit Of Harmony’ – Go buy dat!