Wordsmith Jumps “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
Earlier this week, we jumped In the Mix with A&E (Masta Ace and EDO G), a pair of rap veterans who recently teamed up to drop their Arts & Entertainment LP. For the 15th entry in our Booth-exclusive interview series, we're giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at Wordsmith, the Baltimore up-and-comer last seen on single "Soul Baby Blues."
Since making his mixtape debut with '05's Statements & Stipulations, Wordsmith has established himself as a major player in both the musical and business spheres of the industry; in addition to dropping numerous strong street releases of his own, the emcee's crafted radio jingles (for former 103.9/OC 104 on air personality Poot) and video game themes (for Wii title MadWorld), hosted a podcast (Revolt Radio) and launched his own entertainment company (Nu Revolution). The enterprising rapper's latest musical project, set to hit stores next week, finds Word and veteran emcee Chubb Rock Bridging the Gap between old and new-school hip-hop.
In this exclusive, five-question interview, Wordsmith steps into the Booth to discuss the Talib Kweli comparisons that surrounded him early in his career, the honor of working with a heavyweight like Chubb Rock and the meaning behind the title of his forthcoming mixtape, Overdue & Underrated.
Early in your career you were compared closely to Talib Kweli. Since your first release in 2006, do you feel you’ve done enough to be known strictly as Wordsmith?
Wordsmith: I believe so. I never really took the comparison the wrong way because [Talib] is a respected artist and lyricist. Still, I've always felt like I am the more versatile artist. I strive to make music for the world and not just the Hip-Hop culture. I can't do anything about how my voice sounds, but I feel after releasing numerous projects over the past few years, I have distinguished my own identity.
The Chubb Rock collaborative project, Bridging The Gap, is in stores next week. What was it like to work with a veteran emcee whose work spans two full decades?
Wordsmith: It was an honor. Chubb actually came at me about doing this project, so that made it that much sweeter. When you're young and you see these larger then life rappers on Yo MTV Raps or The Box, you never imagine you will meet them or in my case work with them. Chubb is a true legend/pioneer in this game as he was apart of the time period that helped keep Hip-Hop alive when most critics said it was a fad. To have Chubb feel like I can carry the torch in this game truly blows my mind, but I think our album will prove his judgment to be correct. We literally had to bridge the gap when making this album.
Your forthcoming mixtape is entitled, The Overdue & Underrated. Are there any hidden meanings behind this title, or, is it self-explanatory?
Wordsmith: I think its self-explanatory, but that is just my view of myself; its up to the consumer to decide differently. I think every hardworking artist believes their time is now and that another artist is getting more shine then him. I am also speaking for my fellow independent artists out there. Hopefully, my music continues to find its way into households, iPods, flash drives, mp3 players and stereos around the world.
It seems as though you are always working on a number of LPs and mixtapes simultaneously. Do you find it difficult to continually release material?
Wordsmith: I am lucky to have done my research and put together a portable home studio that allows me to record new tracks and do radio drops when needed. Hip-Hop is the most competitive form of music as Rock artists, Pop artists, country artists etc. don't have to continually release music to stay relevant. For some reason Hip-Hop has that stamp on it, so not only do you need to put out tracks at least every two weeks or monthly, they need to be quality so people latch on to you.
As an independent artist you have hustled to create opportunities for your music overseas and in various video games soundtracks. What is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered, while attempting to expose your music to the world?
Wordsmith: Just getting people to listen and take this craft seriously. There is an enormous about of MC's out there, but only a handful are making true business moves on there own. I learned early that as an independent artist you have to be a business man first and an artist second. Unless you have a label behind you, your on your own with expanding your name and business. I have been thankful my music has allowed me to gain major deals in the US and overseas equally.