Longing the Return of Variety and Competition
Ask yourself “Do all the songs I hear on the radio sound the same?” Really think about it. Baltimore Rapper Wordsmith thinks that today’s radio music, especially hip-hop, sounds the same. So, he is hoping to inspire a change in the rap game that will eventually bring back that variety that he so fondly remembers. “I loved the competition of hip-hop which I feel doesn’t exist today…back then no one wanted to sound the same,” he confessed.
Early Life: Germany and Football
Wordsmith has a background quite different from most artists. The rapper was born in Germany while his father was stationed there. Growing up, he did enjoy music. He described himself as “that crazy kid that was saving his lunch money, starving himself at school, just so I could buy a brand new tape every week.”
However, at the time, music still was not Wordsmith’s main focus. In fact, it wasn’t even his second focus. He focused almost totally on football. He received a full-ride scholarship to play football at Morgan State and Salisbury University. Also during that time, theater became a focus for Wordsmith. Consequently, he made the decision to double major in theater arts and television production. His focus did not shift to music until he was not selected for the graduate acting program at Penn State University. However, the future lyricists did not let that phase him.
“Needless to say, I didn’t make it. But, I told myself if I didn’t get in I’ll focus on music full-time.”
Discovering Music was His Purpose
And “focus on music full-time” is just what the musician did. He also proved that age is just a number. At almost 30 years old, Wordsmith started his musical career. His shift toward music was a result of him realizing that it is his purpose. He realized, “My purpose more leaned toward music.”
Now aware of his purpose, Wordsmith decided to open his own business called New Revolution Entertainment. His business researches the music industry and searches for ways independent artists can make money.
Does Anyone Really Compare?
Aside from researching the music industry, Wordsmith is creating music for the industry. He proudly said that others typically do not compare him to anyone because his music is different. “I don’t curse. It’s other artists that don’t either, but [I don’t] because I do a lot of songwriting for TV and stuff. I probably write my hip-hop music in the song structure that a lot of pop songwriters do or R&B songwriters do just because I write a lot of commercial records… My form of music, I like to call it conscience commercial music.”
Message: Blue Collar and God
He continued, “All my records have a message in it. I’m talking about living life check to check, getting a promotion, or something like that…it relates to real blue collar life, and I think that’s what people like about my music.”
Another thing that makes Wordsmith’s music different is that he is not afraid to talk about God in his music. He explains, “But it’s not something I would push on anybody. You know religion is an open thing. It’s up to everybody individually to decide what religion they want.”
Giving Back While Writing for Scripts, Games, Rappers
Currently Wordsmith writes and licenses his music for TV, films and games. The rapper even writes songs for himself and other artists. He also has a three-piece band that he tours with performing music off his albums.
The artist tries to release an album/new music every year or every two years. In addition, Wordsmith reiterates the importance of volunteering.
“Also try to do a lot in my community. I work with a company called project place, a place where we help the homeless…giving them food and helping them get back on their feet.”
Surprise Influences–Cold Play
The artist admits that not a lot hip-hop artists have inspired him, even though, he loved a lot of the old school artists.
“I would say my biggest influences today is probably weird… my favorite band is called Coldplay,” he admits. He adds regarding the group, “I think Chris Martin is a genius when it comes to songwriting…I love how their sound enhances each album. They do a great job of evolving as musicians every album, and I try to do the same,” he shared.
Devoted Single Father
Wordsmith isn’t just a musician. He is a father. And he is a father first. The rapper is a single parent with two kids. Ever since college, Wordsmith has kept his supportive government job as a contractor in order to care for his two sons.
“If I was by myself I would just do music full-time, but when you have kids, that’s my number one priority and you could never make enough money,” the rapper confessed.
Although his schedule can become really hectic from music, work and coaching on his son’s football team. But, it’s okay for Wordsmith, who is determined to enjoy his life.
Wordsmith states, “I just really believe in getting the most out of life by not wasting any moments…I’d rather just overload myself while I’m still young and do as much as I can and be a great example to my kids.”
Kids and Blue Collar Influence
His kids keep him busy, but they also serve as inspiration for his music. Wordsmith wrote his first album, “King Noah” for his youngest son when he was born. The purpose of this album was to serve as a life lesson album that his son could listen to when he got older and experienced more of life. Wordsmith’s following album is entitled “Blue Collar Recital.” He decided to use the word “recital” in the album title because this was the first album on which he had a chance to use live guitars, drums and other instruments. Meanwhile, the “Blue collar” part of the album title came from his reason for creating the album.
“This album was for the blue collar citizens… the people that get up and do the 9 to 5 and do all the hard work. That album is more dedicated to them,” he explained.
His latest album “Apt 507” was the end of what he called “a small trilogy.” He explained how he wrote this album looking out of his window in Baltimore looking at everyday people.
He said “I wrote the album just so you could ride through the streets of Baltimore at night and bump it and have a feel of what Baltimore sounds like, looks like, smells like, everything just from hearing the music.”
Three Albums, Three Unique Sounds
Overall, Wordsmith has three albums that are each different from the others. Those albums each have a different sound, message, and even audience. This is the variety that Wordsmith thinks is missing in the rap industry. He urges stations to “Bring some variety back. You should be able to go on an urban station and hear a trap record or a party record or hear a conscience record…Give people all fashions and forms of hip-hop.”
Wordsmith advises artists that are trying to get their music heard on the radio to “monetize their music.” He encourages these artists to try to get with a licensed company and to get the music that they are creating placed. He warns that the majority of the time, artists or their labels have to pay to have their song placed whereas companies will pay artists to have their music on a commercial. His other advice to artists who are just starting is “Don’t rush it. Don’t think that you’re going to blow up…Honestly the music side is probably 10 percent of the business. Ninety percent of it is take your time and research it.”
The Challenge of Being True to Self
Although Wordsmith has had the opportunity to create three albums, he has been discouraged from doing music. He explains that since he has stayed true to himself rather than sell out, his career path has been much harder.
“Despite what might be the trend going on, I’m not trying to follow the trend because history has shown too, that our greatest artists…None of them are same. Michael Jackson wasn’t like Prince. Prince wasn’t like the Rolling Stones,” he noted.
Committed to Restore Variety
Wordsmith thinks that the most discouraging thing for artists as well as himself is that it seems like society is in an era that we all like the same thing. For him there is a lack of variety. It baffles him that during a time period in which there are so many social issues, artists still sing about the same things which tends to be material things. He also does not understand why artists that are really popular are supporting artists with the same sound instead of artists with different sounds. He tries to make sure that his music has variety and a message. And that’s why he thinks people enjoy it.
Finding and Raising New Artists
“We have to do better at raising up artists that have variety,” Wordsmith encourages.
Wordsmith is determined to show variety through his albums. His new album “Perspective Jukebox” is about his view on life. Yet, fans can expect a variety of songs on the album. He expects to release the album during his 35-day overseas tour. He is also doing a mash-up concert with the Baltimore Orchestra called “Fly ritual.” The goal of the production is to mash up classical and hip-hop music.
Many have stated that “hip-hop is dead,” but artists like Wordsmith are begging the question; “is hip-hop dead or are we searching for new artists in the wrong places?”