On February 28, Columbus, Ohio-bred MC Peter Nelson a.k.a. Copywrite drops what he bluntly says is “my best album” with his latest release God Save the King. The project will have two different versions - a U.S. and a U.K. version - and features what old fans of Copywrite should expect - solid beats from producers RJD2, Marco Polo, Illmind, Chrysis, Bronze Nazareth, J Notes, Stew Bangers, and Vanderslice. Expect MC skills on a high level and features from Casual, Heiroglyphics, Evidence, Jakai, Cage, Future, Tourex, and Ill Logic.
“DJ Drastic did all the cuts on the album, and he’s probably the best DJ I’ve ever heard. This album wouldn’t be what it is without him," Copywrite confesses rather nonchalantly. “I didn’t think I would ever do anything better than Life & Times of Peter Nelson, but this album is even better than that one. It's just hard because I cringe when I hear it, and I can’t listen to it all the way...” [cue the long record scratch sound].
WHAT?!?! Why can’t Hip-Hop’s celebrated underground giant listen to his own, self-professed “best album?” He says, “Because of what I’m talking about on there. Artistry is great, wordplay, etc., but the lyrics make me sick. I’m so happy that I’m not in that anymore, just saying whatever to earn the praise of man.”
For the people who follow him on Twitter, Copy surprised a bunch of his fans with a sudden change in his posts. Out of nowhere, the usually irreverent MC began talking about Jesus...a lot. And for some it was a new turn for their favorite rapper.
“What people don’t understand is it's not new. I’ve been saved since I was 16 years old. I wasn’t being obedient at all, but if you look, every single album, I thank Christ, my personal Lord and savior. I wasn’t always obedient, but I’ve always believed it.”
In hindsight, he even sees how his internal struggle was coming out loud and clear in his music but he, and most of us, missed it. “Songs like “Don’t Kill Me” - it was like my flesh and spirit fighting [listen to clip around 4:30 mark for lyrics]. My silly plan was like the Mike Epps joke: ‘I wanna get right with God....but I gotta get this money first!’ And how silly was that of me to think I had any control of time as if I was promised any of it?”
While his lyrics, and subsequently his lifestyle, never lined up with his beliefs, Copywrite says he’s never rejected his long-held Christian beliefs publicly. “I’ve never denied Jesus, but at the same time, it never came up because everyone thought I was a reckless heathen...because I was.”
So what happened? Was there some tragic turn of events that forced him back to his old faith from his teenage years? No. It was a gradual change. Having been a longtime friend of rap veteran John Rueben, known for making rap songs that cater to the Christian Hip-Hop market, he would watch his career and life, and see how it would have a continued impact on his own life. “Me and John Reuben go way back. I remember John Reuben when he was fat! It’s good to see where he is in music. I remember seeing him on TV when I was in Maryland and thinking, ‘That’s what I’m supposed to be doing.’ That’s because he was still rhyming AND still repping the Lord.”
Then in May 2011, he wanted to change. “I prayed to God to change my desires because I really wanted to live for him. Then I just found myself really uninterested by the things I was doing.” Even performing the old songs didn’t feel quite right to him. “I remember when I did my first show after rededicating. And I dreaded it. It was like wearing old, dirty, dead man’s clothes,” he adds.
While Copywrite couldn’t be more happy about his current state in life, his fans and followers have had mixed reactions to the MC’s faith. “Some fans are like ‘do your thing.’
"Some of them think ‘you’re looking for a crutch because of losing your parents” but what they don’t know is when I accepted Christ, life couldn’t have been better. Mom and dad were still alive and all that. So it's definitely not a crutch for me. Some people are excited. They knew what kind of music I did before and now they’re like, ‘Yo, I used to pray for you! It's good to see what God is doing in you!’ Some are just disrespectful, but not towards me, but towards God.
"I’m cool if people disagree. I’m totally alright with that. You can say, ‘That’s a total lie, dude, I don’t believe at all. But if that’s you, then do you.’ But when you come off just blatantly disrespectful and just trying too hard, then those people I block [on Twitter].”
But again, despite the title of the album, his latest release doesn’t fully reflect his current beliefs.
“God Save the King isn’t about my beliefs. It was supposed to be a UK-catered album, and the title, a spin on the Sex Pistol’s God Save the Queen. The album was almost completely done before I came back to Christ. The title just kind of happened that way.”
So, is there ANYTHING on the album that reflects his current beliefs? “There’s 2.5 Christian songs. I say .5 because I wrote it right at my transition. I cussed on it, but I beeped it out,” admits Copywrite. Even with his 2.5 “Christian songs” on the album, he has a very clear message to the new faith-filled fans he has gained, especially after the release of his song “The K.I.N.G.”: “I don’t want my new Christian audience to buy this album. I don’t want people to think you can live on both sides of the fence. I’m even putting a disclaimer in the album. I’m not playing around with this.”
There is a serious and honest question that HAD to be asked here. If the content is so bad and it's so evil, then why put it out?! “I feel like all of those fans I’ve built up over the years won’t just listen to me talking about God if I just came out with an album like that. I needed a bridge album. The album was already recorded so people will get to see the change. But in the future all of my music will be Christian music,” Copywrite says.
“Most of my fans are wild. But I hope that they hear the music and now, hearing me giving God praise, that they’ll start to think. Like, ‘This guy is pretty smart. You can’t write stuff like he does and be stupid. Why does he think like this now? Maybe there’s some truth.’ It's my job to plant the seed, its God’s job to grow it, and I hope with the good content on there, He does.”
Surely, there will be some who feel like he’s presenting two different people on the new album, as if he were some type of hypocrite. But Copywrite says its not a case of hypocrisy; rather, it's a recorded version of a changed man. “Kind of like how God changed Saul to Paul,” he quips. Others will hear his changed direction and think, 'He’ll be back. It's a phase,' to which he plainly says, “To the people saying 'he’ll be back,' stop plotting my downfall and consider your condition with Christ. This isn’t the phase; that other stuff is the phase.”
“I’m not gonna stop rappin’ because I feel like God built up my story so that glory can be given to him, and people can see that God can really do anything with anyone. My thoughts are different so my music is different.”
So, on February 28, we get to hear God Save the King, but the artist and man is looking forward to sharing the story and the music of how God saved Copywrite.
View the tracklist below for Copywrite's God Save the King album, available for download on February 28. Follow Copywrite on Twitter (@copywrite).
1.Post-Apocalyptic Request Box (prod by Jason Rose)
2.Love Featuring Tage Future (of MHz) (prod by Bronze Nazareth)
3.Swaggot Killaz Featuring Jakki da Mota Mouth (of MHz) (prod by Illmind)
4.Sorrow Featuring Illogic (Prod by Stu Bangas)
5.Man Made Featuring Rockness Monstah (of Heltah Skeltah) (prod by Jason Rose)
6.J.O.Y. Featuring Jason Rose & Torae (prod by Jason Rose)
7.Union Rights Featuring MHz (Tage Future & Jakki da Mota Mouth) (prod by Khrysis)
8.YO! Mtv RAP Featuring Jason Rose (prod by Jason Rose)
9.Blue Ribbon (prod by Bronze Nazareth)
10.Miracle (prod by S.G. on the Trax)
11.G$k (prod by Stu Bangas)
12.Workahol (prod by Stu Bangas)
13.White Democrats Featuring Mac Lethal (prod by Jason Rose)
14.Golden State (of Mind) Featuring Casual, Evidence (of Dilated Peoples) & Roc Marciano (prod by Vanderslice)
15.Synesthesia (prod by RJD2)
16.Got to Make It Featuring Tage Future (of MHz) (prod by Stu Bangas)
17.A Talk with Jesus (prod by Poetiq Beetz)
Steve Patton is a contributor to AllHipHop.com and is also a Senior Writer for Rapzilla.com.