Emcee, TV show host, Loving father, Underground legend; Wordsworth (Words for short) has been putting it down for the underground for quite some time now. Being a regular on the Lyricist Lounge tour, having a lead role on the short-lived Lyricist Lounge show, to guest appearing on numerous songs for artists ranging from High and Mighty, to Blackstar, all the way to Prince Paul has led him to critical acclaim. However, acclaim is not the sole objective of his career. Wordsworth wants financial security, movie projects, and pure happiness. After finally catching up with him on the phone, he apologizes for being late, stating that he was at the studio all night. I understood that the man has responsibilities, so it was all good. And the story continues as so…
Darcwonn: First question: where ya been, man? What have you been up to?
Wordsworth: Ha, Ha! I’ve been actually trying to find other things to do besides this rapping. I’ve been trying to hone my skills as a writer more than anything, y’know. I was writing for HBO for a minute. I did like a pilot situation with them, sort of similar to the Chris Rock show. I’ve also did this Dexter’s Laboratory thing for the Cartoon Network with Prince Paul.
Yeah, I saw the video for that joint.
Yeah, and I also host this show called “The Roof”, that comes on Telemundo, a latin-spanish channel. There this second channel to it called Mundos that has a hip hop show that shows English and Spanish videos. I portray the man on the street asking people questions, getting on there rhyming, promoting things. I’ve been honing my skills as a writer, concentrating on what I wanna come with as far as music wise. Production and other things to make the music mature. That’s what I’ve been doing.
Let me ask you: what’s the deal with Punchline?
Me and Punch are still cool. He actually got a single out right now called “Family First” with Masta Ace and Apocalypse and the B side called “Throw it Away”. Me and him are still working on stuff. We talk and everything. The CD version of “On Your Feet” will have bonus tracks with Punch on it, like a cross promotion thing. To make people understand that we still cool. He just doing his thing, doing shows overseas with Masta Ace. That’s really what’s going on.
So, how did you hook up with Masta Ace, anyway?
Me and Punch was working on a EP that was on Mona/Landspeed. The dude that owns Mona was doing some stuff with Masta Ace. Ace had heard me and Punch’s work. He was feelin’ the music and we met up with him. We hit it off from the beginning and he asked us to be on the album. It was an honor to work with Ace. We met up at D&D studios and we just clicked. From there, we just took up on tour with him overseas and it has been love ever sense.
So what other musical projects do you have lined up?
I got another single coming out produced by J-Zone and the B Side produced by my boy Sev. I also have some projects coming out with Seven Heads. The J-Zone song is called “Not Me” and the Sev record is called “Wildlife”. On Seven Heads I got this record called “Thank Y’all For Comin’ Out”, produced by J-Rawls and a song called “Backstage”. I just did a song with J-Live and this popular band called Soulive.
Yeah…I heard of Soulive. They are hot!
I’m hoping that the songs come out along the same time frame. I also got a song coming out with Slick Rick. It might come out from Soundbombing 3, if Rich okays it. I did a song with Las Emperor for the Beatminerz album. I’ve been working with the Beatminerz a lot and with Curt Gowdy and my boy Dave Dark. Just trying to get mad different tracks and make sure everything is consistent.
Okay, so I see you still venture with Lyricist Lounge and Mic Media?
Naw, actually, I haven’t done anything with them in a minute.
Oh, you haven’t? You just been on your own thing?
Yeah, man. It’s hard for me to wait for people; you know what I’m saying?
Oh, so it’s like that?
They had got me a deal from one point, but it wasn’t the best situation after we looked at it. Still, they showed me love by letting me go on tour with them and everything. Then, I got invited to go on tour with J-Live for the Gza tour. I decided to do that tour, and I was to do some touring with the Lyricist Lounge tour. I’m still cool with the Lounge. I was at Danny’s crib the other day, and he was working on some music, chillin watchin’ DVDs on some hangout tip. It’s still all love there. It’s just that they have a lot on their plate. So, it was either wait on them to be ready or do it myself.
Aiight, let’s backtrack a bit here. You say you worked with Prince Paul. I interviewed the Juggaknots before and my man Breeze said that Prince Paul was a silly, zany guy. What do you have to say about that?
Yeah, man! Paul, with his sense of humor, is that if you don’t get it then you missed out. I was listening to the album (Politics of the Business) and the skits. If you looked at the song with me and MF Doom and Chubb Rock, it’s titled “Chubb Rock, Can You Please Pay Paul The $2200 You Owe Him”, y’know what I’m saying?
And in the brackets it says (People, Places and Things), but the record is still on some “Yo, gimme my money” type vibe, y’know what I’m saying. Paul is crazy man. His skits are funny. He got this skit where Mr. Len calls about having a DJ for this guy running for president that can’t rent turntables. He’s like “How did dude gonna run for president if he can’t rent no turntables”
(Laughter) He can’t rent turntables?
Mr. Len had to bring his own turntables and he’s complaining about it on the answering machine. And on the skit before the Chubb Rock song, Chubb calls in apologizing for the money. Chubb like “Yo, I’ll pay you half on Saturday” and the laugh track on the background laughing. And its crazy because I thought it was a TV on in the background, but he put a laugh track on the background. Paul has his own way of thinking and, if you miss out, then you miss out on his genius.
I feel you, because I bought his, uhm…the one movie type deal…the “Prince Among Theives” album. And it was one of the best albums to come out that year.
Right. It’s like…Paul has a lot of ideas and everything and he stays consistent with them. If people don’t appreciate it now, then down the line when people start diggin’ in our archives, there will be people loving Prince Paul.
So, lyrically, what do you bring to the table?
I call my style mirror music. I am a reflection of everybody. Anybody can relate to what I’m talking about. I want people to actually feel me. I tell people that when I hear a lot of hip hop records, sometimes I don’t feel it like, say, a Curtis Mayfield or a James Brown song. That’s what I’ve been working on. The single “That Way”, a lot of people felt that emotionally. With “On Your Feet”, I just wanted people to get amped and feel the record. My style is just really showing I can do whatever. I believe that a lot of artist, instead of figuring out how to use their styles to talk about certain things, they conform, rather than just figuring out a perspective in which to tell a story or just giving their opinion without trying to impress somebody. As far as trying to be down…I’m not writing to be down. I’m just writing how I feel. I wanna write for the world. I’m not talking about one place or one person. I’m trying to reflect the world. Lyrically, when I write or put it down, I just hope people appreciate it. I try to be a fan of my own work so that way, I can be critical. I can say “Yeah, that’s cool.” That’s the one thing about being consistent. You gotta be able to say “Yeah, that’s wack.” Or flow like this hear and change this here. I’m trying to be a mirror for everyone and give something everyone can feel.
Right. So, there was a lot of negative reviews about the EP you and Punchline dropped a few years back. Do you think fans were right or do you think they missed the point.
To me, its like…we did the EP and we did those exact songs. We didn’t do any more that what’s there. I think at that point, that kind of what me and Punch wanted to do at that moment. Some of those songs I liked. Some of those songs, I can see why people wouldn’t like them. But it was a learning experience for me. It was also riding the momentum of doing things. At the point of being on TV, being on tour with Mos Def, at that time….it was like put something out or wait on another situation. Sometimes you gotta ride the wave. At that moment, we only worked on those records. If we would have possibly did more songs, then it would have possibly been a better EP. My favorite song was “The Mistress”, which was a lot of people’s favorite record. I would never deny what I was rhyming about on “Mistress”. I’m not the type to put on a front. Some people ain’t gonna get it because I’m not living anybody else’s life and they are not living mine. I can’t make an excuse because people are not gonna understand if I have an excuse. At the same time, if somebody said an excuse to me, and I wasn’t around for it, then I can’t understand it. So, I’ll just look at the finished product. To me, its like that is what cats did and its cool to have an opinion. Some people liked it and some people hated it. You can’t satisfy everybody. But I can notice some mistakes from it and learn the basic game of it. It would be stupid to ask everybody because that would be stupid of myself by not acknowledging it and elevate the game rhyming wise, song wise or whatever. That was a point in my life where I did the music, put it out and I was happy with it. But I also have to look at the then and now. I think it was a good thing to show my growth also.
What do you think about beefs and street wars in hip hop?
I think its dope to hear cats battling as long as the violence doesn’t become physical. But some cats are getting real disrespectful. Some of the lines cats are saying are getting real personal. Talking about people’s moms, wilding out. You gotta be clever when it comes to battling. You wanna get on somebody’s nerves, but you also wanna be able to see the dude and say “Yo, that line was kinda crazy” and then after that, go do your thing. When you on stage battling, for the most part, whatever you say right then and there, it doesn’t lead to fighting right after the club. Now, you got cats in the biz that put out one record or two, and they get interviewed and they like “Naw, I’m not messing with that dude.” It gives the vibe that “When I see that dude, there is gonna be problems.” I believe that there is an image to maintain. I like that sometimes that when I do hear cats talk about things, its just like WWF. Like when Nas was saying “It was a battle of the minds.” As long as cats leave it at that, then its cool. 50 Cent and Jay-Z battled at one time, and now they are on tour.
True, but I knew that wasn’t gonna be that serious.
They had their lines back and forth, but they on tour now. Now you got it to the point that you can’t put a ill tour together because everybody beefin’. You either gonna have beefin’ and everybody running with their entourage and you got the “yes men” that wanna be hype and start some trouble. It’s kinda foul because you may not hear a Jay-Z and Nas record ever again. A lot of people don’t know that Jay-Z and Nas had a record out together.
Yeah, it was with…I think either Lord Tariq or Al Tariq. One of them…they did a joint together. I think it’s Lord Tariq. Ain’t Lord Tariq with Peter Gunz.
Yeah, because Al Tariq is down with Missin Linx and Problems.
On the Shaquille O’Neal album. Cats can’t even get in the same building anymore. They can’t even play certain records back to back in the club. Like everybody says, as long as it stays on record.
Getting into the last couple of questions…who do you thank for making Wordsworth what he is today?
I thank every entity in hip hop. If I didn’t like you, you showed me what not to do. If I liked you, you showed me what to do and how to be better at it. I see cats doing particular flows or learning how to do different flows and ride a track, I just hone my skills. I thank that all the cats coming up and all the cats that has been here. I really was a big fan of Kool G. Rap. I just thought the rhyme patterns were crazy. Before the rhyme ended, he would have words in the middle rhyming all the time. Almost every song. I thought that was ill. The stories and everything. It wanted me to elevate my game. Its more of the old school dudes than the new school. A lot of new school dudes keep you sharp on everything. There are concerns about what those kids rhyme about. They rhyme about “I’m only in it for the money”. I wasn’t only in it for the money. I know I’m gonna get a check if I do this right. I think everybody can be better off financially. As long as you are passionate about it, then the money will come. I be thinking about the future a lot when I’m writing.
Wanna send any shout outs?
Big up to Dove for hooking this up. Big up to you for doing this. Big up to Punch, Masta Ace, My man Sev, Curt Gowdy, J-Live, Seven Heads, and the world for listening and trying to understand what I’m about.