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Q&A with Wordsmith

Garnering acclaim for his witty lyrics and soulful grooves, Wordsmith is on the rise and playing a free in-store concert at Streetlight Records in San Jose this Saturday. Here’s a warm-up Q&A so we can get to know him better before the show.

Streetlight: You have an interesting and unusual background. Will you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started rapping? Who did you look to for guidance?
Wordsmith: I would agree because with my brother and I being born in Germany I don’t think HipHop would be associated with me off the back. Still, the second time my pops was stationed in Germany we became friends with a family called he Wilsons and one of their sons named Kevin used to have shoe boxes full of rap tapes and though I was unaware of it at the time HipHop was already breaking race boundaries as he was from a Caucasion family. It was routine for him to let me borrow a Digital Underground, NWA or Public Enemy tape, which I probably shouldn’t of been listening to at the time, but oh well, lol. I have to thank my parents next because they realized the love I had for Rap, so when they surprised my brother and I with our first stereo system they bought The Fat Boys are Back and Run DMC’s Tougher then Leather, with it; tapes I still have until this day. It wasn’t until we moved to Richmond Hill, GA at the age of 13 that I actually started rapping for real. I became friends with a few kids in the school that use to rap and beatbox during recess, so they was kind of like, “hey you roll with us you have to rap or beatbox.” I still have a photo from the Richmond Hill newspaper rocking a David Robinson T-Shirt rapping at a D.A.R.E concert for the police, school faculty and parents; that was the beginning of my history in HipHop as an artist. Guidance wise, I really just learned from the artists that were out in the late ’80s and ’90s like the one’s I mentioned above, Eric B. & Rakim, A Tribe Called Quest, Redman, EPMD, K-Solo, Das Efx, Chubb Rock, Main Source and I could go on and on. Other than that I went off my own logic when it came to me actually writing music.

Streetlight: How do you label your style?
Wordsmith: My style is Universal due to the fact that I lived around the world growing up. I never had a boxed in mentality when it comes to music, so when I create a song it could sound Underground, Commercial, Alternative or even Rock influenced at times. I use to be mainly a HipHop junkie, but I don’t view the genre as creative as it was back in the day, so to be honest you would catch me listening to a Coldplay or Michael Jackson album before a HipHop artist at this point.

Streetlight: What’s your take on the current state of hip-hop? Which artists are you digging? Who inspires you?
Wordsmith: I guess I led into this question rather well. The current state of HipHop only bothers me because I grew up on artists who wanted to have their own identity. You were called wack back in the day if you copied the style of another artist or tried to jock another man’s style. Today that seems to be celebrated, while the music quality continues to go down. Don’t get me wrong I would rock with artists like Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Common, Eminem, Slaughterhouse and sometimes Jay-Z because they manage to stay innovative in their craft. I’m all about taking a risk musically and making music that defines you as a person. I feel nowadays the game is like a fast food restaurant and labels want to sign clones of whoever is hot at the moment to make that quick money. I consider myself an artist that will have longevity in this game because I am constantly evolving as an artist. I’m very aware of who is hot right now, but the old school competition in me won’t allow me to bite another man’s style to the point that I sound and rap like them.

Streetlight: What are you up to now? What’s next for Wordsmith?
Wordsmith: Well, I had a huge opportunity come across the table from a promoter named Joel Hutton. He booked me to perform at a Superbowl VIP Tailgate party on Feb. 5th, so I’ll be kicking off my “King Noah” Promo tour there. My next stop will be San Jose, CA March 9th @ Motif and then with you guys at Streetlight Records on March 10th. Any old and new fans reading this make sure you stop by Streetlight Records as there will be FREE Promo CD’s from my “King Noah” Album in the store. Other then that I am working with IDC to physically distribute my album in June, I’ve done some work with ESPN for College Football/Year in Review Montage, Converse and won a ASCAPLUS Award so far this year. Please check me out at www.wordsmithmusic.com, www.facebook.com/wordsmith and www.twitter.com/wordsmithmusic

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