Ohio native Copywrite is widely regarded as one of the most skilled MC's in underground hip hop. We caught up with him to discuss his new album God Save The King, touching on the origins of the project, what he thinks of
hip hop in the UK and how he first became involved in hip hop...
For those that don't know, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Parkus, I work at a call centre, I'm Indonesian and I like amateur laser tag. Nah man, I'm Copywrite from the MhZ. Colombus Ohio raised, I've been around since about 98', putting out independent records. My group has launched the careers of Camu Tao, RJD2, Jakki Da Motormouth, Tage Future and myself. We are the first rap group to put Colombus Ohio on the map and we like to make good hip hop music.
Are there any up and coming MC's from Ohio that you would reccomend to our readers?
Yeah, there's a kid named Pete Black who's pretty dope and so is Ness Words. I'd also reccommend checking out a crew called Apocalypse Ink.
You've just released God Save the King. Tell us a little bit about the project...
I started work on it in March of last year. We finished it in August but we had to wait until this year to put it out. We got the title from the Sex Pistols record God Save the Queen. Originally it was supposed to be a homage to Europe, to the fact that you love hip hop so much and to the fact that there are so many dope MC's out there. I feel like the US people don't often get to see how dope it is in Europe; all people know generally is Slick Rick. That should be an indication of how dope Europeans are, as he's one of the best MC's on earth...
Later on, it started evolving into more of a Copywrite Solo album. It got to the point where we had about 40 songs done, so we decided to make a US version and a UK version, with almost completely different songs. So the UK version is God Save The King: The Proper English Version.
When did you first hear hip hop from the UK?
Me and Camu Tao (R.I.P) first went to Europe in like 99'. It was a big deal for us at the time, incredible. We opened up for the Roots, Last Emperor, Kardinall Offishal... loads of ill artists! We met up with people like Roots Manuva when we were out there, so that's when we first got exposed to that sound.
We were also able to hit up Norway and Denmark and places like that. We got exposed to a whole new world of hip hop… it was really dope! We got to see how much passion people had for hip hop out there and from that point on, I was sold.
How did you choose which MC's to feature on the project?
I listen to a lot of music, man. If I have any down time between making music and touring, I get online and I check out the music people are saying is hot. I was already familiar with their work and I just reached out. It all came together out of a mutual respect for each others' work.
Are there any particular albums from the UK that you listen to a lot?
I like the first Rhyme Asylum joint a lot - I was on a few joints with them. I like the Creators - they had a song with Phil Da Agony, they are real dope on the production tip. I even like Dizzee... I feel like he is underrated as an MC. I even thought Lady Soverign was dope live (not so much on a record). I like it all.
Taking it back, what's your earliest memory of hip hop culture in general?
I started listening to hip hop in like 88'. I was living in Florida at the time and they used to play NWA on the radio… Beastie Boys, 2 Live Crew… all that sort of stuff really appealed to me. When I heard hip hop it sounded new and fresh to me. I had been drawing since I was like 3 or 4 and I really liked the detail in lyrics, I liked how it was layered and random. I remember accidentally catching the first episode of YO! MTV Raps and I loved it. There was so much good stuff happening at that time to influence me.
The MC that really sold me on rap and made me a huge fan was Will Smith as The Fresh Prince. People don't know that he can really rap. I was really into the He's the DJ I'm the Rapper album, that was real dope. He would have bubblegum singles but he could really spit, he was killing it. Songs like Brand New Funk will show you what I mean. I'm now a big fan of all types of music, but there was a ten year period where I wouldn't listen to anything but rap. If it wasn't rap, I wasn't trying to hear it! I was so obsessed with it and learning from it, it was all I had time for. I've been hooked on hip hop since 88'.
At what point did you decide that hip hop was something that you wanted to pursue?
I started MCing by accident. I was chilling with Jakki, his brother and another friend of ours who has now passed away. They used to make comedy sketches on a boom box and one day Jakki started to tap out a beat on the table and we all had a go at freestyling. We showed it to people in the neighbourhood and they all seemed to like it - that inspired us to keep trying to get better at rapping.
When was your first release?
My first release was on Fondle Em Records - there was a lot of dope records on that label. Me and Camu wanted to be Organized Konfusion real bad, we idolised Pharaoe Monch. At the time, the indie scene was taking off and our manager told us to drop off a demo to Bobitto. So we did that but we didnt hear anything for a long time. Suddenly, out of the blue, our manager got a call from Bobitto and he said that he wanted to put the record out. That was it man, that's how we got our break.
Do you have any up and coming work with RJD2?
Yeah man, he's still in Mhz - we never broke up. He's doing a third of the production on the Mhz album, which will drop later in the year. It's called Megacy and is real close to being half way done. We don't really consider Table Scraps to be an album, as that was a compilation of singles that we had laying around. It's just taken so long for us to put out an album because we all got sidetracked with our solo careers. We never really thought that people would be interested in our solo work, but it worked out that we were all successful, so its taken a while to get to the point where we're ready to put out this Mhz album.
How do you feel your style has changed since your last album?
I learned how to write songs and choruses, my flow and delivery got better - I've just got a lot more experience now. When I put out June, I didn't know what I was doing. That song was originally going to be about a girl, but I changed it. I read a review that said when they were listening to that song, they could hear the fear in my voice and that was dead on. I'd never really rapped about anything that personal to me before. It was 2 years after I lost my dad and it was a real hard time. That was before everybody started dying, that was when death was new to me. I've lost a lot more people now. Since then I've lost my mom, Camu and both my grandparents. I was just experiencing so much in my life that I had to start making music like that as therapy for myself, because I was literally going insane.
I'm really happy with where I'm at right now - I feel like I can do anything at the drop of a hat. I'm a much more well rounded artist right now, I'm way better than I used to be.
Finally, any shout outs?
Yeah man, anyone that's supported my music - I really appreciate it. I've got a lot of crazy and interesting things in the works. I'm just going to continue making music while I'm here on this earth... peace to everyone!
Words: Aaron Jackson
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