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interview // wordz

The underground Chicago hip-hop scene was shaken when Wordz surfaced more than a decade ago. First collaborating with Basement Crew, a collective putting out "basement" bootleg tapes for fun and small groups of fans, and then Wordz went solo in 2001. His debut LP “Haven't Heard Me Yet” gave hungry hip-hop fans an outstanding album littered with fresh lyrics and neck-breaking beats.


How did you begin rapping?


I started rapping around 89. I guess I was influenced by the early groups of NWA, Ice-T, Public Enemy, KRS-one and others.  I remember when I was in high school I used to rap along with Easy-E and people would say stuff like “you should do that for real” and I went for it. I had always been performing since I was young in dance crews and talent shows.  We would battle in peoples basements and dance parties.


What influenced you to become an emcee?


I think it was the outlet for expression for me that drew me to the mic. I dipped in all elements of hip hop at some point except DJing. But As I got older the only thing that stuck was rhyming.  I had a love for reading, English and writing so I naturally took to the flow.  Plus I felt like hip hop gave me a platform for giving a message, giving my perspective of the mountain.


What are the hardships of being an emcee?


I think the game is way oversaturated right now. Everyone wants to rhyme so one of the hardships is getting heard. There is nothing worse for an emcee than having something to say but getting drowned out by pop music, conglomerate record labels and radio repetition.  Besides that I don’t see much downside.  I’m not trying to BE an emcee, I AM an emcee.


How did you hook up with ReSERVED Records?


I was writing a hip hop article for an old school hip hop magazine called “Underground Fire” on the Chicago hip hop scene. I was interviewing Dj Deftone for the article and he happened to tell me about Crewvention down in Orlando Flordia. I was with a group called Basement Crew at the time and was doing the youth group rap thing in Chicago.  Deftone started up his label and put out the infamous ReSERVED Project featuring KJ52, Mars ILL, Sev Statik and other crews.  My track “The Mic Extremist” was featured #2 on the cd and got a really good response so we decided to work on a album.  More recently I’ve moved on over creative differences and I’ll be putting out projects independently.  I’m sure we’ll still work together on something in the future.


You recently released your debut LP “You Haven’t Heard Me Yet”, what will listeners hear on this release?


Its got 13 songs and is a pretty solid album with production by Deftone, Dust, and Overflo.  The album ranges from total battle rap songs to heartfelt songs.  Ive got a cut on there called “Restless” that kinda expresses my feelings waiting for a soulmate.  Album highlights would be “Weekend” with Manchild and Adeem, “Above Average” and “Don’t Sleep” where I totally rip every wack mc out there.  Also I put on there a few interviews with Kevin Beecham from Rhymesayers Entertainment to tell a little bit about me to everyone.


This LP was classified as the most unanticipated album of year, but has been declared a classic by many, did the think the album would do as well as it did and what were your expectations?


The most unanticipated album of the year is a joke I made up cause everyone always advertises these “Christian rap albums” as highly anticipated.  As if half the country can’t wait for them to drop.  I think maybe about 5 people were really waiting for my album to drop so I rather be honest in advertising it as the most UNanticipated album. I haven’t heard it referred to as a classic and it could do better.  Compared to the junk I’m about to release its grimmy.  My expectations of the album was actually to do more…I think I could have gotten more diverse production on the album.  But overall I am satisfied.


What is your favorite song off this album and how come?


Ummm... probably Welcome To America. The track is a loop that Dust threw to me. I don’t know if he made it on Acid Pro or if he just digged through his trash can and sent it to me in the mail, but its dope either way. I like the track because it reflects more of my personality as a critic sifting through the perils of our beloved country.  The song ends with a moral of the story being that its great to live in a country where we have freedom of speech, religion and expression.


Where do you get the inspiration for your songs?


As I said in the last answer, I’m a critic, synic and street reporter.  I get inspiration for my songs from the contrast between they way things are and the way they should be.  My ideology stems from my faith in God and a desire to see change within my generation.  Sometimes my music can be confused with complaining or being critical in a bad sense or pushy.  My goal, as with any artist, is to try and display the world through a perspective that maybe you haven’t seen yet.  More recently I have begun to see how my music can be used by God and have been giving more direction over to the Holy Spirit to create through me…the ultimate creator.


Any guest appearances currently in the works?


Umm... I just recorded a hip hop/dancehall track with a friend of mine Jus-J from Chicago.  The track is called “Burn” and is a highly selected track to be a single.  Besides that I’ve got some upcoming appearances by Rhymescheme from Molemen and Rusty Chains.  I’ve spoke with Gibraan and a few other people to see what they’re feelin to maybe colabo.  Mostly it will just have to be a surprise to see who’s on the next project.  I pretty much only do colabo’s with people I like and think would flow well with my style and flow.  I’m not the type to get a guest appearance to boost my exposure like some artists.  Oh and for anyone who ever questioned…I don’t pay people to appear on my songs. 


What’s in store in the future for Wordz?


I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately.  Currently I’m in the studio dumping out about 50 songs, or at least close to it.  I’m going to select the best of the best to complete my second album titled “Superheavy” set to drop January 16th 05.  I have a lot of work to do so I’m chilling on the performing tip to put in work in the studio.  As for other things I’ll be launching a website by the end of October which will have downloadable songs, a store to pick up t-shirts, posters and junk along with a type of “food-for-thought” section.  I believe I have something to say to the young people of this generation and the website will be another outlet for that.  In the future I’ll be starting Wordz Media conglomerate and take over CBS, TBN and Clearchannel.   


Any last words?


Yea stay away from religious people who try and steal your freedom in Christ. 


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