If I had to pick a way to explain Copywrite to a newcomer, I’d have to defer to fellow writer Sy Shackleford for one of the best explanations I’ve ever read: “This emcee is a prime example of rolling with the punches and growing within your niche.” Peter William Nelson takes being an underground, independent, DIY Ohio rapper to the fullest length. Some have acclaimed him and some have been more skeptical, but neither one has affected his hustle. We’re all human and we’re all happier when people say nice things about us, but as an artist you have to tune out the noise no matter how loud it gets good or bad. From the very beginning of “Ultrasound: The Rebirth EP” on “Born Again” it’s clear that’s exactly what Nelson is doing.
“Hmm… how should I start the EP out?
Sizzle it so the listeners won’t pop the CD out
Follow up to The High Exhaulted, poorly promoted classic
That’s why I faulted E.C. and ultimately why I departed
No promo — label didn’t get behind him, push
No homo — chose to roll solo”
Copywrite wasted absolutely zero time throwing shade at Eastern Conference Records, something a majority of their artists did over time, so while it’s not surprising it certainly sets the tone for Nelson speaking his mind with no apologies. For me this is Copywrite in his best form. He’s an intelligent and articulate rapper, hella creative with his ideas, but when he’s got a chip on his shoulder and an axe to grind he really leans hard into the instrumentals. There’s a battle rapper mentality to his bars that means he’s going to take shots and as long as he makes a greater percentage of them than he misses, I’m here for it.
That’s what makes a song like “O.D (Overdose)” featuring Royce Da 5’9″ a natural. Both rappers live for spitting a hot bar over hot beats, and the scratched in lines between verses are the perfect compliment. Long time friend and dearly departed rapper/producer Camu Tao laced this one and it makes me wish he was still here. Speaking of those who are exalted in heaven though we’ve also got bars from the late great Sean Price on the Jay Notes produced “Pick-Up Stix.”
At this point I hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down. “Ultrasound: The Rebirth EP” is a release by a lyricists’ lyricist, working with other rappers cut from the same cloth, and even though it’s billed as an extended play (so I have to credit it that way) it’s over a half hour long. Most “albums” you get today aren’t even 20 minutes, so this ends up feeling like getting the fries at Five Guys when they fill the cup in your bag and just keep dumping in more. Now to reference Sy again, this is definitely a “niche” release. The production is incredibly solid, but there’s a lot of incredibly solid underground albums, EP or LP. To stand out you either have to be God awful or mind blowing. “Ultrasound: The Rebirth EP” doesn’t do either. That’s not a diss Nelson so don’t take it personal. Thankfully I know he pays no attention to reviews and just keeps on hustling, so I’m going to keep on listening every time I pick up another record I hadn’t before.