Release Date – Tuesday 15th May 2012 (link coming soon) 13th June (read below).
Being able to listen to Copywrite’s “God Save the King (Proper English Version)” makes me smile for reasons unfathomable to most. The concept for the project began in early 2011 after an interview with Copywrite for Hip-Hop Kings following the release of “Life and Times of Peter Nelson”. I’m not for one second suggesting I’m responsible for God Save The King (Proper English Version) however I’ve been involved indirectly throughout the making of the album. That being said the review has being a challenge to ensure an unbiased view of the album.
UPDATE – Due to a change in Man Bites Dog Records’ international distribution for God Save The King (Proper English Version) the release date has been moved back to 13th June 2012. Hip-Hop Kings will still present the download link on the day of release.
The track listing is astonishing, something like a fans’ dream of a cross-Atlantic compilation album of all the best U.K and U.S MC’s on one project. If the thought of Copywrite, Crooked I and Braydz on “Crooked Coppers” doesn’t leave you licking your lips, Sean Price and SAS join Copywrite on “Keep Troopin” and Genesis Elijah and Royce Da 5’9 (yeah I know!) feature on “OverDose”. The eighteen tracks entertain throughout, with the finest of U.K Hip-Hop artists eradicating the stigma attached with the quality difference between us and our U.S counterparts.
I questioned whether God Save The King (Proper English Version) was Copywrite’s best work to date. The foundations of a classic were laid when you have a number of excellent producers including Marco Polo, RJD2 and Stu Bangas involved, however I was disappointed to see an absence of U.K production. The likes of Beat Butcha, Endemic, Harry Love and 7th Dan would have sat perfectly alongside the aforementioned names, and really would have given an extra edge to the finished product. The prospect of this happening in the future is appealing, and now we’v seen God Save The King (Proper English Version) come to light it could be a strong possibility. Nevertheless the beat selection was on-point, and an approval from the very reputable DJ Sarah Love (skit) continues to support my initial thoughts pointed towards the answer “Yes”.
Individual tracks don’t make classic albums, but a number of features on this album will be marked as favourites, and repeated to stand the test of time. The earlier mentioned “Crooked Coppers” contains a stand-out verse from Braydz who was seemingly designed to rap alongside Copywrite and Crooked I. Likewise the versatile Norwich-born “Context” jumps on the Jason Rose-produced “Ghost in the Machine”, and while providing the vocals for the chorus also reminds fans why he’s a BBC “One To Watch” for 2012. Futhermore, M9 (Melanin 9) of Triple Darkness joins forces with Killah Priest and Lord Basis for Arachnophobia which I feel will be the overlooked track from the album, yet stylistically is near-perfect and one of my personal favourites on the album.
This isn’t the first time Copywrite has chopped it up with U.K artists. For those fans of Rhyme Asylum, Copywrite made a featured appearance on “State of Lunacy” and Hip-Hop Kings last year premiered exclusive tracks with Loudmouth Melvin and Sam Khan (check the Hip-Hop Kings YouTube Channel). The album does contain tracks with no U.K features for all the right reasons, and the likes of “Golden State” (Evidence, Roc Marciano, Casual) fit the mood of the album perfectly. I was half expecting to see a U.K remix to “3 Story Building” which was a popular track on “Life and Times of Peter Nelson” but who knows what the future holds.
While God Saves the King reached the Billboard Top 100 in America, the release of Proper English Version is unquestionably set to boost Copywrite’s profile in the U.K and Europe. The minimal spiritual content (A Talk with Jesus, More Sorrow) is something that wont sit comfortably with every listener, but a cleverly placed Biggie sample “Born Sinner” on A Talk with Jesus will win fans over. Copywrite’s clear desire to continue to make “Hip-Hop” music however is something of a breath of fresh air, and while being relevant yet relatable, full credits are given for the opportunity for fans of artistic music to enjoy an excellent listening experience. I would fully expect to see a Copywrite U.K and European tour following the release of God Save the King (Proper English Version). For fans skeptical of the albums release, it’s better than the U.S version.