[Album Review] Wordsmith – King Noah – ### 1/2 Review
Outside the confines of Baltimore, Wordsmith isn’t necessarily a household name. Like most independent artists in hip-hop, he does what he can musically while balancing reality (family, children jobs, etc.) In an era where releasing an album is definitely taking a financial risk, he’s been able to carve out a name for himself and create a successful niche by licensing music for television shows, commercials, and video games. On his new album, King Noah, he is hoping to show his talents off to a more musically appreciative audience looking for some music to bob their heads to.
Drawing inspiration from the recent birth of his son, Wordsmith creates an album that is a testament to his child that he will hopefully sit down and listen to when older. Each track is introduced with a motivational speech to his child, ends with a “Let’s go!” and then kicks in to the song. While heartwarming in places, this definitely can drag down the listening experience for those looking for the music since the intros are not separated from the physical songs. Luckily, the album comes with discs with and without introductions.
The first thing that shines through on King Noah is the fact that Wordsmith’s songs are much more polished than most indie-level artists. Honestly, any number of them could be on radio today, although their lyrical content and messages may be a little too positive for the dreck that passes as radio rap these days. His production is tight, his music varied, and his delivery solid throughout. Vocally, Wordsmith resembles Talib Kweli, but with much stronger vocal projection. His content can also be seen as reminiscent of Talib’s body of work because he crafts songs with a positive outlook.
One of the standout cuts on the album, “Generation X,” featuring Sustantial, K. Sparks, CuzOH! Black, and J The S, finds all parties involved riding a beat with a rolling piano, organ, and kicking drum; it’s a song that can definitely turn that glum mood around. Another song offering a motivational and uplifting tone, “Grudges and Growing Pains,” finds Wordsmith displaying a rise above mentality to those facing the conflicts that come with life. The rest of the tracks offer different messages but similar outlooks.
While an underground artist, he may not stay there for long if he continues to craft the type of tracks on this album. While some of the sounds may be a little too commercialized for some heads, with an almost B.O.B. approach on a handful, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. When Wordsmith’s son is old enough to listen to this album one day, hopefully it will end up being the record in his catalog that sparked the fire to him becoming a household name.
Review: ###1/2 out of #####
King Noah Tracklisting
Never Be the Same
Generation X Feat. Substantial, K. Sparks, CuzOH! Black & J The S
Grudges & Growing Pains
Voice of the World Feat. CuzOH! Black & Kontact
Essence of Life
Music for the Masses
Globetrotters Feat. Kontact & CuzOH! Black
Eye for the Spotlight Remix Feat. Phil Ade & Steven Drakes
On My Job
We Do it Better Feat. Mina Leon
Bonus: Rhymesayer Revival Remix Feat. Gods’Illa & Junclassic
Bonus: The Limit