Most people look into the mirror and see a person – Wordsworth sees a whole story. Much like the poet of the same name, Wordsworth has no shortage of words to go around and no topic too mundane or simple to touch upon. Like a mirror, Wordsworth is a reflection of everything that makes him who he is.
No doubt influenced by his time as a former participant on the MTV Lyricist Lounge Show, Wordsworth and his debut solo album “Mirror Music” makes a conscious effort at striking a universal ground between emcee and audience, a characteristic that so many others within hip-hop fail to accomplish. Rather than rely upon his own personal struggles and trials and tribulations, Wordsworth lends a “shoulder” to the heads of his audience, touching on topics like love, trust, and unemployment that hit home with the average Joe not familiar with the lavish lifestyles that other hip-hoppers speak on.
An ashamed Wordsworth approaches the mic on “Be A Man,” Words’ tale of growing up and becoming a man that is aimed towards his mother but ends up becoming an anthem for the 20-something male that still lives with his parents. On “Trust,” the rapper explains his past player days but manages to transform it into a message to his daughter about the irony of him having to protect her from what he once was.
The Ayatollah-produced “Evol” (check that word out in the mirror to understand) that vaguely samples Heavy D’s “Now That We Found Love,” pairs Wordsworth with Masta Ace and Justine Time as the three question what love will do for them. Words steals the show with an uncanny performance in which he plays the role of a couple struggling between love and lust (there’s an “us” in lust, but guess what else there is an “us” in?)
Soul-grabbing anthems like “Shoulder,” arguably the album’s best, and “Guardian Angel” speak directly to those struggling within their daily lives. The therapeutic tales told within each throw back to a time when hip-hop music was an outlet for listeners to relieve their frustrations with life. The former shows a mature Wordsworth lending his shoulder to those in pain, while “Guardian Angel” utilizes an interestingly placed sped-up sample to play the title role.
Wordsworth is at his best lyrically though on tracks that require his creative ability to overshadow all else, as seen on “One Day,” which is curiously very similar to the recent Nas track “Good Morning.” Words relays the sights and sounds of a morning on his city block and even flips a verse just on the messages on his cell phone all while he scripts the story of an unemployed man. Poetry at its finest that would even make his namesake proud.
Of course, a Wordsworth album is not complete without at least one braggadocios showing, and Words does not disappoint as “Gotta Pay” has Words telling other rappers, “Nothing good to say, keep silent, ‘Cause the things that I wouldn’t want to say, you keep rhyming!” And he wraps it up on the same track by proclaiming, “I should be in your top 5 when you reading the list, And you can ask the other four, I got them pleading the fifth!”
It’s been a long time coming for Wordsworth, who following the cancellation of the Lyricist Lounge show made a brief appearance in the form of the Punchline & Wordsworth EP before slipping back into the darkness of the New York hip-hop scene. Still, it gave him time to look at himself in the mirror. And the result is a series of stories solid enough to put Words back into the hip-hop alphabet.