'Rappin is my destiny’, you explain in the opening track. At what age did you know that?
I realized it once I saw the reactions from audiences when I was freestyling. This started when I was about 17 or 18. That's when it hit me that I was able to put words together with a meaning and in a unique way. Then when I started recording songs and was able to outshine others, I knew I had something.
When were you certain you could fulfil your destiny?
Once I recorded a song for ‘The Lyricist Lounge vol. 1’ album. I got paid and knew that if I stayed hungry, smart, and dedicated it would work out.
Besides Lyricist Lounge, a lot of people know you from features on ATCQ and Black Star albums. Today, are you the artist you thought you would be at that moment?
I do believe I'm the artist I thought I would be. I always felt I had the power to contribute something unlike others in hip-hop. This stems from co-creating a ‘The Lyricist Lounge’ show to going from a freestyler to a songwriter.
‘I know it’s been a minute, had to make sure it was right’, you rap. Was there a lot of writing, adjusting, re-writing and matching up with different producers involved for this project? What made this album the ‘right’ album, a finished product?
‘Mirror Music’ proved I could write songs, ‘The Photo Album’ does that and meshes with my stage energy as well. I recorded many songs but months before the release I recorded joints with Hezekiah and Apollo Brown, which made the project more potent. I felt it was done once I felt I could perform every song on stage and hit on a certain emotion.
Emotions are essential in your work. Good times, bad times, joy, and pain, your album has a lot of this duality. Are there a lot of pages you wanna tear out of your 'photo album' or will you keep all of them?
I'd keep all of them. The balance is what I'm constructed of. I see reason in both good and bad and that recognition influences my decisions. I do wish I knew my Dad more, because I always like hearing people’s perspective and his would've made me a different person.
What's intriguing about a photo album is the mystery among the pictures. There's often smiling faces but with broken souls. What’s your secret to help them overcome adversity?
The people, family and friends believe in me. I know I can actually convey what they are going through, I'm a conduit. It's wild how, out of terrible circumstances, I can make a song and the person going through them smiles while listening to it. They can get a sense of relief that they aren't the only one.
Dreaming is a good thing to set objectives, but is it not more important to dream small? To keep your head from hitting the wall when things don’t work out?
The most important thing is to strive and take into account the lessons learned and experiences you learn from pursuing your dreams. You may want to be a singer, poet, lawyer, or whatever but in the midst of that you gain a lesson to become the best manager. The direction you're headed, doesn't necessarily mean it’s the path you're going to be successful on.
‘Joy and Pain’ is a smashing single, when did you know that your energy along with Apollo Brown's would be banging?
Thanks, I actually had that track and ‘Vanish’ (also produced by Apollo Brown, ed.) at the same time. I recorded ‘Vanish’ first and then when I felt what the song was saying to me, I recorded. The song felt like a celebration of my return and after all the delays and everything else, the Joy and Pain became brilliance.
Will there be a video of ‘Joy And Pain’?
Yeah, I shot a video for it and I’m still doing some shots. I’m thinking to release it as part of a DVD maybe.
With all these photos poppin’ up, it seems like everyone is taking pictures all day everywhere and put everything online all the time. Does it annoy you as an artist?
I don't mind the photos, it's part of advertising. Today you have to think of marketing everything second you can.
What's your favourite color?
Royal blue and red are my favorite colors because it’s easy to find clothes to match.
Are you reading any of the English romantic poet Wordsworth?
Nah, I did in college a little, but that was to pass.
The subjects you're dealing with aren't the easiest ones. You rap about life lessons learned, experiences, and true feelings. If you were born in the nineteenth century, in the romantic era, you really would be a poet like Wordsworth…
Yeah, maybe, I honestly just feel like how you use music to score a film, I use words to score an album. I go with what the music tells me to do, my instincts.
We don't hear a lot of rappers tackle such issues. How come?
I think it’s track selection sometimes. I try to listen to tracks that need a story or a message. Also many don't think about affecting others. Their so caught up in ‘Listen to me, I'm dope’ that they don't care to touch others.
You mentioned film, would you write poems for other media other than rap?
Yeah, I'd write poems for television or whatever. If you just play my songs accapella you got poetry.
A photo album brings back good memories....do you remember your Belgium gig (http://www.democrazy.be/content/j-live-live-kila-kela) in Ghent with J-Live?
I honestly don't, been so many gigs they often get lost in the memory bank.
It's almost ten years ago, but we could really see the energy and hunger. That day we thought you would never quit rappin...
Yeah, it's even more intense now, because I got more music. I go with the vibe and I plan on rapping forever but we'll see.
When you browse through your rap career, what are some of the best memories you have?
The open mics at Nuyorican Poets Café, recording for the A Tribe Called Quest album, touring with Masta Ace and EMC, the Lyricist Lounge shows, dropping ‘Mirror Music’ and ‘The Photo Album’, recording for the ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ movie soundtrack and hearing the song come on with kids at Nickelodeon Hotel, performing at Hip Hop Kemp, so many, man!
What's next for Wordsworth?
Got a project recorded with Skeematics. Also started my next solo project already. Thank you for the interview! Catch me @WordsworthEMC on twitter or on Facebook.
‘The Photo Album’ in stores June 13, 2012.