Columbus, Ohio’s Copywrite has shared a new album called The High Exhaulted II, the sequel to his seminal debut album, 2002’s The High Exhaulted. With a storied history in underground hip-hop, his latest offering continues his reign as a sharp, deft lyricist and skilled songwriter. Here, the underground veteran weaves electrifying, dynamic verses atop abstract yet infectious production, breathlessly stringing together vivid lines. He also shows versatility here atop a wide range of production from Swab, Stu Bangas, the late great Camu Tao, and more, that draws influence from boom-bap, jazz rap, and hints of trap.
Album opener “Cold Turkey Leftovers” immediately shows that Copy can hang with the best of them in terms of flow and lyricism. He enters ferociously, piecing together descriptive bars at a rapid pace atop heavy, grandiose production. The instrumentation on “Cold Turkey Leftovers” crafts a rich, layered soundscape of powerful keys, crisp percussion and rich bass, and he floats atop it with a commanding yet smooth vocal performance. The smoky, mystical “The Lah” follows next, with Copy shouting out his home state of Ohio before delving into a whirlwind of sharply-crafted verses where he references an encyclopedic breadth of topics. The production here is intriguing and mysterious, with ethereal guitars and energetic keys blending together smoothly, underscored by subtle chimes.
“Spoiler Alert/ Have U Cena?” takes on a different, more electronic-influenced direction with gritty synths and heavy percussion. He begins with a powerful delivery and provides bristling bars aimed at wrestler John Cena, who he accuses of stealing Copy’s lyrics for his music. Over two different beats, he goes at Cena with clever, memorable punchlines and breaks down the entire situation in an engrossing fashion. “Hot Iron” builds an infectious hook with high-pitched vocal samples and playful keys, with snapping, trap-influenced percussion beneath. Here, Copy and fellow Ohio rapper Fulio deliver smooth, engaging verses full of slick lyricism, keeping the listener pressed to the speakers to catch every line.
“White Sean Price” contains elegant samples consisting of expansive vocals, warm guitars, and grooving bass. Beneath, textural drums drop in and underscore his flexible verses, as he attacks the beat with gripping, energetic flows. Cannibal Ox‘s Vordul Mega appears alongside Copy for “Maintain”, and the two underground veterans showcase natural chemistry as they discuss social injustice atop haunting production. The album closes out on a graceful note with “Silence”, produced by Camu Tao. As pensive keys and grimy drums provide a thought-provoking backdrop, he reminisces upon past memories in music and pays homage to those that have passed on. An emotive, powerful closer, “Silence” is a stirring cut that finishes the album on a high note.
The latest from underground mainstay Copywrite, The High Exhaulted II, released on Man Bites Dog Records, finds him delivering meaningful, dextrous verses atop dynamic production. An exciting album that combines a variety of sonic palettes through dark yet graceful production, this project is a gripping listen that provides surprises at every turn. The sequel to his magnetic debut LP The High Exhaulted, this project marks 20 years since that release and finds Copy as sharp as ever.
Listen to ‘The High Exhaulted II’ now: