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12 January, 2005@12:00 am

Mixtape release, no rating given.

     Debuting in the late 90′s indy boom as a member of the now defunct MhZ, Copywrite shared mic time with fellow emcees Camu Tao and Jakki The Motomouth, each blessed by then unknown producer RJD2. But while MhZ’s experimental styles never really caught on, each of its members saw greater success as solo artists after the crew disbanded. While RJ’s beats banged the hardest, Copywrite’s rhymes were spit the loudest, as he secured a cult fanbase with his debut solo album, The High Exhaulted, courtesy of High & Mighty’s Eastern Conference imprint. After leaving the New York indy scene and disassociating himself with many of the close knit artists and labels attached to it, Copywrite takes it back home with the release of Cruise Control Mixtape Vol. One, now backed with a new crew and label both which share the name O.D.O.T. 

       Cruise Control isn’t the official follow-up to the High Exhaulted, and while it does feature members of his Ohio crew on virtually every track, it’s not a lousy D12-style crew album either. Just as the name says, Cruise Control Mixtape Vol. One is just that – a 27 track collection of b-sides, freestyles, and throwaways to hold us over until his next solo effort is released. Much like Weathermen’s The Conspiracy (of which Copywrite was a part of), this mixtape also presents a hodge-podge of sounds and styles that reflect the past, present, and future of the emcee. Some bang better than others, and obviously when Copy enlists a-list production talent, it shows. Longtime dues payer Jake One shows and proves on the opener, “I’m Back (Just For A Second)”, as Copy quickly reminds us why we like him in the first place, spitting the proverbial hot flames with Twista-esque delivery. Jake-One also lends his talent to “Beautiful Trainwreck”, giving his trademark piano stabs to Copy and newcomer Tage, who easily shows why he’s worthy to wear the O.D.O.T. stripes. Copy also gets love from Detroit’s finest producer, J-Dilla, who blesses Cruise Control with three tracks, the melodic “That’s A Wrap”, the Jaylib-esque “Alright”, and “Clap!”, which packs heat, despite a lazy hook. Finally, J-Zone provides chopped loveliness on “Happy Hour”, another freestyle free-for-all, rich with flavor. 

     While much of the album is made up of freestyles over other beats (Nas “Thief’s Theme”, Mobb Deep “Got It Twisted”, N.E.R.D. “Rock Star”, etc), it leaves little room for growth, however the Bink produced “Size 12′s” offers a glimpse of what to expect from Copy’s next solo effort. Picking up where “June” left off, “Size 12′s” is another heartfelt letter to his father, explaining Copy’s inner pain, and showing that there is more to him than witty (and the occasionally corny) punch-rhymes. But if it’s punch rhymes you want, Cruise Control is packed with them, as almost every lyric included has some witty rewindable repertoire to it. The O.D.O.T. family of Tage, Jakki, KingDom, Catalyst, and Meta4ce has no problem keeping up either, as they compete for the spotlight, seeing who can outdo each other with the funnier or more obnoxious lyric. 

      Cruise Control Vol. One isn’t an album, and should be treated more like an appetizer to the main course. While Copy’s defection from the Weathermen and budding interest from major labels suggests that we could hear an entirely different sound when his sophomore release finally drops, as long as it doesn’t sound like “Firin’” (the album’s only true dud), everything should be okay. Ohio dogs on top!!

  Mixtape D.L.
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