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Today, Columbus-based rapper Copywrite releases his free album Carbon Copy’s Phony Art Pub Scam through Man Bites Dog Records. The title of the album, which was premiered by OkayPlayer, is a play on The Beatles’ famous record Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and starting with the album cover, it’s a mix of honorary sampling coupled with what can feel like irreverence. However, there’s nothing but genuine excitement in this project which is, for Copy, his way, “of paying homage to one of my favorite groups and albums of all time.”

Feeling burnt out on hip-hop after releasing two albums in the past year, Copy was craving something different. He went on a Beatles and Beach Boys binge, and one day, while listening to Sgt. Pepper’s, he recounts, “I had the headphone jack halfway in and it played only the speaker with the music and not the vocals.” Immediately struck by the unorthodox time signatures, Copy was excited by the challenge of it. “I love rapping complex and crazy, but I never really have the platform for that,” says Copy, “It was perfect.”

Lennon’s lyric “It was 20 years ago today” resonated with Copy’s long history with the genre. “I started when I was 14 and now I’m 34,” says Copy explaining the way it hit him, “I felt as if Lennon was talking to that young emcee out of bumfuck Ohio.” He continues, “I’m rapping about things I’ve never rapped about in my 20 years of emceeing.” There’s a brooding weight to the tracks, which are often self-reflective, darkly personal narratives. Dealing with new territory in subject matter also influenced its production. “I’m rapping using a different delivery on this,” Copy says, it’s “more close to my regular speaking voice.”

Stand-outs “ADHD Quality”, “Read A…” and “When I’m (In The) Six (One) Four” incorporate delicate melodies with very recognizable samples from the classic tracks, a complement which adds gravity to Copy’s verse. Despite the seriousness of the songs, Copy adds that “I had a lot of fun with this, more than any album I’ve made before.” That enjoyment shows because throughout, the production is considered carefully with layers of news clips, radio and television samples mingling with Beatles parts. Tracks like “I Love Lucy”, “High With Friendz” and “Your Life In A Day” stick more closely to the themes of the original songs, while others veer off in very different directions. There’s a lot going on in Carbon Copy’s Phony Art Pub Scam, but for Copy, it comes down to some simple and important things. He says, “I just hope I can turn some kids on to the fab 4 and push the envelope a little!”


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