While he gathered himself to begin the interview, a knock interrupted his thought process. “Yerrrrr!” said his roommate, “Did you order food? It’s here!”. The very funny personality, who first flashed a confused look followed by a reassuring head nod, suddenly sprang from his bed. “Yeah, it was me! I’m coming up now.” he said as he hurriedly ran up the basement stairs. “I ordered so much food and I completely forgot that I did that. Everything just looked so good – I didn’t know what to do!! Do you want a wonton?” I smiled to myself as I recalled the first time I met WordSmiff and the differences between then and now. It was about a year to the day, with nearly identical weather conditions and that same suggestively charming smile displayed. I remembered being met by an eccentric, much cockier person; a far cry from the quietly confident man that was sitting in front of me at that moment. It was quite special to observe; that cockiness once displayed was now replaced with a maturity that could only come from that of true humbling and experience.
It has been one hell of a year for New York City based rapper, WordSmiff. The 26 year old budding star has given his critics a run for their money with his 2015 release of “Bars Over Everything III: The Goodfella”, following up just a short 8 months post his release of the critically acclaimed “Bars Over Everything II: The Savor”. Despite not having the easiest of times growing up, from being forced to move from his birthplace of Brookyln, NY to the suburbs of Westchester, struggling with random stints in corporate America, and a multitude of issues with politics around music scene, the St. John’s graduate managed to impress even the most skeptical with his unique New York sound. With comparisons to the likes of Nas, J.Cole, and Joel Ortiz, WordSmiff’s individual style can be attributed to his unmitigated work ethic and dedication to being the best the city has to offer.
Spearheading a core group of New York artists, Wordsmiff pioneered a resurgence of the underground scene in NYC and helped cultivate the rebranding of what is known of the Indie Hip Hop sector today. There are major complexities that any artists face while learning about themselves, however the events leading to the resurgence of this wordsmith is one of epic trials and tribulations. The year long rollercoaster ride, which included leaving his beloved New York City, disappointments with many industry professionals, receiving distressing family news, and a stint with deep depression, the creative never wavered from his craft. “So many things went wrong for me last year, but when things went down with my family, I realized it was time for me to stop playing around and really focus on what I needed to do.”
Using the tough life events as a fuel of sorts, the creative worked tirelessly to improve upon the critically acclaimed “Bars over Everything II”. “I’m always writing, I’m always improving,” he says. “Even though [Bars Over Everything III] is done, I’m currently writing for the next project.” Not only has WordSmiff matured personally, the sound of his music has drastically changed in such a short amount of time since the release of BOE II. “My approach was to give the same high level of lyricism, with something that can move them too.” says the rapper. Though his second project broke barriers for him, he found that many didn’t really understand his artistry. Despite countless accolades from several media outlets and peers, as well as a stage presence unmatched by most on the scene, the artist still feels like he has much to prove to those around him. “People were still writing me off, people still weren’t hearing me,” says the artist. “They were saying things like ‘oh you’re just a good writer, a good lyricist, but do you have hits?’ I knew I had to change that.”
The release of Bars Over Everything III: The Goodfella has proved that he took the criticism seriously, circumventing a robust sound that echoes that more of an album rather than a mixtape. The project features a different producer for almost every track, which showcases the versatility he was eager to prove to the masses. “The beat selection is what makes all the difference for me this go around, because I really got the chance to sit with them and figure out what I wanted to do.” said WordSmiff, adding with a laugh “It was really was just like “why didn’t I just do this before? What was wrong with me?!”
Perhaps the biggest difference for WordSmiff now, is the addition of a solid recording and management team behind him. The Suite Life, compromised of Brooklyn based videographer Julius Stukes and fellow rapper Req Cartier, helped the artist bring together the sound that might have been missing from BOEII. “We served as mentors to each other,” he recounts. “I pushed them to succeed and they pushed me to succeed. It’s really special how it all came together.” The work never stops for the trio however, with a slew of projects on the roster for the near future. “I have a joint project coming with Req [Cartier] for the summer, as well as my sketch comedy series that we’re bringing back,” says WordSmiff. “As well as the promotion of our brand ‘Sober Life’ coming very soon.” As for another installment in the “Bars Over Everything” series, the public is just going to have to wait and see. “I might do a [Bars Over Everything IV], you never know,” he says. “I’m always changing my mind – I can never agree with myself.”
I continued to reminisce with the artist about our first meeting. “Can you believe that much time has passed and how much you’ve changed – in a good way? You told me that you were the sh*t and that nobody could see you in this rap game.” We both erupt with enormous laughter at the thought. “And that’s still true!” he replied with that same contagious smile I was greeted with at our first meeting and countless times thereafter. “No but to be honest, that kind of cockiness comes from you losing yourself; from when you lose God in your spirit. You have to make the decision right then and there – is that the person you were raised to be? You have to hit the lowest of lows and humble yourself to get to that point. That’s how you grow. And that’s where I am now. It’s so much of a better place.” He cheekily adds with a slight shrug and smile, “I’m still great though…”
“Bars Over Everything III: The Goodfella” is available for stream and download now! Be sure to check it out and leave us your thoughts! And for even more scoop on BOEIII, take a look at our exclusive interview with Wordsmiff below as well!