If you get anything out of Wordsmith’s King Noah album, it's that the Baltimore, MD rapper loves his son. Every track starts off with a monologue before the song begins that sometimes explains the upcoming track and always comes with some words of wisdom to his son. This touching gesture is perfectly executed on the album’s intro, and the energy is felt immediately after the rapper aptly shouts, “let’s go!” Unfortunately, this heartfelt gesture gets old by the album’s third track.

Wordsmith is a very skilled rapper. He has a nice flow, an aggressive delivery, introspective subject matter, solid lyricism and raps over pretty good production for the most part. He reminds me a little bit of a young Talib Kweli, and definitely could develop a solid underground hip-hop following, but tracks like “Never Be the Same” and “On My Job” even show flashes of mainstream potential. The posse cut, “Generation X,” for instance, features a pretty memorable hook as well as a pretty dope verse from fellow Maryland emcee Substantial.

Overall King Noah is a pretty solid album, it has moments of greatness (the title track and “The Limit) and a few moments that are pretty average and forgettable (“Globetrotters” and “Voice of the World”). Wordsmith describes himself as a “thinking man’s rapper,” and his thoughtfulness is apparent throughout the album’s 11 tracks (13 if you count the bonus tracks). He dabbles in fairly thought-provoking subject matter and he drop some valuable knowledge for his son. It’s interesting to hear a rapper be so open about his experience as a father, and in this case it seems to be very genuine. But at the same time, this album would be more enjoyable had he balanced those with other experiences--and kept most of those messages for his son more private.

-Zach Gase