The album is most remembered because of the single "Time's Up". The instrumental to the track was used in the movie 8 Mile, starring rapper Eminem, in a rap battle scene. The song was a scathing accusation, pointed at thug-posturers who were flooding the hip hop scene at the time. Vocal clips from the song have been sampled in numerous hip hop tracks throughout the years; including Mos Def's song "Hip Hop" off of his 1999 album Black on Both Sides and Big L's song "The Enemy", which appears on his posthumous album The Big Picture.
AllMusic editor M.F. DiBella said that Word...Life signaled "the arrival of one of modern rap's more gifted storytelling lyricists", noting how O.C. delivers the "East Coast B-boyism" found in "Time's Up" but excels on "Born to Live" and the more "existential subject matter" on the record thanks to Organized Konfusion providing "thought-provoking intellectual diversity" throughout the record.