Wiki, with assistance from other great MCs and produced Navy Blue, proves himself as one of the better contemporary rappers.
I first discovered Wiki thanks to his incredible feature on Earl Sweatshirt’s second record I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside in 2018. I was just getting more into hip-hop, with Earl’s record marking the point that I really discovered my love for music and Wiki’s feature being one of the greatest moments on one of the greatest tracks (he gives a devastatingly sad verse on ‘AM/Radio’), and so Wiki instantly had a spot amongst rappers who had my interest. A while after that, a friend showed me the incredibly bold experimental hip-hop of Lil Ugly Mane, and after listening to all of his records I realised that Wiki had released an album in 2019, called OOFIE, which had a track featuring both Denzel Curry and Ugly Mane… you may be able to imagine my reaction.
I wasn’t disappointed. Granted, Ugly Mane’s verse was my personal favourite (his blunt delivery and always brutal lyricism just clicks for me), but I listened to Wiki’s full album and loved it regardless. One can only fantasise about what would have been for the Secret Circle group, a group which was set to release an album consisting of Ugly Mane, Wiki and Antwon (with rumoured involvement of both Denzel Curry and Earl Sweatshirt) which was appropriately cancelled after Antwon was discovered to be a sex offender leading the others to cut ties.
After the Secret Circle collapse, it was admittedly wonderful to see that Wiki released Half God and has made his way closer to the New York style of hip-hop that came from the sLuMs collective, with this entire record being produced by the always wonderful and soulful Navy Blue, complete with features from rap’s greatest living poet Earl Sweatshirt, MIKE (seemingly the leader of the aforementioned sLuMs collective) and even a surprise appearance from UK MC Jesse James Solomon, who I recognised from the very early work of King Krule. Jesse James features on a song Krule produced under his pseudonym Edgar The Beatmaker, giving a terrific verse to ‘Deezle’.
Thankfully, Half God is mostly a record here to cement Wiki’s position as a great rapper. Navy Blue’s production helps to elevate the material, but tracks like ‘Remarkable’, ‘Wik da God’ and the single for the record, ‘All I Need’ (which features an almost two-minute Earl Sweatshirt verse!) all prove Wiki’s worth. Some tracks don’t quite work – ’Never Fall Off’ is a sweet song dedicated to Wiki’s significant other, but the delivery of the lyrics only served to make me feel awkward, as if I was hearing intimacies that belong to Wiki and his partner only. These lesser moments are made up for, though, with tracks like ‘Ego Death’ – which is a beautiful change of pace – or the MF DOOM tribute song ‘Gas Face’ (undoubtedly a more suitable and respectful tribute to the late MC than Logic’s embarrassing attempt earlier this year).
Half God has been self distributed by Wiki via Bandcamp. You can listen to the lead single, ‘All I Need’, on YouTube below: