Despite actuality alone 27-years-old, Patrick “Wiki” Morales is article of an OG in agreement of New York hip-hop. As a teenager, he and the associates of the accumulation Ratking fabricated after-effects in the city’s rap arena for their active activity and ability for sonic experimentation. Alike then, Wiki stood out as a preternaturally able adolescent MC, carrying nimble, tongue-twisting confined in a quintessentially New York — or, rather, “New Yawk” — register. The Manhattan built-in raps with a apparent adulation for his burghal and abundant of his assignment aback acceptable a abandoned act is fueled by a bend built-in in the bristles boroughs. He alike declared himself the ambassador on his appropriately blue-blooded 2017 album, No Mountains in Manhattan.
These days, Wiki channels the bend of a affiliated New Yorker, both accustomed by a burghal in affiliated flux, and centered in his own faculty of community. On the rapper’s latest anthology Half God, Wiki is as anxious with award accord from aural as he is with authoritative abiding transplants amusement his hometown with respect. The aftereffect is one of the year’s best acute rap albums. Wiki strikes a absolute antithesis amid the hyperactive activity of his beforehand assignment and a anew abstinent bend which arrives partly acknowledgment to assembly assignment from the rapper and ambassador Navy Blue (also accepted as the able skateboarder Sage Elsesser). Over Zoom, Wiki describes how the affecting accuracy at the affection of Half God came to him during the accomplished year of lockdown. “This accomplished action has been about a assertive activity architecture in myself and advancing out of a abode area I was activity a little brackish about my activity and music and aloof everything,” he says.
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The album’s adroit palette, abounding with affable sample loops and apathetic rolling melodies, provides a amplitude for Wiki’s talents to flash in a way they haven’t before. He’s continued displayed a allowance for architecture spell-binding verses over aloof about any beat, but actuality he dives added into the writing, amalgam intricately self-reflective raps that amble like poetry. “What I gotta do to get through after copping a brew/Twist off the top for a abrupt moment, put a stop to the blues,” he raps on “Can’t Do This Alone. “But afresh it about-face into a cycle, ain’t no endlessly the blues/So I had to put a stop to the booze, popped me some shrooms.”
Wiki batten to Rolling Stone about award a new faculty of himself in his artistic process, actuality in New York during the pandemic, and the accent of community.
For you, was there a moment aback you accomplished you were putting calm a abounding album? I was out in L.A. alive with my acquaintance Dom, who is in Mount Kimbie, and afresh Sage [Navy Blue] brought me through to the Alchemist’s studio. And I acquainted like I was with my peers, you apperceive what I mean? And I was with Earl [Sweatshirt] and concluded up affair Roc Marciano, aloof like, as he anesthetized through the studio. To me, that’s one of my best favorites, a legend. It’s absolutely funny, I bethink I was kinda abject because I had these little abate socks on and I aloof acquainted mad insecure, my bliss was dusty. I was like, I can’t accept I aloof met Roc in the arenaceous joints.
But, you know, I acquainted good. And that was that aforementioned trip, like a anniversary or something, area me and Earl did “All I Need.” And it was aloof a absolutely abundant feeling. I got to go out a lot with Earl. We would go and get aliment and aloof allocution about aggregate activity on in our lives. And I sensed in him this new affectionate of aplomb area you’re like, absolutely happy. Not that he wasn’t assured before, but it’s that activity area you can acquaint addition is like, “I’m blessed area I’m at and with who I am.” And I acquainted that affectionate of besom off on me. Then, aback we fabricated that track, we were all absolutely absorbed about it. So that aloof affectionate of set the tone. This was still afore I absolutely broke in mentally, aloof in agreement of myself personally. I was still bubbler a lot aback then, I slowed bottomward on that aback I was autograph this record. But at the aforementioned time, it was the alpha of that absolute trajectory. And you can alike apprehend it on that verse. I’m advancing from a abrogating place, but I’m additionally saying, Nah, I got to put things into bend about what’s absolutely important. And I feel like that was the alpha of that activity on the album, and the abode I’m advancing from now.
The aboriginal affair I noticed was that this anthology feels a lot slower. Like, the accent is added about the complication of the writing. Yeah. Navy was aloof sending me beats, and I was aloof autograph and autograph and writing. I had this moment area I acquainted a lot of it brought me aback to my roots. It brought me aback to what got me into hip-hop in the aboriginal place, and why I admired it. And I acquainted like I was authoritative the blazon of music I consistently absolutely capital to make. And so it was maybe a little bit added slowed down. But at the aforementioned time, as a result, added focused and affectionate of accessible to abstract as well. For a continued time, my action was added about absolutely blame it out and accepting to sit there and be like let me get this 24 off or whatever, let me get this 16 off. But with this, it was about the opposite. It was like, now I charge to cut things bottomward because I got so abundant advancing in waves. And I wasn’t aggravating to booty that for granted, you know? I apperceive how appropriate that is as an artist, inspiration, and all that. So it was a abundant feeling. And Navy’s assembly and his attendance is what brought a lot of that out of me.
How do you anticipate alive with him impacted this project? I’ve accepted Sage for a minute, so it was acceptable to absolutely assignment on music because music is a actual claimed affair to both of us. So aback you’re alive on music with addition in that way, it becomes a accomplished altered affectionate of connection. I feel like it brought our accord alike closer, to a abode area now we can absolutely allocution to anniversary added about whatever. If he’s activity through something, if I’m activity through something, we can chop it up. He’ll appear by my block and bark up at me on the blaze escape. So it’s acceptable to accept that element. It doesn’t aloof feel like this actuality that I’m aloof accommodating with. There’s a claimed affiliation there, too. I absolutely acquainted like it fabricated a lot of sense. Both of our backgrounds and how we came up. We’ve been in the accessible eye, not necessarily the boilerplate but aloof affectionate of this underground world. We’ve been out actuality actuality productive. And we’ve accepted anniversary added over all these years, whether it’s through his sister, through Earl, or whatever. So all of that advancing calm forth with the music he was making, and how I was mentally able to absolutely tap in. It all came calm perfectly.
Yeah, and like you mentioned, you’ve been in the bold for a minute now. Do you feel like this is a new era for you? Oh yeah, for sure. I feel like this is like my aboriginal album. I apperceive that sounds mad banal to say, but aloof in agreement of actuality a new chapter, you apperceive what I mean? It’s like, I don’t feel any of the weight of the accomplished captivation me aback or authoritative me feel like, oh, I could’ve done that better. I’m aloof like, let’s move forward. To me, aggregate up until now was like school. I bare that to get to area I’m at. I’m blessed I had that. And it isn’t like I’m not appreciative of aggregate I’ve done so far, but I feel like with this activity I’m assuredly in a abode area there’s no distractions. I acclimated to anticipate about it like, “oh, you had your time. That was the window area there’s the spark.” You apperceive how it goes, with things like the columnist and aback everyone’s all hyped. And that’s all it is, hype. It’s hype. It’s whatever bodies see as new. But afresh already that advertising fades, you can alpha to accept doubts. I chock-full cerebration about that shit. I was like, let me focus on creating and actuality an artisan and accepting aback to why I adulation authoritative music. And I anticipate it’s absorbing how that works. Already you do that, all the added things band up because you’re not overthinking it.
What do you feel like the aberration is amid this activity and your beforehand abandoned albums?It’s area I am in my life. That all goes into it. With Oofie, for example, I acquainted it wasn’t absolutely realized. It was like article I put together, but I had assertive account from assertive altered things that didn’t appear out and didn’t work. I mean, I affectionate of fabricated it work. And I anticipate that I’m a blockhead rapper, and I anticipate that I accept blockhead collaborators about me. So I anticipate Oofie’s a blockhead accumulating of music, and I anticipate it’s a blockhead album. But it’s aloof not the aforementioned as area I was at for this one. And I anticipate that’s important in an artist’s career. It’s like you accept your altered moments.
Do you anticipate this is your best anthology so far?Oh, yeah, for sure. I anticipate this is my best anthology yet. Alike bodies that I’ve apparent it to, who maybe like me on a added fast bounce exhausted — not that there’s not any of that on the record, because there is — but a added accustomed blazon of sound, maybe a little bit added experimental, let’s say. But alike still anybody has said to me that this is my best record. At the aforementioned time, that additionally creates a little bit of burden for myself too. I’m like, “Damn alright.” But ultimately I aloof appetite to accumulate it focused, and accumulate authoritative art and accumulate authoritative music.
You mentioned affair Roc Marciano in the studio, you additionally accept Remy Banks on the album, addition allegorical figure.Oh, of course. Remy Banks is a New York legend. That’s additionally my brother though. I’ve accepted Remy Banks forever. That’s one of my abutting homies in the game. And Remy’s absolutely air-conditioned with Sage, too. They’re actual close. So it aloof fabricated faculty to accept him on the album, abnormally on that almanac because of what the song’s about. It aloof absolutely fabricated faculty for me and Remy to get on that together.
And you don’t accept a lot of appearance on the album, but with the ones you do have, there’s array of a arch amid the earlier beachcomber in the burghal and the newer scene, with bodies like MIKE, and Duendita, and Navy Blue. I feel like in a sense, I’m affectionate of the absolute affiliation because me and Ratking and World’s Fair, we would comedy in shows calm during that accomplished era aback all that bits popped off. It’s funny because aback I allocution about that aeon now, bodies apperceive what I’m talking about. Because it was absolutely an era, you apperceive what I mean? That affectionate of 2011 and 2012 moment was like a accomplished new wave. And afresh now we’re affectionate of in a new era. But at the aforementioned time, alike if on the alfresco it doesn’t assume connected, it is in a way, because we’re all recording in agnate places. Aback MIKE started recording, he would appear through to the studios I was at — we were all bridge paths. So it’s organic. And it fabricated faculty for this almanac altogether because of the aforementioned thing. Navy works with MIKE, and with Duendita. I absolutely hit up Navy, like, “Yo, I’m cerebration about accepting Duendita on ‘Still Here.’ Do you apperceive her?” And afresh he hits me up on FaceTime — he’s with her, accepting cafeteria at a restaurant in Brooklyn. So it all absolutely lined up. I anticipate it fabricated sense. And annihilation absolutely acquainted like it was a stretch.
Thinking about New York this accomplished year, did you apprehension a altered blazon of activity in the burghal during the pandemic? Yeah, for sure. It’s been an absorbing time in New York. Abnormally aback anybody was abroad in that aboriginal period. I don’t feel like as New Yorkers we’ve accomplished annihilation like that in a continued time. And alive that anybody affectionate of larboard except for the bodies that were absolutely active actuality solidly, not aloof like, oh, I’m active here. You apperceive what I mean? Bodies that accept absolutely been actuality with locals. So it was an absorbing time. It was affectionate of cool, honestly. And afresh already aggregate best aback up, I feel like the arrival was crazy. That bond fabricated it absolutely feel like a lot. There was this accomplished affair of “New York’s back.” And for me, I was kinda like, whoa. I got acclimated to the chill, you apperceive what I mean? But it’s acutely acceptable that bodies are authoritative money again, and businesses can survive. It’s absolutely been a adamantine time for New York. I’m not activity to say that that’s not true.
For sure. I bethink walking about Lower Manhattan aftermost year and it was silent. For a while, it acquainted like you were able to absolutely get to apperceive your neighbors and the association about you. And that’s the added thing. Because obviously, bodies appetite to be safe and not get added bodies sick. But I feel like if you’re absolutely in a adjacency or in a assertive community, there was this afterpiece affiliation because things were beneath hectic. There were beneath bodies around. So you absolutely started to get to apperceive the bodies that you’d see every day. And it created that accepted because you’re not aloof active about everywhere. And it gave a lot of bodies time to reflect on life. I apperceive a lot of bodies that, whether they afflicted their career administration or their relationships, it was a time for them to absolutely put things into bend about what’s important in life.
And you accept the clue “Home,” which curtains into a bit of a political angle. What aggressive you to put that on the record?With “Home,” it’s absorbing because it goes able-bodied with “The Business,” because on that clue I’m activity through it, I’m all pissed off about transplants and the money ancillary of aggregate in New York. And afresh “Home” is affectionate of me attractive at it as a New Yorker, and aloof from my times and travels. It’s like, there’s not aloof one home. You accept these altered places that feel like home. There’s no one home for me. And aloof that abstraction of actuality a nomad, alike admitting the irony of it is that for a lot of the almanac the accomplished abstraction is that I’m the best bounded guy ever. But at the aforementioned time, that abstraction of actuality drifting alike aural the city. And never accepting that one place, consistently affective about from bassinet to crib, aggravating to amount it out. One day you could be active in a fucking closet, and afresh you get the nice bassinet for a little while because you got the hookup. Whatever it is. It’s that affiliated drifting shit. That’s what “Home” is about to me. I adulation that record. That’s one that I absolutely fabricated affectionate of early. And I bethink analytic it like, is this dope? And afresh recently, I’ve been call and I’m like, “Nah, this shit’s hard.”
Even on some of your earlier records, it seems like gentrification and the changes in the burghal are capacity that you tend to allocution about. Why do you anticipate that’s important to you?A lot of times, bodies ask, “What was it like growing up in New York?” And it’s like, I don’t apperceive what it was like to abound up anywhere else. But with that comes gentrification and seeing the burghal change. To me, that’s what it’s like actuality developed in New York aback you’re from New York. That’s what it’s like growing up in New York because you see the burghal change. And obviously, aggregate changes and things get updated, but New York is aloof a affiliated change. In a blink of an eye, everything’s different. It’s article that in New York is inevitable. Not assured as in we shouldn’t try to stop gentrification, but bodies affective to New York Burghal is inevitable. So it’s about actuality admiring about it, accomplishing it the appropriate way. Like I anticipate about my old beautician and acceptable acquaintance Johnny, who’s from out of town. You know, because of that fact, he holds it bottomward harder. There’s absolute account for the ability here. Like he’ll be out arena brawl in the street, hitting the ice parlor. Because he’s a archetypal blazon of dude, you feel me? He’s a community-oriented guy. It’s like what I said on “The Business.” It’s about alive what association is.
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