Rapper Wiki, real name Patrick Morales, is reeling from performing his first live show in London for a minute. Last week, at Camden’s Jazz Cafe, the 28-year-old fired up his fans with compulsive tracks from his critically acclaimed, third solo album Half God (2021) – and he loved every minute of it.
“It was sick, a really good hip-hop crowd,” Wiki says, Zooming in from his Airbnb in the city, sun shining through the windows. “There was a great energy and vibe. People were super receptive and it felt good to be back. London’s my favourite place to play outside my hometown.”
A New Yorker through and through, musically, Wiki has been around the block a few times. From 2011 to 2016, he was part of the underground hip-hop group Ratking and later Secret Circle, before cutting his teeth as a solo MC on his 2017 debut album, No Mountains in Manhattan.
Last year’s Half God, though, marked a serious period of growth and self-reflection for Wiki. Produced entirely by his good friend Navy Blue, AKA skater and musician Sage Elsesser, it was an ode of sorts to NYC, fuelled by his anger towards the city’s relentless gentrification and appreciation for its tight-knit communities.
A symbiotic match, Navy Blue’s hypnotic beats made for the perfect backdrop to Wiki’s rhythmic flow and vulnerable, witty lyricism: “Twist off the top for every moment, put a stop to the blues/But then it turn into a cycle, ain’t no stoppin’ the blues/So I had to put a stop to the booze” on Can’t Do This Alone; “Fuck love it’s myself I need to get in touch with/It’s my health I need to get on top of” on All I Need, featuring childhood pal Earl Sweatshirt.
“Collaboration is an essential part of everything I do,” Wiki continues. “Navy came in like, ‘I’m going to produce this album for Wik.’ That was always the intention, which made the process really smooth. It was just a feeling, we came together very freely – nothing was overthought or over-conceptualised.”
And 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for Wiki, who’s got a “crazy” project with producer Tony Seltzer in the works, as well as “a bunch of music” he’s still figuring out how best to release. But for now, get your 100% fill on Wiki below.
10% Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
I was born in Manhattan, New York. I was raised on the Upper West Side. I lived there pretty much my whole life, until I moved to Chinatown, then Brooklyn. Now I’m based in the Lower East Side.
20% How would you say you’ve evolved creatively over the last couple of years?
I’ve been writing a lot more. When you’ve been rapping for so long, you go through periods where you’re uninspired. Covid was a weird time for everybody and I re-evaluated some stuff in my life, figured out where I was at and remembered why I was doing this in the first place. That’s all connected to my creativity. Once I found more structure in myself, I was able to grow. I’m working on a lot of new music and I’m sitting on good shit.
30% At what point did you realise you’d be able to do what you love for a living?
Music is always what I wanted to do. I never considered working for someone else, because it was important for me to be on my own time, creating my own world. I wanted to create my own way to be professional in a viable way. Looking back, maybe that was naive, but now it is what it is! I’m still trying to sustain myself and I enjoy that process. It inspires me.
40% What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
When I first started rapping, my OG told me: “You’re nice. Always be you, be the weirdo you are.” To me, that’s what hip-hop’s about, making something your own.
50% What kinds of emotions and experiences influence your work?
The experience of life and the world we live in, analysing that and how it all connects. We have such an impact on the world and yet hardly any power at all, you know? It’s a whole balance. That goes for emotions, too, whether I’m feeling angry, vengeful, but also willing to let go of the petty shit to flow more freely through life. I’m a Libra, so maybe that’s why I’m on my balanced shit!
60% If you’re cooking food to impress someone, what will you make?
I’m not really the best cook, but I’d probably just hit them with breakfast in bed. You can just cook eggs and bacon, but they’d still be like, “Oh shit! That’s mad sweet and thoughtful!” When someone wakes up and there’s already food cooking – the act itself is impressive. And you can’t really mess up eggs and bacon.
70% What’s the most pointless fact you can share?
Back in the day, there were mad oysters in New York, in the river and shit. They’d sell them on the street, so back in the 1860s or whatever, they were basically like what hot dogs or slices of pizza are to us now. Oysters were people’s street food. That’s some bougie shit.
80% You rule the world for a day. What’s going down?
No one can have more than a billion dollars – apart from Hov. It’s too much, you got to get rid of that. Some people have 20 billion dollars in the bank and act like they’re helping the world. No one person or family needs that. I say except for Hov because he really came up. But yeah, there’s too much struggle.
90% What’s the strangest DM you’ve received?
Nothing too crazy, you know. I get sent cool art sometimes, which is dope. Also when people tell me they play my shit to their kids, like they’re gonna come up and say they were listening to Wiki. That’s ill.
100% Name something you love, something you like and something you hate.
I like coffee, I love a nice herbal tea with some honey or ginger. I hate tuna fish! With the mayo, cut up and that… No, no. I hate that. It’s hard for me to be in a room when that shit’s around – and I be in New York diners, everyone eats that shit.