Walking along one of the busy streets of Lower Manhattan, I place my headphones on my head, and press play on Wiki & Navy Blue’s Half God.
Already feeling the eerie, minimal, punchy sound of the groovy beat, parallel to the fast-paced, energetic and nervous energy of city life around me. The brown, black and smokey aesthetic of my surroundings is countered by the sunny “Can’t Do This Alone” featuring Navy Blue. The animated, colourful, light and picturesque beat catches the occasional sunlight of the outside. Bodegas and local markets capture the diverse and eclectic energy of a multicultural hub, and with the guitar-led grooves and atmospheric synths of “Never Fall Off” create this homely vibe and aesthetic that is so introspective, with Wiki’s potent and personal lyrics being beautiful. It’s a heartfelt love track, and paints a pure picture of Wiki’s state of mind, a true highlight on this album. Manhattan meets London on “Drug Supplier” with Jesse James Solomon, while the ethereal “Wiki Da God” is another standout on the album. The disorienting beat on “Ego Death” is striking, and as I continue walking past the busy streets of New York. Old drunks, homeless people desperate for a dollar. People rushing, pushing people aside. Loud noises coming from all corners. The heady “The Business” complements this vibe perfectly. I see this man at the side of the street, freestyling over a simple drum beat, a few people around him, nodding their heads to the grooves and flows. He seems like he feels at home in this overwhelming city. The bounce of “All I Need” is incredible, as Earl Sweatshirt’s presence feels warm and reassuring. As I continue walking along the lower streets of Manhattan, the grandiosity of the city hugs me, as I feel like i belong here. “Gas Face” featuring Remy Banks is exemplary of this feeling. Despite all Wiki’s hardships, his reflections show just how far he’s come. This is what makes this album as a whole such an overwhelming and positive one. “Promised” featuring MIKE and the ethereal, duendita-featuring “Still Here” are exemplary of this. The latter track especially has some of the most heartfelt verses from Wiki. The grimy, drum-heavy “New Truths” reflects the grittiness and hard-shelled nature of the big city, while “Grape Soda” is this crazy minimalist track with Wiki’s incredible flows and verses complementing and contrasting the simplicity of the beat. All of Wiki’s struggles, wins and successes are all wrapped into a ball of soulful hip-hop music, produced by the incredible Navy Blue. It’s a transcendent body of work that reflects Wiki’s lived experiences so beautifully and poignantly. A poetic and musical masterpiece indeed.