Review: Ocean Wisdom - Wizville
Right then, it seems that we’ve all been waiting a little while for this one. Heavily anticipated, rumours of big name features and a spot in a Nike advert to whet the appetite, can Ocean Wisdom’s latest offering really be as good as all the hype?
Honestly; never in doubt. The record, from track 1 to 21(!), somehow exceeds expectation in a way that only Ocean Wisdom can. Unlike the Nike advert, Wizville, isn’t a tacky, clichéd, cashing in of ‘The Culture’ and instead is a respectful, robust and, at times, incendiary nod to the forbearers of UK urban and hip-hop culture. With features from Rodney P, Roots Manuva, P Money, Chester P, Jehst and Dizzee Rascal; Wizville, albeit a salute to the Dons, is a clever contemporary piece too that easily stands on its own two feet and at times walks all over other offerings.
Revvin’ with Dizzee and the Chester P assisted Incidents neatly highlight Wisdom’s influences and his two, in my opinion, strongest abilities. In the latter he pairs himself with one of the most lyrically blessed UK MCs, standing toe to toe with Chester P. In the former, he showcases his incredible flow with one of the fastest spitters in the game; both tracks acknowledge Wisdom’s prowess and flexibility.
Wizzy not only showcases all of the great hip-hop album checklist but also, in a 21 deep track-list, somehow maintains a characteristic energy and creativity throughout with witty self-referential quips. He does this while soaring through a galaxy of UK Underground (can we still call it that?) genres. From DnB to Grime to Dub influenced tracks; he leaves few genre-stones unturned showcasing an unparalleled lyrical ability and a truly pioneering swagger.
Oh yeah, the Method Man feature! Nothing serves to highlight his meteoric rise through international Hip-Hop’s consciousness. So much so that the OG, Wu Tang stalwart has seen fit to bless a track with him. Ain’t bad! The track itself isn’t a feature heavy sound, with sole focus on Method Man but instead comes across as a head to head between two blessed and matched MCs. Wisdom never holds back and on Ting Dun he leaves it all on the table. Meth’s supportive ad-lib throughout Wisdom’s verses show that it is a genuine respectful collaboration and not a heavy handed namedrop.
Before this starts turning into a ‘rising star’ piece, I’m going to nip it in the bud. Let us remember that Wisdom has been the franchise player for High Focus for two years, with his first offering Chaos 93 an equally credible release. He’s not a fresh-faced one-to-watch anymore and deserves, now, to be placed in the rafters along with the greats he’s heading towards. The young MC’s latest offering isn’t a drop in the ocean (excuse me) but instead a Tsunami (excuse me again) ready to wash away (I’m going to stop now) any doubt surrounding this mans unquestionable move towards being one of the UK’s hardest modern MC’s. No hyperbole. Favourite album of 2018 so far. Yup, I went there.
Rudi Minto de Wijs