On OOFIE, the eccentric New York MC is growing up and growing weary of his place in hip hop’s landscape
When we last heard from Wiki, it was on his 2017 studio debut No Mountains in Manhattan. A beautiful love letter to his hometown, filled with bouncy beats and playful punchlines. Though it’s only been two years, it feels like a lifetime. He has grown up and grown more fearful of failure and being replaced.
On OOFIE, Wiki is expressing feelings of fear and doubt that we’ve never heard so openly in his music before. It’s an honest depiction of a teenage hip hop prodigy hitting his mid-20s, afraid that he might have also hit his ceiling. A sentiment that’s present throughout the album, though it’s almost paradoxical as he’s sharper than ever.
The fun qualities in his voice and delivery are still present, but are refined, making his words seem punchier and more purposeful. His flows range from simple and effective to dense and multi-syllabic, and on top of these structural improvements, his writing has gotten much more personal and emotionally striking.
He is joined on a few songs by a fantastic crop of features, including Princess Nokia and Lansky Jones. While they all do a great job, they do momentarily take away from how personal the project feels. It’s like watching a movie scene where the protagonist is delivering an emotional speech, and a supporting cast member interrupts him with an extended, unrelated monologue.
Wiki’s music is aging gracefully, improving on his most lovable qualities and using them to deliver more mature content. Shedding his label as the wild, whimsical young wordsmith from Manhattan, he has grown into being a young elder statesman and a pillar in New York’s independent hip hop scene.
Trial Track: “Downfall”
“Who is he? Is that what they’ll say in the eulogy?
Will they say between you and me
He was an idol when he was in the right mood
When he wasn’t fucked up, when he wasn’t tight, woo” (Wiki on “Downfall”)