Wiki, coming from humble beginnings and a real sense of authenticity; Wiki, a super-hero of New York; Wiki, an embodiment of becoming a global powerhouse of lyrics and production skills. Wiki is someone that hit radars with Ratking, the triple-headed threat that crushed microphones and gave New York a new embodiment of grimy, but still lyrical rap that truly captured the spirit of The Big Apple. Now, Wiki moves to a solo career of No Mountains In Manhattan, a journey that feels like Wiki’s eyes have become wide open, taking in all that is around him and repackaging it for the public. A more true representative has never been present, and Wiki leads New York with a Wiki-flag in hand, and chopped-cheese in the other.
The underground rapper/poet now understands his full potential and while Lil Me was one of the best projects of that year, Wiki realizes that he can get true hype and bring his message to an even bigger audience after his five-borough tour of New York, the countless international and national tours, and the real sense of pride he has for being who he is. Wiki seems comfortable in his skin now, he is a stand-out centerfold for his city, and No Mountains In Manhattan is a continuation of the auto-biographical adventure from Wiki himself. He begins with “Islander”, a heavy, tropical beat that takes the setting to the sun-filled skylines of pan flutes, jungle drums, and then a sudden cut through beat-switch, that turns the track into a more civilized, funk beat where Wiki does not miss a step. His adaptability as a lyricist is impeccable, he stays continually on top of his competition and never takes a moment to lose. This is the catalyst for his following tracks, “Mayor” and “Pretty Bull” where Wiki takes the quick transition into the near spiritual ways of rhyming.
The instrumental for “Mayor” feels glorious, as if stepping into a time machine where the producer, Tony Seltzer is the overlord of the radio. Wiki fits perfectly into this glory age of music where the sampled vocals and instruments become shining. This is Wiki’s anthem and makes for one of his most uplifting tracks to date. Alternatively, his following track, “Made For This” which has a feature from GhostFace Killah has more of a classy sound and is a tale of an uprising. The feature from Ghost is always legendary and his voice alone has such power, Wiki and Ghost make for two New York Killers, but of two incredibly different styles of lyricism. Even on the following track, “Chinatown Swing”, Wiki switches his production style up quickly and makes for a larger focus on the bass-heavy, very sluggish style of track. Wiki can move in a such a manner that resembles a multi-purpose tool, Wiki, on No Mountains In Manhattan can best be described as The Swiss Army Knife of rap.
He illustrates this even further on the rather somber track “Face it”, Wiki describes on the hook, “Half of this rap shit battling addiction, they hand you a bottle for you to sip it. Kids give you a Xan, always used to split, then there’s the cameras and you are in it”. Wiki has shown his more personal, sensitive side in previous tracks, but here the piano that plays subtly in the background, the string sections and the gentle horns that rise slightly over the foreground make for a darker, more serious approach. Wiki works well in a downed-state, the track acts as a confession and Wiki is the preacher that can give guidance behind his words, changing the emotions before the beat plays out into the hyper track, “Nutcrackers”. Behind the rampant percussion and the wild synths that cascade like a waterfall, is a rhyme scheme from Wiki that is witty, swinging, and ultimately relatable as he describes, “Looking through my old journal, let’s see what I was concerned ‘bout. Let’s see if I remember anything that I learned now, that chapter been turned but not burnt out. The student card got us through the turnstile, walk through the block like a church aisle. We lurk, get turnt, don’t turn down, even when we ain’t got no crib to turn out”. This is then when Russian-American rapper, Lakutis can deliver a beautiful arrangement of sung vocals that conflict with Wiki’s style completely.
This is the nature of No Mountains In Manhattan though, Wiki uses artists that have varying styles and varying levels of originality to deliver one of the hottest projects of the year. Without a shadow of a doubt, Wiki stands tall among the crowd, a monument of rap’s strongest artists. A pile of gold at the end of the rainbow of musical ability; He does not imitate, and he certainly does not replicate. Wiki is his own man, not standing high above the clouds, but instead standing with his fellow New Yorkers in the street day to day, fighting with and for them.