Today, Wiki makes his boldest return yet in the form of his newest record, ‘Half God’, masterfully produced in its entire by Navy Blue.
When we last saw Wiki, it was the day of our cover shoot for issue one. We shot it on the first day of March in 2020. Twenty days later, the world went into global isolation. While the pandemic is still harrowing, Wiki admits to me that the world’s big shift to a life inside allowed him to take the time to focus on himself, giving his mind some time to reflect on where he wants to be heading. This period of mindfulness would begin to form the foundations of his greatest work yet.
"What I was bringing out of myself is the type of music I always wanted to make. I’m really proud of these songs."
The album is produced by longtime friend of Wik’s, Navy Blue – bringing a sophisticated haze to the record. The two had been running in the same circles for a minute, and finally collided their expertise, forming the record naturally as their friendship and respect for each other’s artistry grew. "What I was bringing out of myself is the type of music I always wanted to make. I’m really proud of these songs.” says Wiki. This organic chemistry spreads throughout the entire record, with perfectly fitting features from Earl Sweatshirt, MIKE, duendita, Remy Banks & Jesse James Soloman, adding a whole extra layer of polish to the record. Nearing the release of Half God - we caught up with Wiki to chat all about the record, and the organic crossroads that brought this masterpiece together.
Hey Wik! It’s great to chat with you again. Three weeks after we last spoke, the world went into a global pandemic...
Yeah man, it was a crazy time. I remember just after that, Tom Hanks got it, and that was when I knew it was serious!
At the end of that interview, you said your next move was to step back and focus on yourself – how did that go?
Yeah, for sure, I needed some space. I wasn’t happy about being in quarantine because I wanted to play shows and all that, I wanted to come back you know? I was feeling so good about the live shows and I was really looking forward to getting back to New York and killing it – but in a way, I am happy that it got cut short. Now looking back, I am so glad that now is my time to come back to New York and tear it down. I needed that space to figure out where I was at, grow a little bit more and get healthier. And that helped my mental too, which contributed to the fact that Half God is maybe my best project I’ve done! Plus working with Navy Blue is dope, it felt really natural – like it was meant to be. What I was bringing out of myself is the type of music I always wanted to make. I’m really proud of these songs.
When did you and Navy Blue meet?
I honestly can't put a date on it, we have known each other for years! He’s from the L.A, but I’ve known his sister for a minute. She was out here in New York living here, and I was just young... we had a few mutual friends. It’s a small world you know? It is a big city but a small world. I knew him since we were young through that, he must have been young as hell when I met him too. I got to know him more being on tour with Earl Sweatshirt, plus a lot of my friends were already in the skate scene. All of these crossroads made it feel so natural. We always respected each other, but to be able to work in this new way really elevated our friendship and everything around that. He really brought out the confidence I have in myself.
When did you guys realise you had enough chemistry to make an entire album?
We had talked about it, we always wanted to do a project. Once we started actually making songs, one thing led to another and we had three or so of the joints, and he asked if I was trying to make a project or a record. I said I was down to do a project, it could have been an EP... but it turned into more, and I was confident that this was my next record. This isn’t some side project, this is it! Navy was always adamant that this was my project, he has always been very supportive in that way. He wanted this to be my moment! I look up to him, and he looks up to me – the respect between us is huge. The whole process was super natural.
What made each feature special to the album?
That part was really important, that is something for this record I really wanted to nail. This record is me; the record is from my perspective – so as soon as we started thinking about features it was all about finding who really made sense to be on this. The songs could be hard already without features, so who will make it better? The bar was set high because we started with the Earl Sweatshirt joint. In my mind I thought that was going to be for his Earl’s record, but they didn’t pick it... and I was like damn... oh wait, FIRE! Cause’ now it can go on my record. It all worked out. But yeah, the bar was high! I wanted to work with all my people, but this had to be cohesive, and it had to fit Navy’s world too. I actually called Navy and told him I wanted duendita on the record, and he hits me back on FaceTime, and he’s chilling with duendita already! MIKE was someone that was tight with Navy, and I was around when he first started making his presence... we were working in the same areas and collaborating a lot. It was so good to reignite this collaborative spark. Remy Banks is my brother, he will forever be my man, he’s got a bunch of heat that he’s working on. Him and I are both walking the fine line of most-known-unknown, you know? Lastly, there was Jesse James Solomon, who is good friends with both me and Navy. I was wanting him on the record, and Navy said to me before I even said anything so I knew it had to happen. He sent me his verse for ‘Drug Supplier’, which I had set as an interlude type track... but when he sent it to me and told this whole new perspective from London, he went crazy on that – the storytelling is nuts. Everyone fell into the project so naturally, all of these peers that I really look up to.
Listen to Wiki's latest album, 'Half God' on Spotify below:
Wiki featured on the cover of Tenner's first issue.
Limited physical magazines are available at tennermag.com/shop
Words by Oli Spencer
Photography by Oli Spencer