The wait is over, ‘Wizville’ has finally landed. The sophomore project by Ocean Wisdom, released via High Focus Records, entered the top 40 of the UK album charts. An undeniable achievement for the little known, independent imprint with less than half of the cogs of a major label. Over the last few years Wizzy has built up a serious reputation as one of the UK’s leading underground MC’s; the success of his debut single ‘Walkin’’ lifted from his 2016 ‘Chaos ‘93’ LP shot the name Ocean Wisdom into new consciousness. Produced entirely by High focus mainstay Dirty Dike, ‘Chaos ‘93’ was more than just Wizzy’s full length introduction to the scene, it was a fully immersive plunge into the talents of this Brighton MC and a nod to the near death experience he faced at birth before eventually being resuscitated.
“I feel like the last album was a lot more boom bap,” Wizzy tells me when we catch up to talk about the new project on the phone. “Whereas this one, has got more modern elements to it, and it’s a bit longer as well – so there’s more variety there.” stacked with 21 tracks, Wizville has plenty of room to show off range. Conceptually intricate, witty wordplay and his notorious double flow are all on full display throughout, never rushed Wizville is an album that dabbles in Grime tinges, Breakbeat, and raw Hip Hop. “You spend your first project working out all the kinks in the armour, do you know what I mean?” he says when I ask about the process of completing his second LP in two years “the second is a lot quicker process – having said that it was still difficult to get done in time.”
The release of the ‘Wizville’ tracklist sent a frenzied hubbub across social media in waves. Hardcore High Focus Stans were foaming at the mouth as it was revealed ‘Wizville’ features would include UK Hip Hop royalty in the form of Jehst, Rodney P and Roots Manuva. Chester P, Dizzee Rascal, P Money and Method Man all feature on a track-list that was bursting with star power. I ask where he began in getting this Avengers worthy ensemble cast together for his latest project “I guess it was just a natural thing man. It was just a very natural, sort of, alignment. Like, I done shows with them. I was talking to Method Man, Roots and Rodney and people like that, it just so happened I got Method Man on there – some of the production was from American producers and shit but, other than that it was very natural.” his naturally modest response speaks well of his character while gently skirting around the respect he continues to earn as a musician. You don’t pull off an ensemble this wicked and bad on your second LP unless there’s something about your talent.
Very much at home at High Focus Records and very much in control of his output, I ask about the creative freedom he’s afforded at the label. “I don’t think I’d do too well if someone was trying to control what I was doing, so I think it works well with them because they kind of just let you do your thing and just help facilitate it and that’s especially cool with Fliptrix, Fliptrix is a G.” An incubator first to the talents of Rag ‘N’ Bone Man and now to dynamic flows of Ocean Wisdom; High Focus is rapidly awakening from its sleeping giant status. “I mean, to be honest, I think creative control and creative freedom is a must in any record label, for any rapper these days. I think that’s not so much the big deal. Even at the major labels these days, I feel like people aren’t really trying to stifle the artists direction, because for artists they’re doing well, and labels recognise that. It wouldn’t make sense to stifle an artist that is gaining traction with fans. Do you know what I mean?”
Before we wrap up I ask how it feels to be the crossover kid? Wizzy scoffs at the question before answering, “Crossover kid? I don’t really know what that means. But, for me, I’m just a musician. Do you know what I mean? I’m trying to just make the best music possible and when I get a vibe and come across beats I like, I just do my best to perform on them. I wouldn’t say I’m deliberately doing anything to crossover just – my sound is very varied.. I don’t like the idea of being recognised as a celebrity because I’d rather be recognised for my sound and being a serious artist. Being a celebrity is kind of a by-product of that. I’d say being a celebrity is not the most important thing for me.”