With artists releasing songs at a fast and furious pace it’s difficult for the average hip-hop head to keep track of it all—no matter how tapped in they are. That’s why we created The Ones, a daily post to highlight the song you need to hear curated by the Levels team. We sort through all the new songs—across all the platforms and subgenres—so you don’t have to. Thank us later.
Wiki - “4 Clove Club”
Since his days as Ratking’s teen frontman, Manhattan rapper Wiki has been a formidable technician, but it’s hard to understate just how much he’s grown as an artist. A prime example of this is the murky cut “4 Clove Club,” from his new album, OOFIE. He puts his remarkable growth as a writer and performer on display. Over wavy production from Alex Epton, Tony Seltzer, and Sporting Life, he sounds reinvigorated, his rhymes as limber and natural as they’ve ever been, as he reflects on a life in rap.
The two verses balance each other: the first recounts his days as a turnstile-jumping would-be boy wonder and the second is a present-day dispatch as a talented rapper of modest but comfortable means growing weary of the game. “Never had no patience, I got signed before I graduated/And I had good grades, shit, but goddamn I had to make it,” he opens. His raps are so loose it’s almost like they’re jointless, and his voice is pleasantly musical. The song’s flows crescendo to a moment of doubt that becomes a moment of clarity. “My profession: flexing, and I earn this shit—a professor, tenured/Drink while class in session/Stink of ash and Benson/Edges came with a pack of henchmen, I’m back,” he rattles off, before bringing the song, and his career, full circle: “And I ain’t been this sick since back in Peckham/Matter fact, back when I was that rapping freshman.” In a few sweeping gestures on “4 Clove Club,” Wiki depicts a quarter-life crisis resolved: his teenage longing for rap excellence, his brief discouragement, and his rediscovery of that hunger that made him a prodigy in the first place. It’s a process of maturation.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork