Energy, weight, drive, speed, all things big about all kinds of rap music - from big aspects that make it to big names who make it - are being served up by Ocean Wisdom in a twenty-one-track extravaganza that is Wizville!
A vast variety of styles are covered in this album. I don’t just mean a variety of genres like trap and Hip Hop, but no two Hip Hop tracks will sound alike here. The vibe shifts from the Wild West aesthetic of Wu Tang in 'Ting Dun Ft. Method Man' to a more upbeat modern feel in the track that follows it; 'Life'. And some songs won't be easy to pin to a standard genre at all. Wizzy has very much set out to be jack of all trades and a master of them as well!
The album does not stick to one theme or story. Every track is picture in its own frame that focuses in on a particular subject and experience for Ocean to go in on at maximum detail. Sometimes you will struggle keep up with him as he releases bars at a rate that leaves you sure his voice box is belt-fed, beckoning you to replay the album almost immediately, and the variety of material will ensure you won't be getting bored of it any time soon. The album may be twentyone tracks long, but I would say there was forty two tracks worth of material crammed into it. Exploring upbeat and fast moving vibes in 'Don', bouncing an active narrative style in 'Tom & Jerry', venting frustration through conviction in the classically aggressive grime style of 'I Ain't Eaten', to taking a step back and reflecting on life in the calm confessional of 'Perspective' - a melodic and slow-swaying Hip Hop ballad - Ocean does not constrain himself to a single story or theme in this album, instead he lets his pen off the leash to find all the nearest topics and chew them to ribbons, making sure it wasn't left hungry by the time of release.
Production is a mixed bag from Rude Kid, Pete Cannon, and Mystry. As with the lyrical material the beats come in varied with a wide range of vibes. 'Don' features a percussion-led 'street chase' feel, 'Burning A Bridge' is spacious with a simple drum loop, light acoustic melody and subtle sub-bass, contrasting with 'Western Road' which employs layers of reverberated orchestral samples to bring a dramatic feeling one could describe as ‘grime in a cathedral’. If you mark out a midpoint between those examples you find yourself with the carefully deployed samples and balanced drumming of the ending Hip Hop song; 'Menacing'. Overall, sampling could be considered clean and deliberate. Vinyl crackles are no longer the signature start to every track, and the evident willingness to explore is propelled with the experienced creativity of the producers.
Wizville is a peak into an energetic and innovative approach to life that Ocean and team needed to spread the wings of this album as far they have. Enjoy it as a brilliant spectacle to get lost in, or use it as the auditory kick up arse you need to hurry up and finish your own projects. It calls out the unproductive, the disorganised, and nay-saying side of anyone, slaps it out of them, and tells them what they should be doing and what they could be enjoying if they get on with it!
Catch a copy of this massive project on Tape, Vinyl, CD, or Digital Download, on the 23rd of February 2018, or pre-order now at at High Focus Records!
- Fire@Will - OneLion Sound