With a pinch-lipped, high-pitched, nasally New York drawl, 19-year-old rapper Wiki, along with his wayside Ratking Crew, are making waves in the weathered streets of New York. Young hip-hop is about collectives right now; strong, tight-knit crews of kids, experimenting and progressing with what their role may be, and can be in the business. With Odd Future, Top Dawg Entertainment, Pro Era, A$AP mob, etc. these cliques of ambition seem to be the most productive and supportive way for young cats to hone their skills.
Ratking, spanning throughout the five Burroughs but based in Harlem, is made up of three artists—two MC’s, Wiki and Hac, and their producer SportingLife. Their sound is raw, guttery, and sharp with an adolescent edge. Their multi-media sample sounds, shrewd, wide rhyme schemes, and rough urban production make Ratking the type of rap that would have been linked to the Aesop’s and El-P’s back in the early Def Jux days.
Wiki, real name Patrick Morales, is 19 years old, born and raised in the Upper West Side of New York City, and has been rapping since middle school. Apparently in sixth grade he started doing rap with the help of his Bronx born, hip-hop head-turned math teacher. According to a Complex Magazine spread, he would cipher with his teachers and they would teach him a thing or two about the culture they grew up in. Who wouldn’t be a rapper after that? He’s half Irish, half Puerto Rican, has a curly jewfro, babyface, likes to wear normal people clothing (not that Hypebeast street wear shit) and backpacks.
He may just have the perfect image for people who think that in hip-hop you need a perfect image. If you saw him on the subway he would look like any other unassuming teenager with headphones on. Nobody would know that he has this unique ability to run his mouth around words and verses with a loose, flexible, New Yawk flow that lets him stretch long vowels and internal rhymes for bars.
His songs grab ears with a natural mix of rebellious adolescence, snarky self-awareness, and smoked out enlightenment. He raps from a clear city backdrop; rhymes of subways rides, street styles, corrupted cops, pay phones, and various other concrete, metropolis-related words.
In early 2011 Wiki released his first EP, 1993, free online consisting of six tracks of rapping, all beats produced by Sportinglife, and an interview with Wiki’s friend’s mom, famous documentarian, and all-around badass middle-aged woman, Christine Choy. The EP made some waves around the Internet, but mostly for the raw, Creative Control-affiliated video for “Wikispeaks,” a wily, rough video following the Ratking crew around New York, into shady apartments, rapping with peacocks, walking canes, cats, and drugs. A little while after the EP was dropped Ratking got picked up by XL’s imprint Hot Charity records. Since penning that deal Ratking rereleased the EP in November, retitled Wiki93, for purchase on Itunes, Amazon, or XL Recordings’ website.
Wiki is sure to continue making gritty, creative hip-hop for years to come. He has a built-in support and motivation system with Ratking, pushing him to experiment and craft new music. He just signed his first deal with a label known for developing ambitious young artists and he’s getting considerable amount of digital love for his songs and videos. The kid may look tame, but he’ll rip through streets with his flow. Keep your eyes up for Wiki to stand out as one of the next best rappers from New York City, and believe me, there’s a lot of new fucking rap from New York City.