B Wise by Mclean Stephenson Aug16-lo

Interview: B Wise “You need grounded people to remind you there’s a reason you’re here”

By now hopefully you’ve heard of Sydney MC, B Wise. For an upcoming rapper who had no EPs to his name prior to his recently released debut Semi Pro, he sure developed a large following and lived up to the outstanding hype. In order to get that EP out, Wise took a break from touring and doing live shows, signed to Elefant Traks and got straight to work recording.

“It’s been great to finally find a home that I can put out my music and be with a group of people who also understand the vision,” Wise said. “Everyone has been quite hospitable and so I’m really enjoying the short amount of time that I’ve been there.”

To some, the fact Wise hadn’t put out an EP or album yet was a confusing idea. Fans had been seeing Wise’s name popping up on different bills for at least a year. He rocked stages at Listen Out Sydney as the Triple J Unearthed Winner, The Plot, Newtown Festival, BigSound, as well as warming up the crowd for Tuka (Thundamentals), Yelawolf, Vince Staples and Freddie Gibbs.

“In 2015 I pretty much completed a full album but it just wasn’t cohesive enough or the right time for me to put out an album, so that’s why we kinda just put out songs on their own just to keep the momentum and sort of also introduce myself and get people’s attention and that also included going on the road. Then when I thought I had a good enough platform then I would put out an EP. I’ve got to give credit to my manager Alexander Franco and my booking agent Niche Productions. They did what they can to get me out on the road as much as possible while I was still working on music. When those opportunities came, I took full advantage of them and tried to spread my reputation as a performer and build fans and come back and then put out some music.”

With Semi Pro already smashing it, and a full album is ‘pretty much complete’, fans who have heard Semi Pro will undoubtedly be chomping at the bit for more, but what can we expect?

“Nah the old things are going to stay old things,” B Wise says. “I mean we are working right now on new music and I’m just going to keep it ahead. You can anticipate an album so that’s what I’m working on now and a bunch of stuff on the sides. I just wanna keep working on new music. I just want to keep creating new and fresh material because I’m still learning a lot as well in the recording process, so I still want to keep going and building.”

Semi Pro was finally released last week to exceptional praise. B Wise has proved one of the driving forces of the new and diverse wave of Australian MCs. The EP reads like a big introduction into who B Wise is, and what he has gone through to get to this point in his life.

“The track selection was totally deliberate. I did it that way because of the first song No Questions. It’s a quick recap or a crash course basically into who I am and what got me to this point and what I’ve been through up to this point. No Questions is overall about having no regrets because I’ve been doing music a while now. I’ve been through a lot, you know personally and also in music. It’s a song I needed to get off my chest and I have no regrets about anything and what I’ve done to this point has got me here. Then I move on through, and we go to Smile, which is a song about being optimistic and optimism. And then Risk It is a bit more of a fun song, which is the current single. And then you got Drugs & Drama, which is my favourite song man. And we end with Roll Call, which is where I hope that they pass the baton because I have an intention to be here for a while.”

B Wise’s favourite song Drugs & Drama, is also probably one of the best songs on Semi Pro. Lyrically it delves into the pressure of having to be thought of as cool and how it’s more of an obstacle than a path.

“Being introduced to a new environment, doing music, there’s a lot going on. What you would see as a fan of music, you know in the video clips and the lifestyle and you think, ‘oh it’s so cool and everything.’ But then you know if you’re in it you can kinda get overwhelmed and sucked up in it. And you need people who are grounded to remind you there is a reason you’re here, there is this reason to do music, it’s not to get sucked up in the lifestyle, which is the pros and cons of being a musician, so that came from a real place.”

“I know a lot of musicians who relate to it as well and when they hear it and they say ‘yeah, I get what your saying.’ So that song is just a plea and a call out to say what I see at the moment.”

For someone like B Wise it must have been hard work to stay grounded with so many fans and industry peers building hype behind the young MC.

“I don’t let it get to me. Those comments and praise, it’s humbling to hear that, but I still feel that I have a lot to do. I think if I was in such a good position you would be seeing my name a lot more on bills and festivals and that, so I know I have a lot more to do. I try not to go on the net too much as well so I’m not checking every single comment, not because I want to ignore that, it’s because I don’t want to gas myself up too much. I want to feel like I still have a lot to do you know.”

“My team, and particularly my manager, helped me to remain quite humble and my head on the task as well. Because I’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot to prove man. But to know that there is something bubbling, that’s amazing. I know personally where I am at right now, so I don’t let it get to me.”

B Wise has also stated that one of his biggest influences is Tupac. Apart from Pac’s rebellious side, he was grounded and he was focused and above all he wanted to make a change and there is a lot of that to be found in B Wise.

“He’s one of my biggest influences in life bro, full stop. I grew up to him. A lot of young coloured males or ethnic males or even a lot of Anglo-Saxon people can relate to him so much as well. But particularly young African or black males tend to look at him as a second dad figure or something because he just represents so much and says so much that we go through. When I was young listening to him was just like thinking preach on type. And then you know a man like that got cut down in his prime, he didn’t get to finish what he was doing and what he was trying to do. I take some of the good things from him in the scene of just trying to speak your heart and keep it authentic as possible.”

With Semi Pro out, B Wise is ready to start touring and playing live again. Next month he will hit the road with fellow Sydney duo Horrorshow.”

“Looking forward to that. That’s going to take the next month or so. Then November I’m going to come back and get pretty busy again with recording. Then December, I want to do my own headline show in Sydney to close out the year. Short time until the end of the year.”

It should be an exciting tour, as Horrorshow will be fresh out on the road again after also having taken some time off touring.

“We are really looking forward to it, we haven’t been out on the road for a while now, so we are keen to get back into it,” Adit from Horrowshow said.

Urthboy sent us an advance copy of the Semi Pro EP and we listened to it and we really loved it. I mean we were feeling tracks that Wise has dropped before as well,” Adit continued, “and with the EP coming out and us being label fam, it just sort of made sense [to bring B Wise on the tour].”

For those lucky enough to have tickets to their almost sold out tour, you might even get to experience some new collab music from B Wise and Horrorshow.

“We will be doing some music together on the tour. It would be a waste not to take advantage of that.”

Check out Semi Pro here.

Image: Supplied