|Interview wNY Hip-Hop Rap Artist WizeFool|
|Written by Robert ID1741|
|Tuesday, 02 August 2005 03:17|
New York Hip-Hop Rap artist WIZEFOOL was born in Harlem New York and has lived in the slums of the Bronx and Harlem, Flushing Queens, rural upstate N.Y. to Yonkers New York; where in 1993 he started rapping in street and school ciphers, developing a wicked and versatile writing and rhyme style.
Wize put a track out that hit the hip-hop and rap mix tape arena. The track is called ‘Asylum Author’. When NY rap artist Ja Rule released ‘New York’ feat Fat Joe & Jadakiss; Jadakiss shouted out at WizeFool in what some would call a diss.
We wanted to get at Wize and get his impression of the Jadakiss matter and to see what all he is up to.
The interview turns into a conversation between Wize and Robert of ThugLifeArmy.com, on some of the things going on in the hip-hop culture today.
We would like to express our thanks to WizeFool for giving us this opportunity to talk with him.
Robert – We want to thank you for taking time to talk to us.
WizeFool – Thank you for the chance and the opportunity
Robert – Lets start with a little background on yourself; where you from, how long you been rappin.
WizeFool – I’m pretty much from all over New York. I’ve lived in Harlem. I’ve lived in the Bronx, Yonkers, and Upstate NY. I started rhyming in 93 in Yonkers, and ever since then I haven’t stopped with the pen.
Robert – Are you doing more shows or recording as of late?
WizeFool – I’m doing more recording right now. I’m trying to get some new material down. But the material is crazy; it is some really good music, it’s really hot music.
Robert – One of the reasons we wanted to talk to you was on the track that Ja Rule put out, New York, Jadakiss had spit a mention of your name on that track. Can you give us a little insight on how that came about?
WizeFool – In the beginning of 2004, I had recorded a track called ‘Asylum Author’. It was a lyrical word play song and I put it out there and it was on the mix tapes. And I guess that the song was so compelling that Kiss – he decided to take a shot at me. But for months I didn’t know he was talking about me and I would go back and re-wind the song to hear what he said. And then I went back and listened to ‘Asylum Author’ and I was like ‘Oh Ok’. But the most significant thing about it is I’m an unsigned artist.
Robert – But do you consider it a diss or do you consider it just a mention?
WizeFool – To the street – that would be considered a diss and that would be beef. But to me, an unsigned artist, I took it as Jadakiss threw me a business opportunity; whether he knew if I was signed or not. I consider it a business opportunity; because when a platinum selling rapper disses an unsigned artist; that’s big.
Robert – Right. Do you plan to go back at him?
WizeFool – Naw, naw.
Robert – So it’s not really a ‘beef’, you’re happy that he did a shout out to you more or less.
WizeFool – Not necessarily happy, I was more shocked than anything.
Robert – Do you see a difference in the coastal part of hip-hop? I mean do you see a big difference in East Coast and West Coast hip-hop?
WizeFool – Of course.
Robert – Since you are an East Coast artist, what is your mindset on that? Would you look at East Coast as more commercial than West Coast?
WizeFool – I think their both diverse as far as underground and commercial on both coasts. On both coasts the differences you have – on the West Coast you have the difference in rhyme styles, and different beat styles; as opposed to the East Coast. But on both coasts you have the two elements of underground and commercial.
Robert – What about conscious rap in hip-hop? I’ve talked to you and I have noticed that you have a conscious side, a socially conscious side. Do you feel that maybe socially conscious rap is just for the underground anymore and it is not being used in the mainstream art form? The mainstream artist is not using his position maybe the way he should?
WizeFool – I don’t think the mainstream artist is using his position to address certain situations that are currently taking place in the world, not at all, not at all. But once again hip-hop is diverse, where as you have all types of rappers who all speak about different things. And with in that diversity of the culture you have some rappers who are commercial and you have other rappers that will address the social problems that are taking place in this world.
Robert – Since you have been in the game since ’93, did you do all your rhyming in New York?
WizeFool – Oh yeah, most definitely.
Robert – Did you ever run into any of the legends like Big Pun or Biggie or any of those people?
WizeFool – Naw. I ran into Kool Herc on Gunhill Rd. in the Bronx in about ’98. I ran into Slick Rick on 233rd Street, that’s about it.
Robert – How do you think hip-hop has changed since the Tupac and Biggie murders happened?
WizeFool – Obviously after that situation, that was the justification for more of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to tighten up on hip-hop. It was more justification because besides what happened, there a lot of stuff behind that, that happened. That was just more justification for the FBI to tighten up on just the watch of hip-hop.
Robert – With the things that recently have happened over at Hot 97 (since you’re from New York), and the whole G-Unit thing, do you see those as good for hip-hop or bad for hip-hop?
WizeFool – Of course that is bad for hip-hop. But you see the thing of it is that the culture gets such a down play because of the ignorant violence that takes place in it, but to the media: they don’t want to place a magnifying glass on other cultures of violence that influenced hip-hop. Because the whole ‘gangsta‘ theme of hip-hop that’s not original. The ‘gangsta’ theme of hip-hop came from the real gangsters, ''Lucky'' Luciano, and these people were very violent. So a lot of the rappers are emulating or just taking the image of the real gangsters and putting it in the culture, and a lot of the time it’s beef. But the media should – if you are going to place a magnifying glass, if your going to write a paper about ‘gangsta rap’ or bad rap put a magnifying glass on where the culture got that image from. Because the culture didn’t develop that image on its own. The culture developed that image by watching or reading about real violent gangsters.
Robert – But in the same right isn’t there a lot of ‘gang members’ who are rappers?
WizeFool – Of course, of course there are.
Robert – So they are just perpetuating the way that they live; would you agree?
WizeFool – True indeed, true indeed; but that is lack of education also. I mean world history; the history of the world is violent; so violence didn’t start with hip-hop. Since the beginning of the world, even in the bible there is a lot of violence and murder and killings and blood and death – so violence is definitely a part of human nature for some idiotic reason I guess.
Robert – As an unsigned artist and more or less an underground artist what are the prospects of really making it in such a tight field?
WizeFool – Well one thing you have to be educated. You have to be educated not only on your craft but on the business. And another thing is you have to have the passion to be able to handle both sides of it. You have to have the passion to go thru the business and do what you have to do to make the contacts and networking and all of that and the talent plus passion to make good music. It’s hard; it doesn’t happen over night, you have to constantly work. You have to constantly be out there networking and you have to constantly knowledge yourself on the industry. Nothing happens over night.
Robert – Being an unsigned artist are there any people out there that you would like to collaborate with?
WizeFool – Oh yea, of course. Despite the situation I would love to do a song with Jada. I think Jada is a genius. He is a real good dude. To my understanding he is one of the hardest working men in the industry. He’s not in the news getting arrested for silly stuff.
I would love to work with Dead Prez; because they are very very socially conscious.
Robert – Have you ever met Jada personally?
WizeFool – No, I have never met Jada.
Robert – So you would be more inclined to work with an artists like Dead Prez or KRS-1 or someone who is mainstream but socially conscious mainstream right?
WizeFool – Of course.
Robert – You’re working on an album now right?
WizeFool – Yeah, we are putting together an album. I have a couple of hot producers, Bobby Ruckuss, and Ray Ray. Just trying to put together something that everybody will like, trying to be diverse with lyrical content and everything.
Robert – When can we look for that to come out?
WizeFool – I’m really not sure right now. We want to shop it to labels first. I’d really like it to get into a label’s hands so it could get major distribution.
Robert – So is it pretty much completed now?
WizeFool – Naw, it’s still in the works.
Robert – So how many mix tapes would you say you’re on that you know of?
WizeFool – Maybe about 5 right now.
Robert – All New York Based artists?
WizeFool – Yeah.
Robert – Where do you really see hip-hop going? I mean with all the up’s and down’s it has had lately and the commercialization of it; do you see it getting stronger or do you think it has reached it’s peak and it’s starting to see the other side now?
WizeFool – That is a very hard question to answer. Being immersed in the culture you don’t want to say that it’s going down or it’s coming to an end and on top of that the commercialization as far as the corporate side of it right now and for a great many of years it’s been the most lucrative genre of music. So I don’t know, if anything I see a change. Ya know everything changes. The culture has some kind of energy where it is always able to change and re-invent itself.
Robert – As you called it a ‘culture’, cultures really don’t come and go. They evolve and mature. I really don’t see what’s next. I know that hip-hop isn’t going to die but I know it can not stay the way it is. It either has to evolve into something else, like Motown evolved into funk. It has to evolve into something or it has to mature into something. And to mature into something all the ignorance has to go.
WizeFool – Oh yea. Do you believe that one day that will be eradicated; just what’s going on right now?
Robert – Well ya know if we don’t stop, there won’t be another generation. I mean the generation that’s coming will be so limited. You look and you think how many Tupac’s, how many Biggies’, how many Big Pun’s, how many Malcolm X’s, how many Dr. King’s – how many leaders have we lost to this violence? And it is just not hip-hop violence it is street violence period. It’s the violence that seems to be everywhere anymore. And it is taking a toll on the generation to the point where we really have to sit back and we have to think who are our leaders going to be? The last person standing? That ain’t right, that ain’t the way it suppose to be. It does have to change but I don’t see – even Tookie Williams who co founded the Crips, he don’t know how to change it. No one knows how to stop it. It has gotten so far out of hand that it is the whole imagery of it. It’s kool to have a gun. It’s kool to shoot somebody. It’s kool to do what ever; and it’s not really kool. Cause either your going to die or your going to end up in jail. And there ain’t no way back out of that. If you go to jail, you can’t vote you can’t do anything. You’re just a waste. And if ya die, well there ain’t no coming back from that either.
So Hip-hop is going to have to take a stand. We are going to have to get too the point where they aren’t going to play that period. Because that’s not hip-hop. Hip-hop is suppose to be ‘one love, suppose to be fun, it’s suppose to be an expression. If you can express yourself and make someone so mad that they want to shoot you, there’s something wrong. Ya know what I mean?
WizeFool – Oh yeah.
Robert – That’s one reason I am proud of you for the way that this thing with Jada ain’t no thing. It’s a thing but it’s not a bad thing. And I’m proud to say ‘Hey look at Wize he’s setting a standard over there’. Like you said, yeah on the street that was a diss, but you’re not living your career in the street. Jada didn’t spit that in the street, it’s like on wax, ya know what I mean?
WizeFool – I try to live logically. I try to think logically. I see it fun. I see it fun for just the battle of words and to word it in a way that would make me bug out. Like ‘Oh s88t, I can’t believe he just said that’. And I love that competition on coming back lyrically. I can’t logically understand or see how that could go somewhere where it would be taken into guns or just violence. Ya understand there is a clear line right there and that other side is taken to violence, I don’t comprehend nor see logical.
Robert – If you think about it that is how these things start, ya know. One person says something – another person says something, well then they have to come back. And then the other one has to come back. And each time you come back they come back stronger and before you know it; there’s beef where there is really no beef. Then the press hypes it and the street hyping it, and before ya know it – it is ‘street credibility’. Somebody is going to pull your card. Let’s pull his card and see what he’s got. Well it’s on wax, it’s a different world. It’s an imaginary world.
It’s like when you look at the videos on BET, these dudes ain’t got Bentleys. They don’t have the stuff that they are flossin, because if they did they wouldn’t be on BET. Some of those artists, yea they have cars like that. But most of them don’t. So it’s a fantasy world. And to let a fantasy get to the point where it causes a death in the real world is just totally mind boggling.
WizeFool – It is.
Robert – And as I said I am proud of you. I am proud of the way you are handling it. I’m proud that you’re walking away and you got respect for Jada and you aren’t ashamed to say it. And that deserves to be recognized because, like I said, some other rapper or some other hip-hop person might see it as a chance to go at Jada and think yeah we could cause a big thing here, we can get our name out there; and it ain’t about all that. And you’re showing that by being strong about it. Your thinking, you’re not letting your emotions run off. You’re not worried about street creed or any of that. You’re worried about your career, your life and you got to be respected for that.
WizeFool – True.
Robert – Well with the new album coming will you please keep us up on all the goings on.
WizeFool – Man, no problem, absolutely no problem.
Robert – And when you get the album together maybe you can find time to sit down again with us and talk about that, I would enjoy that.
WizeFool – That is absolutely no problem. And I would really like to say that I really hope and pray that you get this magazine in print. Because I really love the way you take time and you put together the interviews and how you address the issues that are taking place. I love the on line version but I really want to see it in print, I really do. And if I ever come across the funds which will enable me to help you out I will do so and this is on the record.
Robert – Well I truly appreciate that. Like I told you when we talked, we are not the mainstream site. We do things that we feel are relevant and there are a lot of things out there that need top be addressed. And the ‘dumb’ things that happen we don’t ponder on them because it doesn’t help hip-hop.
That is one reason I wanted to sit and talk to you for a second. I know you’re a busy guy and I appreciate you taking time but I just want you to be recognized for being a thinker ya know. Because your not one of these people that is just going to run off and not think about what’s going on. Like I said before about the Jada thing; I got to respect you for that, ya know. And I respect Jada for throwing it out the way he did. I like Jada, I got nothing against him. I think he is a hell of a guy and the same way with you. And it’s good to see two people that can do good things for hip-hop, instead of setting some kind of low standard. Ya know you set the bar a little higher and maybe that will reverberate and people will see that bar and they’ll try to reach the plateau that you’re on.
WizeFool – For some strange reason like within the streets, I speak to a lot of kids and they will say ‘who do you think the next one is to get shot’. For some strange reason I feel like the younger kids now a days, it seems as if they have been saturated with violence so long that they have a minuet lust to see that happen, unfortunately.
Robert – Yeah, it’s like watching a car race and waiting for the wreck, and that’s a horrible way to go. And like you said you got kids thinking like that, and it’s time that hip-hop really does think about the children ya know what I mean? Get your hand out of my pocket and think about what your mind is saying to these kids. Even if they are lucky and they don’t die in a shoot out or die over senseless violence, if they get locked up – once you’re in the system you’re in the system; and then their life is ruined. So ya know like hip-hop itself just needs to come back to reality. Come back to letting me know what’s going on in the street, letting me know what’s fun, what’s real. Don’t give me all these imaginary things and try to fill my head with I got to wear this and I got to wear that, and I got to floss this. Naw that about what hip-hop is.
WizeFool – Yea that’s right
Robert – Now no offense but that is one thing about East Coast and West Coast. West Coast rappers – you see West Coast rappers with a flannel shirt on and dungarees or kakis, or a white crispy tee and that’s it ya know. They don’t have all this bling bling, and the jerseys and the 200 dollar Sean John shirts and all that. All that stuff is irrelevant. What’s really important in hip-hop is your mind set, because that’s what’s going to take you in life. It’s not what you got or what you can floss or how tuff you are, it’s how you can stand as a man in the street and think. And I think once we get to that point then you will see hip-hop explode bigger than it is now, because there are so many people being held back because of the violence. And once the violence is gone; there is no stopping hip-hop.
WizeFool – Yeah, people have to learn, you can say this about the whole thing about reality; people look at rappers that they don’t know the difference between the fantasy world and reality once they are taken to that plateau of fame and stardom, and their egos are just blown totally out of control, ya know?
Robert – Right.
WizeFool – But you are absolutely right, your absolutely right man.
Robert – Well I know you are busy and your time was much appreciated here with us. Get with us and we want to hear about the album and we want to make sure we can get at you again real soon Ok?
WizeFool – No doubt Robert, and I really thank you for given me the chance and the opportunity, I thank you and your on line magazine.
Robert – Thank you and speak soon..1
Check out WiseFools Web sites –
To see more of WizeFool and to hear the track ‘Psychology of The Crucified’ please visit www.jamwave.com