Ocean Wisdom drops his highly anticipated second album on High Focus Records. Boasting a vast array of exciting guest features, 15 different producers and cross-genre lyricism, this album could prove to be one of the biggest releases of 2018. We put the album on repeat and took a one way trip to Wizville, here’s what we found there…
When UK Hip Hop was in its infancy, you had to be able to rap fast, the likes of JC001, Silver Bullet and Gunshot shaped the landscape and after listening to Ocean Wisdom’s latest offering I feel that this style of rap has come full circle in his form, new and improved. This Brightonian style-switching beat chameleon owns every track on this 20 song release and his machine gun signature delivery is scattered across hip hop, DnB and heavy grime beats throughout.
The Pete Cannon produced ‘Don’ is very reminiscent of the aforementioned Silver Bullet but has the playfulness of the Fu-Schnickens, complete with accents and varying speeds of execution, Ocean crosses boundaries and almost toys with the listener, making his ridiculously fast word combinations seem like a heavyweight flurry of punches in the midst of razor sharp production, it is absolutely mesmerising. These skills didn’t go unnoticed either, it was noted in 2016 that the lyrics on his single ‘Walking’ were delivered faster than Enimem‘s ‘Rap God’, a song that at the time held the Guinness World Record for Most Words in a Hit Song, although Ocean never received any official recognition for his achievement it is still major kudos indeed.
The album is bursting with an exciting assortment of guest features, I was amazed to see an appearance from Wu Tang Clan’s Method Man on ‘Ting Dun’, as well as the Rodney P and Roots Manuva team up on ‘Righteous’, a more up lifting number with soulful samples that breaks up the release nicely with other songs like ‘Less is More’ featuring Jehst. The grime collabs were also present in the form of P Money on the electronic dream that is ‘Tiptronic’, produced by Pitch 92 and Dizzee Rascal features on ‘Revvin’, where both MCs go hard and create something which is no doubt going to be a street anthem in the months to come, it is also one of my favourite songs on the album. Leaf Dog produces ‘Incidents’, which houses some melancholic strings over punchy beats and it’s where we find the Chester P feature who puts in a strong performance, it also has a nice harmonisation by Ocean, almost like an urban drone over this dream sequence of a song, interesting stuff.
As strong as these features are and as varied the production, I still prefer many of the solo tracks on the album. Chemo produces ‘I Ain’t Eaten’, a drum and bass entry which allows Ocean to flex a little muscle, layering lyrics on top of an ever building climax of sound, definitely one for the bass heads. ‘Brick Or Bat’ has a similar dark tone and is produced by Muckaniks, a producer who is also responsible for four other tracks on the release including ‘Swoosh’ and ‘Officer’ where the chorus borrows from KRS1’s ‘Sound of da Police’. Another interesting addition is the Kidkanevil produced ‘Eye Contact’ which kicks off the album and is a great opening song to showcase Ocean’s signature style. Other songs worth mentioning are the solemn ‘Western Road’ and ‘Burning a Bridge’, a track that changes it up with nice guitar riffs and some more vocalisation amidst the harder selection of songs on the album.
This is a strong second entry from the High Focus journey man, I recommend it to anyone wanting to hear explosive double time word play across a galaxy of sound, it is not to be missed.
…unless you’re a pagan.
Words by Theo Specone