Interview: Wize Crack
With his debut release, Photo Album, Wize Crack is holding down hip hop in Newark, New Jersey. The emcee isn’t signed to any labels, so unless you’re friends on Myspace or have been to one of his shows, your ears probably haven’t been exposed to him. However, I advise that you check him out. He describes his style as “clever punch lines, humorous topics with a distinguish flow.” Which if you’ve heard “The Perfect Weekend” (music video posted at the end) single from Photo Album, you’d be nodding your head in agreement. Currently he’s working on releasing another album titled, Crack City, so keep your eyes open for that. This is my first artist interview, so I want to give a big thank you to Wize for allowing me to interview him til 3am his time. Hahah. Anyway, enough talkin’… let’s get straight into the interview.
Tiffology: What made you choose the name Wize Crack?
Wize Crack: It’s a smart remark. A clever comeback, and I thought that name fits well with my style… and I used to talk back in highschool. My mouth got me in a lot of trouble.
T: What did you want to be “when you grew up”? Or did you always know you wanted to be apart of music?
WC: When I was little, I used to want to be a wrestler in the WWF. I guess I was too skinny to do that. I always loved hip hop but I didn’t know I wanted to do that until I was a teen.
T: Growing up, who were your biggest influences (inside or outside of the music realm)?
WC: Michael Jackson, Prince, Micheal Jordan, Mike Tyson, Lord Finesse, Big L, Premo, BDP, and Run DMC. Living in Newark also influenced me, it made me tough.
T: I feel that that’s almost a benefit, too.
WC: Yeah, it is. Growing up in the hood is rough.
T: Speaking of Newark, I have a friend that lives in East Orange. He’s always telling me about, and showing me pictures + videos, of something called Hip Hop Subway Series. They’re mainly held in NYC and NJ, so I’m curious if you’ve ever been to an event?
WC: Naw, I never heard of it. I’ll look into it.
T: You should, it looks like a great atmosphere to be apart of. Bringing hip hop to the underground world – the subways. It’s a big open-mic session for anybody to join in, or even just open your eyes and ears to. There’s beatboxers, emcees, singers, spoken word poets, bboys & bgirls, and so on. I’m jealous that you guys have things like that going on there, haha. We just got a lightrail built here, so we don’t see much of the hustling artists… doing what they love out in the open. No bus-stop entertainment.
T: Alright, so what was the first show you went to…?
WC: EPMD, Stetsasonic and Public Enemy at The Ritz in Elizabeth,NJ that blew my mind. EPMD with the fisherman hats. The way they walk on stage holding their crotch was crazy. Chuck D’s voice was powerful and S1Ws dancing and we can’t forget Flavor Flav I miss those days.
T: Back when Flava Flav wasn’t doing dating shows on VH1… yeah.
WC: Yeah, when he’s doing that crazy dance.
T: Music now… who are you listening to?
WC: Nas, Ghostface, and Jadakiss. Anything that’s hot. I like that new dude, Mayer Hawthorne. Very soulful voice.
T: Yes, I love him. I remember reading an interview with Peanut Butter Wolf. When Mayer first put his vinyl on, PBWolf thought it was a bunch of sampling… and then was surprised that it was Mayer singing. His music, and the way he sounds, is refreshing…
WC: Yes, something you chill, relax, and listen to.
T: So talk to me about “The Photo Album”. As far as artwork goes, there’s vintage shots of family and you, as well as photos of you with friends. Does that hold some sort of theme for the album or no?
WC: Yes, it is. A picture is worth a thousand words, so all my feelings are expressed on that album. Basically on the intro, I don’t know if you ever seen American Beauty when Kevin Spacey said that this was his last day on Earth… well it’s different stages of my life on there.
T: Yeah, I’ve seen it. Good movie. So… I think your “Foreva” song is top notch. The feelings put into that song make me miss my own grandma (R.I.P.). While I’m sure that song holds a special place in your heart, is there any other track on the album that means a lot to you in some way?
WC: Thanks. I performed “Foreva” on March 29th, 2009. That was 3 years after my grandma died. That day was deep. I also performed it in the school that I used to work at. Accapella for the kids and the teacher I knew started shedding tears, cause he said his grandma’s name was Eva and she died.
T: Aw, that’s great though, when people can connect with your music.
T: So you have a video out for “The Perfect Weekend”. Have you ever received any kind of negative feedback fro many females, in regards to that song?
WC: You’re always going to have people that don’t like something. Everybody is not going to love everything you do.
T: That’s true.
WC: Some people think I’m using white girls to make it in the music biz.
T: … because white girls are the free ticket to first class. Of course! I think it takes more than a female (no matter what race) to get into the music business though…
WC: You’re right. Cause the girl will become more famous than you.
T: You’re currently unsigned. Do you hope to join a (major) label? Or are you comfortable with where you are right now?
WC: I need an extra push. I can’t do it all for myself but I’m not willing to sign to a label that can’t do anything for me.
T: Or change you, and the way you do things. Because labels, for the most part (not all), are strictly about business. Half the time, they don’t care about the music… just as long as it sells.
WC: True, or they make you into this imaginary person making a fool out of yourself, using autotune and making it rain in videos. Or do crazy collabs with people that don’t sound right. It’s like Lindsey Lohan coming out with a gangster movie.
T: Hahahah, exactly. That reminds me of something Saigon said in an interview. That his label exec. came up to him and told him to do a song with Pretty Ricky. It just didn’t make any sense!
WC: That’s funny. At the end of the day you lose all your real fans. Be yourself. I’m the type where I do it all – party songs and hardcore songs. But I’m not going to do something because everybody is going to do it. I’m a human-being, I like partying, drinking and girls, so don’t get mad at me if I rap about it. I’m not going to rap about the streets and how mad I am about the game all the time.
T: Yeah, I feel you. I’m going to touch on performances. Have you only done shows in New Jersey?
WC: For the most part, yes. I’ve done one show in ATL. And I’ve done a show in NY.
T: Do you do anything to prepare yourself before you step on stage?
WC: I put my all into my performance. I treat every show as if I was performing at MSG. I go back and look at my old shows to see what I should have done, and I look at old performances of people. I bring that energy to the stage. I have my cousin Warlock open up with poplocking. To me, I don’t wanna see a MC just standing there on stage like he’s in a cipher. I could have stayed home to see that. I give the people what they want.
T: I love a show much more when the artist on stage interacts with the crowd. Make some sort of connection, moves around, makes it live and FUN. And you’re right, you could’ve stayed at home to see some dude on stage performing like a robot. I’m glad that you have some dancing before, getting the crowd excited for what’s next to come.
WC: You don’t see that at shows no more, it’s just a bunch of dudes standing there drunk not saying too much.
T: I know, it’s refreshing when I do see it though. One thing I hate about going to shows, is the folks in the crowd that are just standing there, almost in zombie mode. Why’d you come to just stand there? ENJOY IT. Some, if not most, artists rely on the crowd to pump themselves up.
WC: Yeah, that’s the worst… they look too good to throw their hands in the air.
T: I’m sayin. So do you have any producers in mind that you’d like to collaborate with in the future, if you could?
WC: Premo is the illest, I always been a fan of his work. I like Alchemist, I met him once he’s a cool dude. Buckwild beats are crazy too and I have to take it back to Large Professor, I’ve always loved his work.
T: That’s a damn good list of producers.
WC: Sounds like a new Illmatic album.
T: Haha, that’d be nice.
WC: Nowadays the producers are bigger than the artist. People care more of who’s producing it or featured on it, more than the artist.
T: Other than making music, drinking Patron, and chillin with females… do you have any other hobbies?
WC: Naw, besides being a fulltime asshole, that’s pretty much it.
T: Haha, so if you weren’t an emcee… what would you be doing for money? You don’t make money being an asshole, unfortunately.
WC: I’ve always enjoyed working with kids.
T: Aww, that’s cool.
WC: And by the way, I haven’t been chillin with too many females lately. I’m not a player.
T: I wasn’t hinting at that at all, I was referring to the Perfect Weekend. But hey, that’s good news: players aren’t well-liked by me.
WC: Okay, that’s cool, cause I get that all the time. People think I h ave an entourage of white girls, like I roll with the cast of Sex in the City.
T: Haha. Tell me something that people might not know about you, unless it came up in conversation or if they hung out with you everyday. Anything quirky, and random.
WC: I have diabetes.
T: So do I…
WC: Wow, I’m meeting a lot of people with Diabetes lately.
[Then we got into a lengthy conversation about it, a myspace group for Diabetics that he’ll be starting, and our near-death experiences with it.]
T: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
WC: 5 years from now, I would like to be a household name with a few plaques on my wall, talking to the kids at school, telling them it’s possible. It can be done.
T: Sounds great. Any upcoming projects?
WC: I’m working on the new album called “Crack City”. I’m half way done with it. It’s going to be 10 songs on it, keeping it the basic and raw with features from El Da Sensei, Sabir Shahid, Geneva B from Canada, Ronnie Rawles and YD. Production by The Deep Notes, Shabir Shahid and DJ Shooow.
T: Dope! Sensei is cool, and I’ve only heard of Sabir from your music. I’ll be keeping a look out for that.
WC: Ok, El is my boy.
T: Thanks for staying up and letting me talk with you.
WC: Thanks for the interview.
Wize Crack – The Perfect Weekend video