Selected by: Dwayne Wilks
Photography: KillerWithTheAim

Name: WIZE

Where He’s From: Highbury, North London

When He Started: 2007

Genre: Grime

File Next To: Rude Kid, Sir Spyro, Swifta Beater

Sounds Like: WIZE Edits

First Music That Inspired Him:
“I feel like it’s difficult to delegate it to just one song, but the early grime era—2004, 2005—that era definitely played a huge role in my interest in music; songs like ‘When I’m Ere’ by Roll Deep and all the other mad songs I’d catch on Channel U at the time.”

WIZE—or ‘Wize The Producer’, as he’s more commonly known—has already worked his way to veteran status, despite being a few years short of 30. If you consider that one of his earliest production placements was 2011’s “Gassed In The Rave” by Cashtastic and Krept & Konan (which, to this day, is one of his proudest credits—“it was massive at the time and really helped me push myself as a producer in the scene,” he tells TRENCH), some quick arithmetic will tell you he’s been doing music from a very young age. “I wrote my first lyric at 8 years old, back in 2001, but if we’re talking about when I first stepped into a studio and recorded my vocals, that would be 2007—thanks to Uncle Keith! In terms of production, that came like a year later.”

Originally hailing from North London’s Highbury Estate, WIZE has since produced for many of grime and UK rap’s top names, including Wiley, D-Block Europe and Yxng Bane. More recently, however, WIZE has been garnering more attention and interest in his work, primarily through his ongoing WIZE Edits series, in which he routinely breathes new life into classic UK freestyles. Each edit lifts vocals from legendary freestyles, like that of Giggs on Westwood and Skepta and Wiley’s back-and-forth on The Movement DVD, and places them on his own bespoke production. Like an expert tailor gauging someone’s chest, leg and neck measurements, which styles best suit their build and which accessories will accentuate their better features all at a single glance, WIZE expertly crafts beats around these iconic UK music moments that complement and even enhance the spirit, pockets and cadence of those classic freestyles.

“To be honest, WIZE Edits is heavily based on the stuff I’d seen [lo-fi hip-hop producer] Knxwledge doing in the US,” he explains. “I’m a huge Knx fan, and once I’d figured out how he was isolating vocals from old freestyling videos, I was super-keen to give it a go myself and felt there was a lane for it in the UK as I hadn’t really seen many folks attempt it.” The momentum built by said edits has made the last twelve months the biggest year of his career thus far. Even the darkest of clouds often have a silver lining, and it seems that the exceptional circumstances of 2020 was the conduit WIZE needed to progress to the next level. But exercising hindsight, it’s clear he’s also learned from lessons of the past. While his passion for the music has never faltered, he found that he’d built habits that got in his way over the past few years. “I always had a problem with executing ideas, but I never had a problem coming up with them,” he says. “I had to become somebody that just ‘does’, rather than thinking about ‘doing, if that makes sense? I’ve seen procrastination kill off too many guys’ careers, so I really needed to snap out of it.”

On top of building a work-rate that now cannot be disputed, the pivotal aspect of where and how to apply yourself is something WIZE has clocked over time. “The SoundCloud era of 2014-16 was sick and I definitely thrived within it,” he adds. “But what I also understood was that the world was a lot bigger and even though the numbers I was getting on there were in six digits most of the time, it didn’t really affect my day-to-day life. There was real-life work that needed to be done, offline.”

Today, WIZE is getting the recognition that his talent warrants. From providing music for The Evolution Of Ghetts docuseries to soundtracking Apple’s Behind The Mac ad campaign and much more all in the last year, it seems the one-time prodigy is finding his work more fulfilling than ever. And now that he’s in the habit of challenging himself, he plans to continue in that vein. WIZE is officially ready to put a body of work out into the world. “I’ve got to put out a project that solidifies me as a musician,” he says. “Not ‘Wize The Producer’, as I’ve become commonly known as. I like to play with the sound from all angles—rapping, singing, writing, production—because I’m really a fan of the whole creative process. I feel I’ve got to make a stamp as the artist I actually am and an album of my life’s work feels like the best way to do that.”

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on March 31, 2021