LIVE REVIEW: Wiki @ Black Bear Lodge

Updated: 4 days ago

Wiki makes dirtbag rap.


It’s grungy. It’s grimy. It’s punk. It’s the kind of music that suits a small venue such as Black Bear Lodge.

Just six days earlier before his show, fellow New York rapper Pop Smoke was killed. His sound was set to dominate New York in 2020. Before Wiki’s set, his DJ played ‘Welcome to the Party’, Pop Smoke’s breakthrough hit. Wiki exited backstage early to dance with the crowd. A touching moment, it set the stage for an intimate, cozy show.


And it was a solid show. Drawing mostly from his sophomore album OOFIE, the rapper’s set was dynamic. His performance of ‘Elixir’? Haunting. His performance of ‘Grim’? Energetic. His performance of ‘Pesto’? Chilling. Older cuts such as ‘God Bless Me’ and ‘Mayor’ rounded out a solid set.


There were a couple of weak spots, occurring only when Wiki diverged from his core sound. Migos’ ‘T-Shirt’ is a crowd pleaser. Any self-respecting DJ has it on standby. But not every rapper should rap over it. Wiki’s style is rough around the edges. It's not made for the club. There’s no reason for him to freestyle on slick Atlanta production.

Wiki is heavily indebted to his home. His beats have the “boom bap” of, well, boom bap. His raps are ultra-specific reference local landmarks in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Yet, this insular sound resonates with kids in Brisbane. His fans knew all his deep cuts. They knew all his words. They knew what Pop Smoke meant to a small rapper from Brooklyn.


In that way, Wiki played a homecoming show, nine thousand miles from home.


Follow Wiki on Instagram.