B Wise - Jamie (REVIEW)
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
The evolution of B Wise from his 2016 EP ‘Semi-Pro’, to his landmark debut album ‘Area Famous’ in 2018 to now with ‘Jamie’, is truly something to admire. B Wise has consistently proven himself to be not just one of the hardest working artists on the scene, but a multi-faceted talent who can compliment any genre. The self-referential ‘Jamie’, is a celebration of the familiarity he has with those closest to him as they address him as “Jamie”. It is this team of people who know his journey best and who have a massive part to play in the album itself.
A collaborative effort from its barebones out, ‘Jamie’ was built across a small period of time at a getaway by B Wise and an all-star cast of talented producers and artists, each of whom were readily equipped to help B Wise deliver an album that is the truest extension of himself. As B Wise exclaims in album opener ‘Apex’, this is a summation of his journey leading to this point – from the South-East of Nigeria to the South-West of Sydney.
What an explosive intro by South-West Sydney legend B Wise. ‘Apex’ is such a powerful track to start off the album as some booming keys give B Wise the opportunity to showcase his unmatched abilities as an MC. B Wise’s delivery of assertive bars and succinct punchlines over a triumphant beat by Mansus and VC RFP perfect readies the listener for the rest of the album. I loved how B Wise referenced his 2016 EP ‘Semi-Pro’, reminding everyone of where he’s come from.
‘Won’t Stop’ ft ONEFOUR
B Wise links up with iconic Western Sydney rap group ONEFOUR on ‘Won’t Stop’. Although this song was released prior to the album, it is undoubtedly still one of the smoothest listens on the project. B Wise utilises a Trap-style approach on the song, showcasing some cheeky wordplay and a catchy hook to get your head bopping. Spenny comes in heavy with rich and powerful bars whilst J Emz switches it up with some melodic and slow-paced singing before bringing it back to his iconic flow. SmokeyGotBeatz and i.amsolo bring it all home with a beat jam-packed with swagger.
‘On My Soul’ ft Juvé
B Wise is arguably best explained as a malleable artist, in that he can rap, he can sing and can adjust to both even on the same beat. This facet of his artistry is undeniably evident throughout the album, but it is especially present on this track. In teaming up with producer and artist Juvé with ‘On My Soul’, the pair make magic on a beat that is tailor-made to hear some melodic tones over it whilst unpacking their innermost thoughts to the listener.
With ‘WHO?!’ B Wise has created one of the heaviest festival tracks I have heard come out of the Australian hip-hop scene yet. B Wise dismantles all opposition with his expert lyricism on this track, and by teaming up with i.amsolo, he is given the perfect platform in the form of a fast-paced braggadocious beat filled with heavy drums. Luckily, we were able to experience the absolute rush that is ‘WHO?!’ at Yours & Owls, and we can’t wait to hear it all over again someday.
‘Think Twice’ ft Kojey Radical
What a superb effort this track is. From the production by UNO Stereo and Styalz Fuego, to B Wise’s melodic rap approach, to UK artist Kojey Radical’s unique flow on his verse; all of it complements the song wonderfully. Although the production was quite layered and full of life, what stood out to me was the electric guitar instrumental loops used throughout. Every time I replayed ‘Think Twice’ I sensed substantial chemistry between B Wise and Kojey, as they both bounced off one another flawlessly, whilst providing different but aligned approaches to the track.
‘Jamie Overstreet’ is a sensual little R&B inspired hip-hop tune that will leave you finger clicking and shuffling from side to side. Another Juvé produced track which this time pairs smooth drums and soothing synths. B Wise showcases his laid-back vocals throughout the track which spice up the mood and create a dance ambience for the listener. This is the type of tune I’m going to play at Saturday night hangs in the future – get the booze flowing and let’s have a great time.
‘B The One’ ft Becca Hatch
This song has been in my rotation since it dropped in June. What an impeccable collaboration between South-West Sydney’s B Wise and Western Sydney’s Becca Hatch. The hip-hop and R&B mashup is perfect for those summertime BBQs where the whole family is at the table, cold drinks are flowing to cool you down and precious moments to remember forever are being made. I specifically love the outro on this song, as it allowed me to reflect on the past and everything that lead me to where I am today. In addition, the ever-consistent i.amsolo and Willstah deliver a perfectly-crafted vibey beat.
UNO Stereo and Milan Ring have constructed a delightfully funky and upbeat concoction filled with playful electric guitar notes and drums on ‘U Say’. The track itself sees B Wise balancing a variety of flows in order to demonstrate his fluctuating emotions towards a special someone he’s willing to give all the time in the world to. As well as that, the aforementioned Milan Ring is a welcome accompaniment to this track with her fantastic backing vocals.
‘Dus Ya Feet Off’ ft JessB
‘Dus Ya Feet Off’ features a lavish sample with a classic feel that feels destined to build up to a track where B Wise and New Zealand rapper JessB deliver absolute carnage. And it certainly delivers exactly that, and then some. B Wise’s mix of lethal bars and echoey adlibs plays excellently to the savage production by Aywy, ultimately creating space for JessB to hit the listener with a verse that will leave you in awe. One of the hardest tracks on the entire album.
‘Summer Fr3aks’ ft Manu Crooks
Not only is ‘Summer Fr3aks’ another explosive collaboration between longtime collaborators B Wise and Manu Crooks, it is an outstanding statement by both artists of their self-made success and proof of their ability to push outside the labels given to them by external forces. I’ve had this track on replay in my head since its February release; that infectious hook and those fiery bars from Manu, B Wise’s silky bars and the way he announces “Cause I’ve got me”, it’s all something to savour.
On ‘Heavies’, B Wise brandishes in cementing his own success whilst demonstrating his desire to only match it with the best of the best. UNO Stereo hits the listener with an ominous beat made to give B Wise ample space to make the point that the game he’s in isn’t one to be played by those who can’t stomach the setbacks and pain that comes with grinding to the top.
‘Black Visionary’ ft BLESSED
You’re beckoned into this track by a gorgeous sample draped in a classic aesthetic, one that will leave you reflecting on the world around you. B Wise hits the listener with lyrics that breakdown the magnitude of his commitment to get to this point in his life, with the multi-faceted BLESSED acknowledging those that have been lost and the fact that he (and those around him) have remained standing through it all. The closing interchange is a true microcosm of ‘Jamie’ and offers an insight into B Wise’s determination in making this album in his image.
‘Ezinna’ ft Sampa The Great & Milan Ring
Thematically, ‘Ezinna’ is as apt a concluding track as B Wise could’ve made for this album. As conveyed by B Wise prior to the album’s launch, ‘Ezinna’ plays out like “letting one of your spiritual ancestors move through you” – which ultimately conveys that B Wise has pushed passed his own self-doubt to embrace a sound that is close to home for him through his roots. The arrival of Sampa The Great and Milan Ring on ‘Ezinna’ elevates the track to a beautiful echelon, with Sampa bringing an uncontainable euphoric energy that will enliven your spirit in your darkest moments.
‘Jamie’ is a true masterstroke on the part of B Wise. Beyond the impressive contributions of a range of diverse artists hailing from Australia, New Zealand and the UK, the album offers a greater depth to B Wise than we’ve ever seen before. The way B Wise has concocted a project that is sophisticatedly balanced in style, theme and approach speaks to his evolution as an artist. This is not simply a cumulative collection of thoughts that have followed the release of ‘Area Famous’, this is a message to his listeners to embrace themselves and to celebrate those around them as B Wise has done. The multitude of styles and sounds B Wise successfully takes on throughout ‘Jamie’ is emblematic of this overcoming of uncertainty and a newfound acceptance of self.
Inherently, it is evident that through ‘Jamie’, B Wise is celebrating the domestic scene he has helped to shape and build. The impressive contributions of such a groundbreaking range of artists and producers speaks to the impact this generation of talents has had and will continue to have on the Australian scene. And not only is the music on show a superb statement of self-belief and achievement, it is B Wise’s way of celebrating and appreciating those who have shared in his efforts to help establish the Australian hip-hop, R&B, soul and new wave scene as the multifaceted and vibrant landscape it is today. The heart of 'Jamie’ lies not just with the titular B Wise, but likewise in the sensational impact of those who have thrived shoulder-to-shoulder alongside him.
Words by Maroun Ghossain & Matthew Badrov
Published August 26th, 2021