Wiki
No Mountains In Manhattan


3.5
great

Review

by verdant CONTRIBUTOR (66 Reviews)
September 2nd, 2017 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: or: how to be fruitful in the big apple

It is not personal history or context that should be considered important when it comes to Wiki, but setting. Such is the self-contained universe of No Mountains in Manhattan, which slinks and stumbles drunk around the smoggy, bruised streets of New York. It’s fitting that an album like this -- which elucidates first-world problems underneath a harsh light -- has been born and raised at the epicentre of the first world. And so, aptly, it studies the underside of every New York City stone, setting flags down on every bustling street corner.

To say that the relationship between the rapper and his city is symbiotic would be to overlook how often the two are discordant, at odds. The love is there, but the town can at times seem aloof, unsympathetic, and it boxes Wiki (and people like Wiki) up in messy, claustrophobic apartments. The dynamic is felt and perpetuated throughout this record, which -- to me -- seems to all take place in the same twenty-four hours. A day in the life, if you will, where live shows lead into disputes lead into reappraisals of self.

It goes like this:

In the morning, the Mayor gets up, steps out onto the street, and buys a bagel. He is listening to Islander, which feels like it was written precisely for the moment you first greet the world outside your apartment. A sample of uh, a piccolo" sways to and fro while the major delivers his rhymes with a weathered snark. Then the beat switches up, and the theme of the day is laid out: “there ain’t no fucken mountains in Manhattan”. Except there is -- evident in the quintessentially New York skyline, the same buildings that will either welcome starry eyes or rip them straight out of their sockets.

In the afternoon, the Mayor meets up with an Old Droog, and the two share a demo version of a song called Litt 15. A tourist walks by and hears the music. Taking into account where he is, even the tourist can surmise that the sound exemplifies and encapsulates the city. It’s in no small part to the instrumental, which is laid-back yet immediate, replete with jazz lounge piano chords that resonate across a half-asleep, syncopated beat. The old droog, a seasoned veteran, gifts a verse that feels undeniably like a reflection and, with the interplay between him and the mayor, the afternoon begins to feel appropriately like a time for rumination. In the calmness and the reflection, the tourist strolls off, humming the tune to himself as he walks.

Until the sun well and truly buries itself under the horizon, the mayor sits on a bench in Central Park, preparing for his rap show and leaning into the city as his muse. He etches out lyrics like “I want the city better than the level it was at” as a means of jumping off into his own problems. “I been fiending far too long” he follows up; this dynamic is tough, unforgiving even, but the two entities will invariably be there to support each other where and when it matters.

Then it’s late at night and, having just performed for the townspeople, Wiki has relinquished his position as municipal leader. He is tired and he is miserable and he is angry. His record player is spinning Elaine -- a reminder that interacting with the community selflessly doesn’t necessarily translate to treating the people you love the same way. Before he even leaves the house tomorrow morning, he’ll spin Pandora’s Box and such an aftermath will sober him right up, with its recollection of other rappers and ex relationships and both of those things at the same time.

Wiki’s voice shines through on No Mountains In Manhattan because he takes an unfiltered approach in his attempts to find a panacea to, or at least temper, the impassioned disjunct between the city and its denizens; the kind of angle only a local could take. It is a detailed rap album, because it’s constantly reacting to the world around it, looking for momentary solutions to momentary problems under subway seats and street vendors. When Wiki raps: ”they hand you a bottle for you to sip it” it’s an examination of self and not the city; a desperate attempt to elucidate how to make life -- in this town or another -- worth experiencing. Because it’s not the city that doesn’t sleep, it’s the people.



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user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.7
great
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Wiki's debut album delivers the same sort of bars that we've known Wiki is capable of since 2011. Ov...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
verdant
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

a very strong 3.5 maybe even stronger than some of my 4s but rating is hard and i have a headache

BlushfulHippocrene
September 2nd 2017


2019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Love you, love this album, love this review.

Digging: Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

u2 my friend

AsleepInTheBack
September 2nd 2017


5132 Comments


rating is hard and i have a headache [2] ):
I'm basically just your fanboy at this point mate. Never stop writing.

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ahhh lots of love ben(jamin? edict? neither?) ANYWAY you're the greatest

AsleepInTheBack
September 2nd 2017


5132 Comments


Yeah it's benneither. Quite a unique name I know, my parents were stoned when they named me.

kylemccluskey
September 2nd 2017


155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The it's after denizens should be its.



Great write-up, if a bit hyperbolic. I've been a huge Wiki proponent up until this record, myself, and I enjoyed this thing, but it seems that, with each subsequent release wherein the limelight on him is consistently enlarging, he's losing the lyrical slight of hand that made him so special in the first place, and, with the corresponding mounting pressure to make music that matters, he's becoming increasingly the aware of the fact that he has very little of truly enduring substance to say.

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks so much kyle, i tend to try and avoid outright criticism if there's nothing glaring because i don't think it's my place to tear a thing to shreds if there's nothing objectively wrong about it. i see what you mean though. i like this because it has charisma in spades.

kylemccluskey
September 2nd 2017


155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Totally. I was also partially disappointed because this album was supposed to be his big break, you know, and it didn't provide the best, nor a very accurate representation of what Wiki is truly capable of. I fear he's gonna end up like Earl in that in his guest spots he will just tear the mic to shreds but his full-releases end up unfocused and meandering albeit still quality to a degree. I just hope he either ups his wit, his substance-level, or both in the future.

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

huh i actually like this more than the other stuff i've heard, but i hope it grows on you and/or he provides what you seek next time around

Kurisu
September 2nd 2017


537 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is so much better than his mixtape fuck

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

: )

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2017


19728 Comments


hey jack, how come your words are so beautiful to look at I don't understand. that's all I'm asking, carry on

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thank you. i find your words quite pretty too >: )

kingdedethefifth
September 3rd 2017


4295 Comments


hey jack, how come I want to make extremely passionate love to you I don't understand. that's all I'm asking, carry on.

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

o /

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2017


19728 Comments


dede don't you dare...

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2017


5447 Comments


Same tbh. I'd probably cook you breakfast afterwards

Can't promise I'll ever listen to this, but neatly written as always ^.^ That conclusion was splendid


verdant
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2017


1879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

makin me hot under the collar ; )

DeadPoe
September 12th 2017


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ratings r too low



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