Disruption, or revolution in his own words, has always been front and centre in the headspace of London rap artist Sam Wise. So much so, to call him merely a rapper is to discredit his genre-bending, fluid musical portfolio; Kennington born and bred, Sam Wise has cultivated a unique, personal brand of UK rap that is the product of a huge melting pot of cultural interactions, be it inspiration from the A$AP Mob over the pond for the “House of Pharaohs” or elements of the likes of Rejjie Snow for his solo projects.
He’s left a lasting mark on the UK music scene, particularly so with an underground audience that follows every last move. His early career with House of Pharaohs saw him and his schoolmates create an alternative sound within rap, with their first song “Roll it Up” from 2014 being both HoP and Sam Wise’s debut to the scene. So far ahead of its time – even now, with many a UK artist emulating this kind of sound and energy – the HoP discography is criminally underappreciated and, for unknown reasons, remains devoid of the praise hailed by similar sounding artists of today. Later on, the group released their debut EP “Real Faces” in a display of immeasurable skill, chemistry and promise – of course Sam Wise featured prominently, showcasing his ability in advance of launching “Lizzie”, his first solo track.
One will remember “Rack Up”, a catchy summer banger released in 2018 laden with this childish swagger on a Pierre Bourne-esque beat, which came as his breakthrough track and saw him draw some eyes from the mainstream.
Sam Wise’s fashion sense is as eclectic and varied as his musical influences. Generally casual, and often donning the latest and greatest from Bape with oversized denim jeans and crisp white Air Force 1’s, his wardrobe is an authentic extension of personality. Fun, laid back and confident are the first words to come to mind describing the garments on show, and those are the exact three words I’d use to describe Sam Wise as a personality, musician and performer. There occasionally comes a time where the fits are a bit more styled, first and foremost on his “Sorry You Were Saying” headline tune “Birds Eye View”, but even then nothing seems out of the ordinary – never have we seen the artist look out of his depth in an outfit, and with that level of confidence and energy it’s hard to imagine him not pulling something off. His merch line “YZ” sees him release hoodies, T-shirts, and caps on a regular basis, every time selling out and easily spotted on a walk through London with the recognisable motif.
Sam Wise is without a doubt due more and more success, with promise of ascension to a more mainstream level of prowess. While he’s a number of years into his career – and by no means an amateur or novice – the ceiling for his development simply isn’t there at all. He continues to evolve personally and professionally, with “Shuda Cuda Wuda” being created by the same producer as “Lizzie” and sounding far more mature and composed, albeit conserving the youthful charm that encapsulates Sam Wise’s style. “How it Feels” and “IF I HAD A TEC” arrive full of the same youthful energy and swagger we’ve observed for years now, but packaged together with an air of self-assured confidence one can only gain from developments as a solo artist.