It’s a good time to be Sydney rapper B Wise. He’s just released his debut album Area Famous, the culmination of a year that’s included appearances at this year’s Splendour In The Grass festival, well-received singles such as ‘Feel Something’ and ‘The Key’, and a lengthy national tour with Australian hip-hop royalty Thundamentals (who’ve just announced another tour themselves). While it’s been a stellar year for the rapper, it’s one that’s been a long time coming.

“I feel like 2018 has been my biggest year in my career, and I’m very thankful for that, but I also know I planned a lot for that as well. I spent all of 2017 on what they call ‘off cycle’. I had to go away to write the album, I turned down a big tour that came up just to write this album.”

Indeed, the writing and recording process of Area Famous took over a year and a half, with B Wise continuing to work right up until the last minute. “I basically spent the whole of 2017 writing the album, and also the first half of this year,” explains the emcee.

“Frankly, I was still submitting music up until the last day of deadline – I finished the album the week before Splendour, so that was like, June. There was almost 20 or 30 tracks, and then we cut it down to thirteen.

“So it was a long process, a lot of ups and downs and discovering myself during writing but I’m extremely excited and proud to have my first album out.”

B Wise recently celebrated the release by letting off some steam – quite literally – in a very unique setting as part of Rekorderlig Sauna Sounds.

“It was interesting, never played in a sauna before – it was still hot when we got in there,” he tells us, explaining that despite the Swedish vibes, he kept this performance nice and local.

“We did mine where I grew up in Liverpool, at the Whitlam Centre. All these old dudes are there till like 8:30, right up until the end.

“It was definitely a different vibe, I really enjoyed it.”

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The Elefant Traks rapper first began to make waves around 2015, with tracks like ‘Prince Akeem’ garnering attention, bolstered when he won a spot on the Sydney leg of Listen Out festival through Triple J Unearthed.

The following year saw the emcee drop debut Semi Pro EP, continuing to perform relentlessly and steadily building a reputation for his live performance. It’s the kind of work ethic that makes one appreciate how far the rapper has come since emerging.

Area Famous is an album that has a strong sense of place. B Wise, who was born to Australian and Nigerian parents and grew up largely in South Western Sydney, made a deliberate choice to focus on his upbringing and cultural identity on his debut.

b wise rekorderlig presser

It’s something that can be heard throughout the entire album, suburban streets and a kind of multicultural spirit permeating across the record. A lot of artists sing about where they grew up and how it impacted the person they are now, but few feel as authentic as on Area Famous.

“For a debut, I was trying to figure out how to differentiate myself from other artists within the Australian and also international market,” says B Wise. “The best way I thought I could do that was just by being myself.

“Where I’m from, my cultural identity, anything – I felt it was important to highlight that, there wasn’t really anything out there.

“When I was growing up there wasn’t any artists there to look at,” he adds. “I would look at Scribe for example, who is from New Zealand, as the closest thing I could identify with.”

The rapper acknowledges that there’s a particular spotlight on artists from Western Sydney at the moment.

“I know that we’ve always been there grinding away. I feel like now there is more of a focus on it, because everyone is bringing the goods and taking the craft seriously.”

While Area Famous feels like a clear representation of B Wise as an artist, it was also a collaborative process. The rapper utilized an assortment of producers for the record, working with the likes of Uno Stereo, DOPAM!NE and Horrorshow’s Adit, and including considered features by Anfa Rose and Kaiit.

“It was important,” says B Wise of the collaborative approach. “So many of those producers were within the same studio, when everyone knew they were making my debut, because we’re close like that, I had to have my flavour on the album.

b wise rekorderlig

“Some producers didn’t make it on the album – there was a lot of beats sent my way for the album that I was like storing up. A lot we started from scratch. The collaborative process was good.

“I actually executive produced the album, I didn’t have an actual executive producer that overlooked the whole process, that was me. That was tough in a sense, dealing with so many producers at one time and trying to get everything right.”

Looking ahead, the rapper will celebrate the launch of Area Famous with a national headline tour across October and November, playing in most capital cities. For an artist that’s consistently worked as hard as B Wise, one can only wonder what the next year will bring for the rapper.

If you like what you saw in the Rekorderlig Sauna Sounds performance, you can get tickets to B Wise’s album launch tour  here – check out the dates below.

B Wise – Area Famous 2018 National Tour Dates

Friday, 5th October
The Lansdowne, Sydney
Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 6th October
The Cambridge, Newcastle
Tickets: Official Website

Friday, 12th October
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 13th October
Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 20th October
Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Tickets: Official Website

Friday, 26th October
Transit Bar, Canberra
Tickets: Official Website

Friday, 2nd November
Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Perth
Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 3rd November
Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Tickets: Official Website