Raised in Germany, based in Toronto WizTheMc has a new vision for rap. He started gaining attention with singles "Do What I Want" and "On My Mind," which showcased his youthful attitude and his ability to hop on instrumentals you wouldn't typically hear rappers perform over. WizTheMc signed to 10K Projects/Homemade Projects earlier this year and his label debut "For A Minute" established him as a unique and versatile emcee. His follow up single "Lied" is equally as charismatic, catchy, and summery.
We got the chance to connect with WizTheMc via email and learn more about his creative process, signing to 10K Projects, and how his experience overseas influenced his music.
Ones To Watch: What do you hope fans take away when they listen to "Lied"?
I want them to know that it is ok to feel like you haven't been honest to yourself because you wanted to create space for someone and set them free. "Lied" is in no way a bitter song, rather me being honest with myself that I actually wasn't sure about my decisions in a scenario of letting go.
One of my favorite parts of your music is your ability to hop on a variety of different instrumentals. What's your process for picking beats and working with producers?
Honestly I don't take beat packs and only work with a handful of producers. Before I met Hugo, who helped me discover my sound in the summer of 2019 in Berlin, Germany, I produced most of my catalogue including one of my recent summer vibes For A Minute. My process now is a lot different to when I first started producing myself. Now I work with the Toronto legend Jeff Hazin (producer, writer) who's an absolute musical genius. He pulls the craziest and best parts out of me. After working with him for almost a year now I still always look forward to every session I have with him. There's no process, he just got the juice and we vibe.
How did growing up in Germany affect your creative journey?
Well, I often times say it didn't affect me in any real way because I was always making music in my room, in my own world. It never felt like I was in any specific place, so that never really mattered to me. Though one thing I can say for sure, growing up in a small town (Lüneburg) made me dislike the mentality that came with it. So every time I had a chance to do something outside of what everyone else was doing, it didn't matter if it was photography, film or making music, I got completely obsessed with it, because it gave me the feeling of creating a new me, a new life no one would have say over.
What drew you to Toronto when you first started to pursue music?
It was a cheap flight that initially got me there but it was the culture, the music and arts scene that kept me here. I had amazing opportunities all around me and I seized every single one of them. From postering the streets with my face to promote my music, to playing gigs at every possible open mic and event that would let me perform.
What was it like signing a record deal with 10K Projects/Homemade Projects during quarantine?
Wild but oddly calm. It was never a dream of mine. To be heard yes, but to sign was not in my near future plans. Zach, Tony, Molly, Elliot and the whole Homemade/10K team changed my mind with that. We were talking to other labels around the time that Homemade came into the picture. I was quite overwhelmed by meeting all these industry people who heard of me and were interested in signing me. But this team made me feel like they saw what I was after and really valued the level I had worked myself up to. So rather than thinking, oh here's a label trying to swoop me up, it felt like we were talking like business partners with mutual respect for one another. In the weeks prior to me actually signing, protests about the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other black & indigenous people started in the US. Being from South Africa, I know the struggles my father and my family went through in the times of apartheid and the repercussions that still exist to this day. Seeing a first world country like the United States go through similar motions in 2020 made me sick.
To show unity and love in these times Jacob (my good friend and manager) and I decided to share a donation of $10000 to the Nia Centre for the Arts and Foodshare Toronto. Two Toronto based organizations doing the real grassroots work in the city. We wanted to do something together with our new partners to really recognize as a group what it meant to be able to think about music in a time like that. 10k had already started a fund for social justice projects, so the whole team jumped on and joined together to contribute. All of us giving to our local communities that helped build us up, Toronto, Philly and LA.
I was always privileged enough to have food in the fridge and to pursue what my dreams were and are but me and Jacob are well aware that not everyone has had an equal chance to do so. This is just the first step of us collectively cultivating love and support in our immediate communities.
How has your creative process changed since signing a label deal?
Nothing has changed, my Uber Eats orders just got more bougie.
In an earlier interview you stated, "I want to change how people think about what a rapper can be." What does that mean to you and how do you think you're accomplishing that?
Rap is raw. It always has been. In the beginning it was real, all you could show and express had to be real otherwise you never touched the mic again. Now Rap and Hip hop are the number 1 favorite for people from around the world to listen to and indulge in. A big part of that audience isn't so connected to the lyrics anymore, and in some cases fortunately doesn't have to be. I feel like the world is and has been ready for rappers to make songs with Taylor Swift (Kendrick did that), songs with Linkin Park (Jay Z did that) etc. And I'm more than anything inspired by rappers and musicians who are willing to make music that is beyond the borders of what they started out making. That's real evolution and thats what I'm after. You tell me if I'm accomplishing that.
What's next for WizTheMc?
Lots of super cool videos, lots of studio time with people I love and lots of finding out who I want to be and how I want to show up in the world.
What are some of your dream collaborations?
Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Kayne West, J. Cole
Who are your Ones to Watch?
I love Dominic Fike's new album and otherwise I'm too lost in my own music right now to pay attention to other people’s work. But that will change and I can't wait for that. Though for everyone from North America, check out MAJAN and Cro, two amazing german artists I admire with vibes out of this world.
Listen to "Lied" by WizTheMc below: