Hardcore NYC beats with dub and experimental elements
OTW #469: Ratking

Patrick ‘Wiki’ Morales, an eighteen-year-old Puerto Rican/Irish lyricist who lives somewhere in New York’s Upper West side, is missing a few front teeth. It’s his first time in London, and he’s loving the city. “We had a fun night but we’re not use to waking up so early,” he jokes while sipping his tea. Judging by his devil-may-care aura and raw performances, it’s easy to imagine him getting banged up, knocked out and thrown about then bouncing right back up and continuing the ruckus. However, contrary to what you see, there’s something wise and well-worn about his character; “We’re respectable people. We’re not trying to be anything we’re not. If we can do some next shit through hip-hop then it’s over, because I feel like that is the new music of the youth. If we can manifest our ideas through our music people will catch on.”

Wiki, with his encyclopaedic hip-hop knowledge, is one quarter of Ratking, a unified yet strangely unique foursome with a hardcore underground sound from Harlem consisting of two producers: the cool, collected Ramon and the outgoing Sporting Life, and his rhyming partner Hak. The beats are rap music circa sometime in the mid-’90s, the twist being new kids with intellect and an abundance of resources to lend from.

“We take influences from one type of music and put it into another and somehow the audience gets that and kind of put all the pieces together. We want people to open their minds to different types of music - broaden their horizons,” says Ramon.

“What we’re doing draws people in,” adds Sporting Life. “It’s a bit harder to sell. That’s why we appreciate the thoughtful minds at XL (Recordings) who can recognize what we’re doing and put support behind it.”

Wiki has a clear understanding of hip-hop’s past, but the relevance is now. “We want to introduce a more hip-hop audience to art, and let the artsy people know hip-hop can be a form of art too.”

“Amen,” adds Hak.

Words: Safra Ducreay
Photography: Neil Bedford
Fashion: Chris Amfo

Where: Harlem
What: Hardcore NYC beats with dub and experimental elements.
Get 3 Songs: ‘Wikispeaks’, ‘Sporting Life’, ‘Comic’
Unique Fact: They’re good friends with the son of legendary Korean-American filmmaker Christine Choy. They even got her to do a twenty-minute interview.


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