WIFISFUNERAL TALKS WRESTLING, THE BRONX & HOW IMPERFECTION FUELS HIS ART
Words by Christopher Kevin Au // Photography by Chris Loutfy
Live from Hidden Festival in Sydney, we chatted to underground hero Wifisfuneral, another rapper emerging from the burgeoning South Florida scene:
So we're here at Hidden Festival, how've the shows been so far?
Yeah, its my first time in Australia, period! Every show from the start of Hidden to now has been really good, everybody's been turning up. I didn't even know I had fans out here, so it's a refreshing feeling coming from the States, because I personally feel like I'm not as appreciated in the States as much as I am in other countries. So for the most part it's been really good, honestly.
Why do you think you’re unappreciated in the States?
I feel like just other countries appreciate music more, because you guys aren't able to see like specific artists. not even just me, if you're a fucking Drake fan, name a time that Drake really comes to Australia like that. It's not that often and if it is, it's like every other two or three years. I feel like because you guys don't see the artists as much and they're not as accessible, as they're in the States you can't just say, 'Oh alright, if I don't see them in my home state I can like ly to whatever state and go see them.' It's completely different.
So, you were born in The Bronx. So, being from the birthplace of hip-hop and then moving to Florida is two completely different scenes. Do you feel like you got the best of both worlds kind of in a sense?
Yeah because I grew up on nothing but 90s New York music, that was considered as traditional hip-hop in my household. And then moving to the South, everybody listened to Plies, Trick Daddy, Suave Smooth, the list goes on and on. It was a complete culture shock but I loved it, because it applies so much in my music now as far as being diverse. Listening to 90s rap and then listening to Dirty South trap music, it opened my mind to different genres of music before it was even considered different genres. It made me more open minded to listening to people, you feel me? Earth Wind & Fire, shit like that. It went from that to listening to Sex Pistols and then Jimi Hendrix and then Nirvana. I just went everywhere with it. I went from like 8 years old listening to Ready To Die, the first album I've ever heard, and then 16 listening to Aerosmith for the first time.
You got your name from DJ Scheme. Can you explain exactly what DJ Scheme has done for the scene, the movement and everything that is happening right now?
Yeah, we were originally a duo. I'm going to be real. Before he was actually DJing, as far as being one of his best friends at one point, he was a very huge influence on me; very huge motivational person for me; never told me to give up. He damn near sacrificed his life just to make sure I could live mine; moving me into his Mum's crib when I was homeless and I had nowhere to go. When he actually figured out what he wanted to do for his career, he just became a voice for the whole underground scene in South Florida because he is really in tune with these kids. He hosts a lot of these up-and-comer rappers that you don't even know of right now. In my eyes, he's like the underground DJ Khaled.
You've got a song called 'Lil Jeff Hardy.' It feels like every single rapper I interview tends to love wresting. What do you think it is about wrestling that hip-hop artists just seem drawn to?
I think it's the attitude, it's the characteristics within the wrestler. I feel like people don't even like the wrestler. The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin - Everyone knows them, everyone's been influenced by them. If you never gave a fuck in your life, nine times out of ten, it's been influenced by Stone Cold Steve Austin. I damn near got my confidence from The Rock. Just by watching The Rock promos and Kobe Bryant interviews, I damn near learned how to build confidence for myself as a person, because my Mum and my Dad never knew how to teach me that as a person. My Grandfather was a tag team champion in Puerto Rico. He used to work for the Colón's promotion, back in the late '60s, early '70s. My whole family, we view it like basketball. We look at the wrestling as an art form and as a sport itself.
The craziest thing is the heels and characters.
But it's such an amazing aspect because it shows you the brain power of a human being. How you're able to take a human being, build him as a character and they're a whole completely different person. You view them in a whole completely different light.
And if that angle doesn't work, they just reinvent the wrestler and bring them back six months later.
That's exactly how the fucking music industry is. Like 'Oh well, you tried portraying yourself as a gangster. That didn't work so we're going to turn you into a R&B artist now.'
If you were to enter the WWE or anything like that, what one rapper would you pick to be your tag team partner?
Nobody. All these rappers are soft. I'll get in the ring right now, I did it already. I got in the ring, I know what that pain feels like. I'll take a bump. I'll get the Cruiserweight championship quick, all I need to do is put 20 more pounds, I'm in that bitch.
I watched a little interview with you, where you talked about your tattoos and said that you're obsessed with imperfection. How do you think that mentality has affected your music?
It brings me down more to a human being, in a sense. At the end of the day, the same way you're a human being and I'm a human being. You have skin, flesh and bones; the same way I have skin, flesh and bones. It doesn't matter whatever my social status is. It doesn't matter whatever accolades or goals that I've accomplished within my life. It doesn't make me any higher than you, and it doesn't make you any lesser than me. In a sense, we're all imperfect... I'm pretty sure Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, right now as we speak, are stressing about real deal normal shit. Fuck the money, fuck everything else. That's the type of imperfection that I'm obsessed with, because it always brings me to reality as a person and it shows me, actually, that I'm a regular person and I'm not caught up in this lifestyle of living life fast as fuck.
I have no choice but to live like this, because I built myself to a point and this is what I chose as my life; but just because I chose this as my life, it doesn't mean that I can't be myself at the end of the day... If I'm broke, I'm gonna let you know that I'm broke. If I'm up, I'm gonna let you know that I'm up. You're gonna see it, it ain't going to be hard to tell. I'm not one of those rappers that it's like 'Oh, I'm fucking $60,000 in debt, but I'm wearing fucking $30,000 on my neck.' That's not happening. If I'm $60,000 in debt, you're going to see me in white tees, some jeans and some fucking Nikes. Period. I want to change this music scene, as far as imperfection. Just in the sense that you could be a regular fucking human being and do this shit. It's just how much you apply yourself to it, if you really want this.
That's refreshing to hear. I feel like hip-hop is so much flexing.
You know what it is? We get so caught up in the testosterone where its like who's got the bigger dick – you or me? At the end of that day, what the fuck do I have to prove to you? What the fuck do you have to prove towards me? You don't know me, I don't know you. You know your self worth as a human being. I know my self worth as a human being, so what the fuck does that differentiate between me and you. What makes you think you can't get shit done? What makes you think that I can't get shit done? If anything, I probably want to see you at the top and be like, 'Damn, we both came from nothing and we both did this shit' as opposed to being like, 'Haha, I'm shitting on you, I've got more money than you.' That shit's stupid.
Finally, what can we expect from you coming up this year?
My debut album Life As a Skeleton.
Any little bits of info you can give us there?
I'm having absolutely no features on this project. And if I do have a feature, it's going to be a female. That's it. And nine times out of 10, I probably won't even put her name on it, because I don't want nobody to know who I've got featured on my project.
I don't want you listening to my songs just because I fucking featured somebody on it. I want you to actually listen to my shit from start to finish. When 21 Savage did that shit, that was mind-blowing. That was refreshing because it made me actually listen to the project from start to finish. I didn't skip any songs. I actually listened to that project, and I haven't listened to a project like that since Ready To Die.