Bred in the birthplace of Hip-Hop Wildelux recently released what he has called his last album. “The IT Factor” is a 14-track release adhering to the golden era philosophy of boom bap beats and high-level lyricism. Wil, now residing in Kyoto, Japan, is confident that his swan song will hold its own alongside rap’s classic albums.
The IT Factor is produced entirely by Wildelux. The project features contributions by AG of D.I.T.C, DJ Robert Smith, Skanks the Rap Martyr, DJ Rad MK, Aarophat, Tek the SupaLAtin, DJ Lef_T, El Da Sensei, DJ M-1, and Sadat X.
The Real Hip-Hop talked to Wildelux about his new album, The IT Factor, why it will be his last album, and his plans for the future.
TRHH: Why’d you title the new album The IT Factor?
Wildelux: With the influx of music, I would say probably the influx of new artists, I would say that it’s safe to say that a lot of the stuff that we hear that’s coming out right now is a bit redundant. Same formula, no one is really doing anything new, and this is probably a phrase that’s been used from back in the days when it comes to just having the talent right, having “it.” That’s why I kind of named the album The IT Factor. It’s just kind of letting people know, again with the influx of music, with the bombardment of a whole bunch of music, nobody really has the IT factor anymore. It’s just a bunch of stuff that comes out that sounds the same. So, yeah that’s why I named the album The IT Factor.
TRHH: How long did it take you to complete The IT Factor?
Wildelux: It took me roughly about four years to do the album. Just kind of recording, re-recording, not really liking how certain things came out. So, about roughly 4 years I would say to do the album.
TRHH: How do you know when something is or isn’t right?
Wildelux: When doing an album, and again, this probably goes against what everyone is doing right now, but when doing an album in my opinion an album has to tell a story. It has to have its point of inception, it has to have his drama or whatever in the middle, and then it has to have its conclusion. So, again just doing songs that kind of fit the story. Recording a bunch of songs, putting them together, putting them in order, and then just kind of knowing, okay, this album flows from top to bottom, beginning to end, smoothly. That’s how I kind of know when the album is like complete and ready to go.
TRHH: The song “24/7” has a very eerie sound to it. Without snitching what genre did you find that sample from?
Wildelux: I can’t say that [laughs]. I can’t say the genre. If I do that I’ll be giving away the secret. If I give away the secret everybody will be on it, so I want to keep that quiet. I can’t say [laughs]. But when I found it I was like, “Oh my God, what is this?” I chopped it up right away and then once I put the drums and bassline I knew I had a winner. I’m not gonna say on that one, that’s my little secret sauce there.
TRHH: With basslines do you typically play them or do you pull them from a sample source?
Wildelux: So, in this particular album this album is a combination of either songs either being sampled, a lot of the stuff on this album has been played, and then when it comes to the bassline I actually play them via MIDI keyboard. Yeah, I play a lot of the basslines with the keyboard.
TRHH: The song “Pulse” is very vivid. What inspired the storytelling on Pulse?
Wildelux: That’s a good question. So, Pulse is a bunch of short stories compiled into one song. The way that I see music, just have to kind of give you this back story, the way I see music, music’s either to me black or white. So, what I mean by that is either people talk about what’s in the black or people talk about what’s in the white. I’m a person that tried to talk about stuff that’s in the yellow, the lime green, whatever that middle color is.
So, one day I was just sitting here and I was just thinking about different situations that we go through in life, or people may be going through in life that kind of make people’s pulse or their heartbeat race. Whether it’s excitement, whether it’s being scared, whatever the case may be. I just started compiling a bunch of small short stories and then just compiling and just putting them into one big song. That’s why you have these little short stories in terms of people in different situations and how their pulse races in different situations. That’s how that song came about, Pulse.
TRHH: Does it take you a long time to create a story like that or a verse?
Wildelux: If I’m doing a story rhyme and it’s just one story about one particular thing, it’s not so bad in terms of writing the song. With that particular one I had to really think about it and really think it out in terms of how I wanted to execute the song. So, that one took me some time to do it.
TRHH: On the song “Masta Builda” you have a line about staking your place on this planet. You’re a person who has lived in different countries, I’ve heard Chuck D say he’s a citizen of the Earth, or an Earthizen. What exactly does staking your place on the planet mean to you?
Wildelux: Yeah, kind of going along the same lines of Chuck D, and I guess I came to this realization because of the fact now that I no longer live in the United States and I’ve been blessed to travel the world and just meet people from different walks of life around the world. That’s what it’s about. It’s about just going around the world and just experiencing what the world has to offer. And like just saying, “Man, I was here,” or “I made my mark known here.” And not even through music, just in terms of traveling. Just traveling and gathering all these experiences. And of course, through music through too, just staking my place on the planet as far as music goes, too. But just experiencing the world, that’s all it is. Leaving your comfort zone and experiencing the world, that’s what it kind of means to me.
TRHH: Why is The IT Factor your last album?
Wildelux: So, it’s a couple of reasons. I’ve been in the music business for 30 years. My first record I put out was in 1995 independent and I’ve been independent the whole time. Just doing an album nowadays is not so challenging for me anymore because I guess I’ve been doing it for such a long time. It’s just not challenging for me anymore compared to when I was first doing it. It was a lot of fun, it was a lot of hunger, it was a lot of passion, we had a lot of fun doing it. But I’ve lost count in terms of how many songs I’ve written and how many songs that I’ve done. You just kind of get burned out about it.
Another thing I would say too is the way people consume music nowadays it’s not about the body of work but it’s about playlists now. Everything’s the Spotify playlist or whatever playlist. On average, an album could be hot for about maybe a week or two weeks and then people are on to the next thing already. So, yeah again it’s a combination of just me doing it for a long time and then again, the way people consume music nowadays it’s just different now with technology and stuff like that. There are still a few people, a small percentage of people, who still will listen to the album and still purchase stuff, but for the most part most people now just consume music via streaming services and playlists and things of that nature.
TRHH: What’s next for you after Hip-Hop?
Wildelux: I’m always gonna be doing Hip-Hop. I’m always gonna be doing music, but probably just trying to focus on things maybe more behind the scenes. So, as I just said to you before, doing an album hasn’t really been so much challenging for me, but actually creating the music, sampling it or playing it, whatever the case may be, I found a new passion in doing that. So, maybe that’s something that I might want to focus on in the near future and the distant future as well, too. Just kind of working more behind the scenes. And again, I’ll still be featured on other people’s projects, but in terms of just doing the whole album, I don’t really have the energy to do it anymore so much.
Purchase: Wildelux – The IT Factor