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Otherwize

[Is "Wize" a musician? Or perhaps a musical ensemble? If so, the first sentence should say so, instead of assuming readers already know that.]

Wize first stepped onto the L.A.[?] underground scene as a frequent visitor to the legendary Good Life[?], an open-mic café known for being the launching pad for many other L.A. hip-hop legends like Jurassic 5, Pharcyde[?] and Freestyle Fellowship[?]. The Good Life is also the place where Wize befriended independent filmmaker Kevin Fitzgerald[?], who later featured him in his critically-acclaimed documentary Free Style, a Cannes Film Festival 2000 favorite. In the mid-nineties, the Good Life relocated to the Crenshaw/Leimert Park District where it was reborn as Project Blowed. Wize's rhyme prowess and stone-cold battle skills were first seen in battle circles inside and outside the Blowed, as he purportedly lyrically dissed many famous rapers.

Wize is probably best known as the winner of Rap Sheets' now infamous 1997 Rap Olympics[?] battle against Eminem in the finals of what would prove to be Em's last emcee battle. However, in an effort to blow up on the merits of his own skills, Wize refuses to use the victory as a stepping stone in his career and, up until recently, preferred not to answer questions about the battle. Although this battle was the end of Eminem's underground career, this was only the beginning for Wize.

Just prior to the Rap Olympics battle, Wize teamed with Zig E.S.P., another former Good Life emcee, to form the Footsoljaaz. Later, the Footsoljaaz merged with Blak Forest[?], a large group of veteran L.A. emcees, deejays and producers who were releasing 'You Are Now Entering...', an album on Rhino/Atlantic at the time. The Footsoljaaz released a few underground singles and began touring with the Forest. At the same time the legend of Otherwize, the battle emcee, was growing at Elements, a weekly open-mic club where he maintained a 90 percent winning ratio over a 3-year period, often battling as many as 4 times a night. After establishing himself as one of the best freestyle emcees in Los Angeles, Wize's reputation led to the recording of a couple of tracks with Dr. Dre in 1999 for The Chronic 2001 project. Although recording with Dre was a dream, the request for Wize to be more 'gangster' wasn't the direction he intended to travel. That same year, Wize was featured on the cover of SP Music Magazine[?] with his Blak Forest crewmates alongside Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, Visionaries and the Beat Junkies as the future of Los Angeles hip-hop.

Constant recording in 2001 and 2002 led to the development of several different solo projects including Disturbin' Tha Peace, an eclectic, underground classic which Wize has sold over 10,000 undocumented copies of to date. The best songs from those two years of recording have been compiled to create 'Hate To Be Hated', an accumulation of industry experiences and life lessons a skilled artist learns as he goes from ghetto to greatness. "Hate To Be Hated" is a cleverly sequenced day in the life of an emcee who's fed up with American society's infatuation with the bank account of rappers and not the quality of music they are creating.

In 2003, Otherwize is one of the most recognized unsigned artists in L.A.'s hip-hop scene. In the realm of rap, Wize has all bases covered: a merciless battle hand, lyrics that run the gamut from universal to mindbending, a distinctive voice, a darkly twisted sense of wit, a captivating live show, and a history full of street dues paid.



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