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    wifisfuneral: The Sunshine State’s Rising Star

    Hailing from a region where rap is seldom lyrically poignant or introspective, Palm Beach rapper wifisfuneral has come to fill that void.

    Though the nearly 20 year old emcee explores familiar themes in his music (such as money and drug use), wifisfuneral’s approach is much more melancholic than celebratory. His most recent project – the twelve track mixtape When Hell Falls – is a musical testimony to his current and past demons, filled with fierce wordplay and grim production value that sharply differentiates the rapper from his peers.

    Regarding the current state of Southern hip-hop, wifisfuneral finds the region’s domination and influence over the genre at the moment “refreshing” but – in a respectful comparison to others – considers himself as the “Waldo” of the region.

    “I’m just the guy with the striped shirt out of everybody with the plain, solid colored shirts. I just don’t belong there. Like, I love it and I love everything that it gave to me. But I just personally don’t feel like I belong there. I personally feel like I’m in a completely different mind frame than rappers coming out of the South and that’s no disrespect to any rappers coming out of the South or any rappers that have come out of the South. I just have a different mentality.”

    Before later relocating to Palm Beach, Florida, wifisfuneral (born Isaiah Rivera) lived in the South Bronx – the birthplace of hip-hop. Although his father was in a rap group throughout the 1990s, Rivera’s true introduction to hip-hop was watching the “Mo Money, Mo Problems” music video as a child. Captivated by Puff Daddy and Ma$e “flying around with those puffy ass suits” and the video’s overall exuberance, Rivera’s mind was set in that moment that he was going to be a rapper. With an eclectic top five including Eminem, Lil Wayne, Mos Def, Biggie, and MF Doom (who is tattooed on the rapper’s neck), Rivera ultimately cherry-picked the most redeeming qualities from his influences and turned them into his own.

    He originally teamed up with his friend Gabe Guerra to form a rap duo entitled wifisfuneral. “We met each other when his best friend committed suicide and that’s where the ‘funeral’ part comes in place,” Rivera explained. On the other hand, the “wifi” – whose logo is tattooed on Rivera’s face – symbolizes the yearn for the music going universal. Guerra’s musical attention eventually turned elsewhere, becoming Rivera’s personal DJ under the moniker DJ Scheme; meanwhile, Rivera and the name remained.
    As wifisfuneral started gaining traction on Soundcloud, the rapper was granted the golden opportunity of opening up for one of his favorite rappers: Earl Sweatshirt. wifi’s fiery performance of “Surrrf” (which had been in constant rotation in Earl’s camp, unbeknownst that its creator was the tour opener) quickly gained the Odd Future rapper’s attention who commending him for his music after the show.

    “[Earl Sweatshirt] was like ‘Yo, you’re so dope.’ I thought he was talking to somebody else so I literally looked behind me,” Rivera confessed. “He was like ‘Nah, I’m telling you. Your shit’s hard.’” Despite being smitten by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of having one of his rap idols praising his work, the harsh realities of wifi’s life quickly began to settle soon after; however, an even more special moment was soon to come.

    “A week passes by and I’m broke as fuck sleeping hotel to hotel. And I’m just thinking that life is going to complete shit and that this rap shit is just not working out for me. And I go on Twitter randomly and I see that this nigga just co-signed on Twitter. It holds a very sentimental part in my heart and it’s like anybody’s favorite rapper coming to them and being like “Yo, your shit’s hard.” And that’s what I really appreciated about him. And he kept it mad authentic with me and he kept it mad real with me.”

    As a self-proclaimed “Odd Future stan,” wifisfuneral was extremely appreciative of Earl Sweatshirt’s public co-sign. “Me and him, we don’t keep in contact with each other much or at all,” the rapper revealed. “But I know there’s a certain level of respect on his end and a major level of respect on my end.”

    Following the high point of his career at that time, wifisfuneral began crafting his breakthrough mixtape Black Heart Revenge. The project – which features production Robb Bank$, Cris Dinero, and Henry Daher among others – is a diverse collection of hedonistic anthems (“It Don’t Matter” and “Love the Feeling”), apologetic tunes (“Yellow”), and introspective tracks exploring mortality (“Highway to Hell,” “Grim,” and “Life After Death”). Since its release in 2015, the mixtape has amassed an impressive 4.5 million plays on Soundcloud and brought notable attention to the rapper.

    However, despite its success, the project arrived at a difficult point in the rapper’s life. Battling a harsh drug addiction during the mixtape’s creation, Rivera suffered a series of overdoses. “When I made Black Heart Revenge, I went to the emergency room like four times,” Rivera disclosed. “I pretty much thought I was supposed to be dead and doctors were telling me ‘I don’t get how you’re alive right now.'”
    After a strenuous recovery, Rivera drew upon his experiences and channeled that energy into completing the project. Although death became a major theme in his later releases, the rapper revealed that his fascination with mortality stemmed from his childhood.

    “The whole mortality thing has been since a kid and it just played a bigger effect as I got older because I actually went through shit. But even as a kid, I never understood the concept of death. I never understand the concept of dying. What never sat right with me was, why the fuck do we even exist if like we’re just here to die? It makes no sense to even living. That was just my conscious and my everyday mental growing up and then it just played a bigger part because with that mentality, I grew up not giving a fuck. Because I was like ‘Bet, I’m gonna die anyways.’ And I’m here where I am today.”

    Following up Black Heart Revenge was no easy feat but wifisfuneral made sure to deliver with his latest project When Hell Falls. Reaching #17 on the iTunes charts (as opposed to Revenge’s #68 peak) and garnering positive reception, the mixtape was a major triumph for the emcee. In a difficult decision, he selected When Hell Falls over its predecessor, citing the mixtape’s stronger organization and overall “vibe” as examples.

    “You can listen to [When Hell Falls] from start to finish and have an opinion, as opposed to listening to it from start to finish and then being like ‘I’m just gonna bump these certain songs,” he explained.

    Since When Hell Falls‘ release, wifisfuneral has dropped visuals for its tracks “Antisocial Club” and “Hell on Earth” while also recently debuting a standalone track entitled “wya?” on Soundcloud. While secretive about his exact intentions and plans for the remainder of the year, the rapper vows to be on “some Wayne shit” by releasing a bunch of music throughout the year and also dropping a song on his 20th birthday (March 20th).

    As his final words before departing, wifisfuneral depicts a stark contrast between himself and other rappers.

    “I want the world to know that a lot of these rappers put on a big façade. They put a big imaginary picture of what they want you to believe they are. But with me, everything is 100% raw, uncut, authentic; right then and there, what you see is what you get. If you like it, continue on this journey and we gonna do bigger and better things. And if you don’t, there’s 7.5 billion people in this world and I guarantee half of them make music. I want people when they see my name and see my music on any platform, be open-minded. Listen to it. If you like, you like it. If you don’t like it, eff it. Whatever.”

    We’re looking forward to see what wifisfuneral delivers in 2017. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Soundcloud to stay up-to-date with his music.

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