Wiley Assumes His Place As The ‘Godfather’

After much promo and a very lengthy wait, grime’s most fascinating character steps up to present his latest in a long catalogue of releases that spans more than a decade. There can be no doubt that Wiley has had an fascinating career, he’s forged a genre that is doing better than it has ever done now, he’s had number one singles, he’s had plenty of beefs, he’s been tangled in many a controversy and he’s done all that while enthralling, captivating and capturing the imaginations of anyone who’s ever paid attention to him.

‘Godfather’ is an album that has an impressive array of features scattered across no less than 17 tracks. Across each track, Wiley sounds like an artist full of conviction, he sounds rejuvenated in an era of grime that’s healthier than it’s ever been before. Wiley has released plenty of music over the years but in a time where grime’s stature is growing by the minute, it’s very easy for an artist to get left behind if they lose their mojo. Wiley however certainly hasn’t lost his, in fact, for this album’s sake, he’s redefined it to include some of the same eski energy that made his legendary productions from the early 00s so revered, the spirit of Eskiboy is very much apparent in ‘Godfather’.

‘Can’t Go Wrong’ is exactly the sort of rip-roaring track that demonstrates grime’s authenticity and greater support, something that cannot be ignored any longer. With the booming bass and hard-hitting strings on production, ‘Can’t Go Wrong’ is not only an anthem but a sign of clarity. Wiley is widely known as a pioneer of UK urban music, however he hasn’t always been fully comfortable in his own skin throughout his lengthy career. ‘Can’t Go Wrong’ and the album as a whole however paints Wiley as an artist much more accepting of his own position as an icon in underground music.


With an album made an by an icon, it needs some equally as iconic features; P Money’s absolutely murders his verse in the remix of ‘P Money’, Devlin partners Wiley with real vigour on ‘Bring Them All / Holy Grime’, Ghetts’ seamless flow and bars are heavily prominent in ‘Bang’, the irresistible presence of Newham Generals & the unorthodox yet cutthroat President T yarn tales from grime’s “old school” in ‘Joe Bloggs’ while there’s a definite Roll Deep and Boy Better Know feel to this album with members from both camps scattered across the album, seeing all these heavyweight names feature surely shows the level of respect Wiley has gained over the years but taking all those features aside, when it comes to the man himself, it’s clear that Wiley has been on an eventful journey to be in the place he is now as the ‘Godfather’. Take ‘My Direction’ for example, it’s a track that themes his roots from grime’s early days when he was notorious for clashing MCs, Wiley has that warlord mentality, he is confident, he is fearless, he is a titan that fears no war, the fact he has Devlin, Ghetts and Lethal Bizzle, all MCs that have clashed with Wiley in the past on this album is a triumphant irony. At the same though, ‘U Were Always, Pt 2’, a follow up to the track ‘U Were Always’ which Wiley released back in 2009 is a wifey riddim, giving the album a softer touch. Wiley is also seen as a mentor, a guy who MCs can credit for them entering the grime scene so to have Chip and Ice Kid, two MCs he famously brought through on the Tim Westwood show on Radio One back in the day featuring on ‘On This’ represents a sly blast from the past, Ice Kid in particular is an interesting feature considering he’s an artist schooled in the arts of being as unfathomable as Wiley himself.

‘Godfather’ is an album with plenty of variety but that doesn’t necessary mean that it flows effortlessly from one track to another. There’s no doubt the tracks don’t lack quality but ‘Godfather’ isn’t the sort of album where fans will have an universal liking to all of the tracks, one track on here can easily reverberate with one fan but another fan listening to the same track may feel very different about it. As there are so many artists that feature on this album, you have to consider that tracks have to be right to their certain styles and not everyone is going to like hearing so many different styles in the same project.

Despite being one of most known faces in grime, Wiley is an enigma and a pretty emphatic one at that. His notorious penchant for not turning up to events or cutting his appearances at them short form part of his legacy in the game, he’s in a league of his own when it comes to his ability to be so unpredictable, you don’t know what his next move will be. Trying to unlock his mental and musical psyche over the years is like trying to solve a Rubik Cube behind your back whilst blindfolded, to say his career has been puzzling is an understatement considering the man is arguably grime’s answer to Where’s Wally. Considering he lives in Cyprus now and according to him, he’s reached the end of his career in terms of proving anything, perhaps it’s fitting that the album is called ’Godfather’. In the current circumstances, the album is alluded to be Wiley’s swansong in his career but then again, Wiley is a master of reinventing himself so don’t take his words too seriously. For a man who has been the centre of attention for so long, who knows what he’ll do next, I’m not even sure if the man himself completely knows what his next steps will be.

‘Godfather’ is available now to buy, go cop it.



Shellerz 2015 (Part 1)

So 2015 is almost over but what a year it has been and for grime, this has been a year full of positives. 2015 has been a year where the MCs have raised the bar for work-rate and setting the levels at raves, sets or on mixtapes. With the sheer number of MCs that have come through this year, the impact that they have all collectively made to the genre has been nothing short of unbelievable.

So to celebrate grime’s coming of age this year, I’ve put together Shellerz, a playlist full of my favourite MCs from this year dropping shells all over the place in their tracks. Expect to hear from both the experienced OGs in the game and the hunger of the new school who all did their part to make 2015 such a great year for grime.

If it wasn’t for the new faces coming through this year, this year might have been very, very different. A lot of the tracks that I picked are by guys who have had breakthroughs this year and these are the same guys who I expect to really kick on in 2016.

The playlist wasn’t easy to put together considering all the great tracks made this year. In the end, I’ve decided that putting all the selected tracks in one post would be too much, there would be too many shells fired and with the amount of lyrical skeng that would flying about, I don’t wanna be responsible for someone passing out because the vibes were too strong from them to handle.

So for now, here’s the first instalment of my playlist.

Kano – Garage Skank

I had to start this playlist off with an OG, Kano’s being killing it for over a decade and I’m not gonna lie, when I heard this for the first time, true to the name of the song, I skanked a little bit vibzing to it. Like I said, there are fans of grime all over the world and as you can see from the video, Kano had a large amount of help with it from people from well, all over the world. With Zeph Ellis on production, Garage Skank is definitely go-to song to get you out of bed, ready for the day or at night, get you in the zone for a night out.

Frisco – Fire Hydrant

Another OG and for me, one of the most underrated artists in the scene. While Skepta & JME gather the most attention from Boy Better Know, Frisco’s been quietly going about his business this year and on this classic instrumental produced by Wiley (who’s also a BBK member by the way), Frisco delivers the lyrical fire that makes him dangerous to underestimate.

The Heavytrackerz – TRKRZ (featuring Newham Generals, P Money, Stormzy, Big Narstie, Flirta D, Youngs Teflon & Desperado)

A bag of guys on this track but when The Heavytrackerz are on production, I know the song’s gonna be good, very good in fact. The flow between one MC to another is effortless and when one guy is going in, the others follow suit. The video for this isn’t too shabby either.

AJ Tracey – Spirit Bomb

For West London’s AJ Tracey, with his new Alex Moran EP out and a string of sets on pirate radio this year, this guy is the real deal, a certified showerman on the mic. For me, it’s good to see the future of grime is in safe hands. Spirit Bomb is three and a half minutes of pepper!

Izzie Gibbs – Swear Down

Another guy who’s the real deal, Izzie Gibbs sprays lyrical skeng. Signing onto the Dice Recordings label this year, the same label as Big Narstie (the guy next to Izzie wearing the bucket hat in the video), Izzie has certainly repped Northampton this year. Izzie’s all about high energy and high tempo and I can Swear Down, this one will have vibzing whatever time it is in the day or night.

Merky Ace – El P

If I could rate this track by the gas marks you see on an oven, I’d rate this at gas mark 9……thousand! Merky Ace is seriously underrated and you’d be foolish to underestimate him. Part of the Family Tree collective from London, Merky sprays bars of fire on a full-time basis. Here he’s not holding anything back, an in-your-face tune that riles up the inner roadman in any person.

Mez – Old School

Hailing from Nottingham, Mez might only be 18 but he’s got a big future ahead of him. Winner of Radio 1Xtra’s Next In Grime competition hosted by DJ Cameo earlier this year, Mez already has the flow of someone years ahead of him. Another one of the guys to look to in terms of high energy, high tempo grime, at times I’ve wondered how many cans of Red Bull this guy has taken before doing sets, he’s that hyper!

Dirty Danger – Badman (feat. Frisco, Roachee & D Double E)

This is a BMT, a big man ting of a tune. The beat is on point, the video is on point, the bars are on point, the old school dons on here know how to make a banger or two and this definitely classes as a banger. Elements of Ruff Sqwad, Boy Better Know, Roll Deep and The Newham Generals coming together to make one sick track.

Blacks – Study The Game (feat. P Money, Kozzie & Jammz)

To Study The Game takes skill and doing that means being able to handle a mic properly and shutting it down on a regular basis. For Blacks, the studying paid off and the same can be said for P Money, Kozzie & Jammz. See kids, Study The Game a bit harder and you’ll make it to the top one day.

Big Narstie X Show N Prove – Hello Hi

A wavey combination of the Brixton base farda and the catchy vibes of the Edinburgh producer on the buttons, Big Narstie & Show N Prove came together to make this tune. For the Base Defence League President, 2015 has treated Narstie well, performing at Glastonbury for the first time in his career and even managed to make a second career for himself as a part-time zookeeper the events he’s been at. All I can say is be prepared to take a few blows if you’re in a moshpit when he’s on the mic.

Look out for part two dropping soon.

Weekly Blog Reviews #2

I’ve been featured in a selection of blog reviews by none other than Opinionated Man. To be included and receive such a positive review makes me feel that I am not on my own here in the blogosphere. I’ve already started to look at other blogs as well, gaining new followers in the process. The moral of the story here, don’t ever underestimate the power of networking.

2014 In Review

So 2014 has come to an end. 2015 is here but the memories from last year are still strong. As a little something, the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for The Journal.

‘Dr. R’

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 420 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.