Thursday, 2 February 2017



Wiley - Godfather (2017)

It’s been a little while since we’ve had a full length project from Wiley, and it feels like there’s never been a better time for him to release one. With Kano and Skepta’s respective albums both receiving critical acclaim upon release last year the stage was set. And so comes ‘Godfather.’ Wiley’s 11th studio album and apparently the last was announced way back in May and finally it’s here.

Featuring a host of grime talent both around the microphone and on production duties the guestlist on the project is completely stacked. Skepta, Jme, Devlin, Ghetts, Newham Gens, Chip, P Money, Preditah (my mate), Rude Kid, Darq E Freaker and many many more offer their services. This really is The grime scene I grew up with and love on one project and it doesn’t disappoint. Firstly this is an out and out grime album, there is no other sound on this project other than grime from start to finish. That in itself these days is very rare. Both Skepta and Kano’s huge releases leant on other genres where as this is authentic 140bpm grime from start to finish. I think that’s a very interesting and brave thing to do, as well as a high risk one. I think it should Wiley’s confidence in his ability. Secondly it’s a particular strand of grime that I believe only Wiley is capable of. His mind is unique.

I wouldn’t even know where to start with picking out a few highlight tracks on this. Every single track has something so original and typically Wiley, wether it is his own ear for rhythms and certain instrumentation patterns in his productions or his impossibly funny and peculiar one liners in the verses. Wiley’s style is so rich and this album really showcases it. Even the concepts are incredible. Track 16 ‘Laptop’ is an ode to Wiley’s laptop, talking about how important it’s been to him over the years as a tool and all the money and music he’s made from it. A love letter if you will. ‘My laptop is a part of my brain’ is the line that stuck with me. It’s really sweet.

The promo trail for this album has been great fun too. A long string of videos for songs from the project that are simple, but have the wonderful DIY feel that a lot of Wiley’s early work did. The masterstroke came in the form of a video also posted to YouTube called ‘Handle Ya Business Freestyle.’ What is nostalgia for the older listeners is a history lesson for the younger listeners. He spits about earning his stripes and his bragging rights as the visual shows us a montage of archive footage of all the important historical moments Wiley has been a part of in grime. A great snapshot of his legacy and how instrumental he has been.

All in all it’s tremendous. It sounds very current and relevant but also has all the key elements of the Wiley I used to listen to ten years ago. He’s set in his ways and hasn’t strayed far from what Wiley does, but it’s tight, unique, fun, authentic and pure. This really does feel like back to basics and the Godfather’s palette is so rich, his basics run laps around a lot of other MCs final form. This man gave birth to my favourite thing on earth and this album is a timely reminder that Wiley started all this. Godfather could not be a more fitting name.

No comments: