Album Review: Wiley – Godfather

A true celebration of grime from the genre’s very own founder.

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Wiley’s career as an artist has been one of incredible feats. He took on grime, a genre that was nothing when he started, and managed to expand it so greatly that it is now the most important genre in UK music right now. His latest release Godfather, rumoured to be his last album, is a wonderful celebration of grime’s current status and serves as a reminder of what Wiley has achieved, with a handful of guest appearances from the genres biggest names.

Originally set for release in September 2016, the rapper’s 11th studio album kickstarts with a shoutout to world dominating grime crew Boy Better Know in song Birds n Bars, a six minute statement of intent, explaining his position at the top of grime’s family tree.

Bring Them All / Holy Grime is a hugely important song in the history of grime. Collaborating with Devlin, it sees the two artists finally making up following a history of arguments. Shout outs to George Best alongside other football puns make the song one of the best on the album.

Skepta introduces track Speakerbox, a hard, fast flowing reminder that Grime is the world leading genre at the moment in the UK. The track explains the rise of Wiley from the beginning to where he is now and has some musical similarity with huge hit Heatwave. Line “Not everyone’s gonna be the boss” confirms Wiley’s position at the top. Skepta’s outro is vitally important for the record, explaining how grime now needs to forget about numbers of sales and work out a plan to dominate the world, starting with America.

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Joe Bloggs sees the rapper team up with legends of the genre, Newham Generals and President T, on a track about their status as the veterans of Grime. With callouts to old school hip-hop group Blazing Squad and 2pac, the song highlights their journey through the years and includes humorous shoutouts to the younger MC’s in the genre.

Standout track Can’t Go Wrong is a powerfully driven song with heavy synths and bass. The track is a reminder to stay true to yourself and calls out to Boy Better Know and the successes they’ve had so far. “When It’s straight from the heart, you can’t go wrong” is Wiley’s belief that success comes from the people that stay true to themselves as an artist.

On This sees Wiley in full confidence with line “Name won’t die out / I proved my point at the try-outs,” a reminder that he will remain a legend for the genre. Additionally, the track sees another confrontational verse from Chip (formally Chipmunk), one which continues his long going spat with various rappers in the UK scene.

Towards the end of the record, Wiley pays ode to his laptop as the device that made him famous on song Laptop whilst closing song is gangster rap at its best with song P Money Remix. Heavy, fast flowing verses bouncing between Wiley and P Money create an emphatic ending.

If this is the final album from Wiley’s incredible career, it will be one of the most talked about as it emphasises the rapper’s rise from his beginnings to now whilst incorporating some of the best grime talent in the country. It’s an album that has fully cemented grime’s status in UK music and now it has to find away to continue this rise, by breaking America.

9/10

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