With Grime becoming the Music of UK Culture we have been trying to get an interview with one of the OG’s in the game for a minute now after interviewing new gen artists and producers. 2016 is the year of the albums and as Kano, Giggs, Skepta and now Wretch 32 have all dropped their projects we are waiting on Stormzy and the Godfather of Grime himself, Wiley. Well out of the blue after responding to a tweet from Wiley, where the East London Grime veteran asked to be interviewed, we were lucky enough to get a one-off exclusive interview with him to talk everything from his new album ‘The Godfather”, His love for UK Drill Rap and his thoughts on UK’s Fashion in 2016. you are gonna wanna read part one and part two!!
After a lot of umming and erring on your part your 11th Album ‘The Godfather’ is coming, tell us what vibes we can expect from this project?
Okay, The vibes from each tune? Obviously it’s a Grime project like I listened to my first album before I made this one, cos its come round full circle type of thing, and the Grime that people like of me is what I’ve tried to give them, because in life there’s stuff they like of you and there’s stuff they don’t like of you, if you do all different Music, so what you have to do is you have to make sure that when people give you a sound or label you with something it’s you no matter what, you know like Timbaland has a sound, Neptunes have a sound? So I had to make sure that I gave them my sound and that is what I have done on this album.
In terms of features I’ve used my position in the game as an older man to call upon who is relevant to me and tried to keep the content real and about my life cos I go through stuff just like everyone else, the normal tings not just celebrity stuff, I don’t even like any of that shit!.
An album from Wiley in 2016 is like the icing on the cake for all Grime fans, will this expose you to a new audience and spawn a rebirth or will it cement your status and allow you to make other moves in the Industry?
Ahh Man! That’s a hard one bro, you know what yeah, I think releasing music is gambling, it’s the same as gambling, obviously if you have a record label and you get a big money push you can kind of know what to expect in terms of charting and exposure but whether or not the fans will love it? it’s still a gamble
With his gamble that I’m about to take, I want people to listen to the album and then leave saying to themselves, “yeah he’s the Godfather”! and then I’ve achieved cos you know what, cos I’m older and there’s a new generation of new artists and they’re sick, it meant I had to put on a display that can connect with todays’ fans, fans like what they can sing back to, they like a little flow that they didn’t know but now they heard you do it and they like it, you know they like all different things, so those are what I concentrated on.
so I really think the Godfather Album has to be actually that sick! if they say “Wiley that’s not the Godfather” then I haven’t succeeded and I will need to like go away and come back with something different and try and prove them wrong or try and better the last thing.
The Album is still a work in progress despite the track list being out, who isn’t on the Album yet that you feel should be other than Stormzy and Lady Leshur?
Errm I’ve got Leshurr now, cos they were quite busy man and I didn’t wanna mess about, I said if you can you can but if you don’t were still cool we’ll just keep working, so I’ve got Lady Leshurr and I’m gonna get Stormzy but you know what it is he is busy so when he gets a second I’m gonna go and sit with him and work that out.
I need to get Devlin, not just him but I need to get him and you know what Lethal B, he was on it any way he just hadn’t sent his verse yet cos he was busy, but then he rung me and said cool I’m gonna send it to you this week, cos what I tried to do is I tried to include the people that are relevant to me, like the people from back in my day and then a couple of the new dons, I was even gonna go out of Grime and try something different, cos you know this thing that the youts are doing the drill Music, 67, 150’s, 410’s like obviously I know its drillings but what I’m saying is they have actually created something, you understand what I’m saying? Like whoever is the producer of them riddims, they have created something like I was looking at the Drill Music scene and saying Oh my god that’s something different, the beat is doing something different, they spit on it a certain way, “at your door, in the four-door with the four four” like you know “ten toes on the opp block, make all your mandem run” Jheeze its got a style bro, so I wanted to try and get something of that on there but really and truly even if I don’t, I wanna try, like not one of the badman ones, like ‘wicked and bad’ where the 67 yout goes to all of the opps ends, you see what I’m saying like, I can’t do one of them tunes cos them tunes are a bit nuts, but I like the beat and I like that style.
Having come a long way with your manager John Woolf what advice would you give to upcoming artists about choosing a manager?
Right, listen to this if I could go back again I would have chosen one of my bredrins who was around me, who knows what to do, he might have been shotting with me or whatever he was doing and he had his head screwed on, yeah, if I could go back I would of got one of them, like still made him study or what not, go college do whatever you gotta do but do it and lets go and make some rasasclaart money.
Generally yeah you just need someone that is on your team, its good to have a team man its good to have a team so that you can get to the bread, not bare people but people that are in aid of you cos they’ll get theirs you’ll get yours everyone’s good.
Do you think the independent music route used by Stormzy and Skepta in 2016 is the best route for everyone or do record labels still have their part to play?
Well do you know what? This is what I’ve realised, like independents is the best way, I started independent so I do understand but like the good thing about being independent is that you get all the money, that’s not the only thing, the good thing about being independent is you can still keep the rights or own the masters, all the little things that will benefit you in the longer run. So it’s a good route especially if you’re established or you’ve been in the game a long time.
Over the past two years, online radio platforms such as Radar Radio & Rinse FM have massively helped to birth the new generation of Grime Artists. What do you think about the Mainstream Radio Channels and the way that they pick and choose who to promote and why do you think they don’t get behind the genre as much as they should?
I think its out of their hands now to be fair, obviously they still dictate what goes where and when in terms of playlisting but its nothing to do with them today its all about Youtube, spur of the moment, internet blogging, its very much about visuals today that’s what helps music and artists to blow I’ll give you an example of the impact Music today is having without the help of mainstream platforms.
What happened was I went to a hood rave and C-Biz is on and all these tunes that I’ve seen on the net but hadn’t heard in a rave, so I hadn’t seen what they were doing to a rave. Yeah bruv some of them tunes there are fucking up the dance!! Like that yout Abracadabra with his “Robbery track” is that shit like me and Flowdan if we hear that we are jumping up and down cos we just love that, and that’s why the new drill scene is something to look at cos I enjoy it and it’s a badman ting it is its not a dickhead ting some of them youts in there bruv ya know not always the rapper one but their mandem are there! They’re ready bro I love that shit I’m into that today and where did I discover them? on Youtube via Link Up TV, SBTV & all of the platforms that have been working away for years.
Eskimo Dance is another platform that has been instrumental in delivering an important outlet to the new generation of Grime artists, can you talk us through how you recruited your team and how together you managed to get Grime back in ravers lives?
At the beginning of Eskimo Dance, my team was made up of the guys who put on a show in Northwest London called ‘Mix it Up’ Ricky and Ingrid. One time I wanted to have a rave so I was like “Ricky I need to have a rave, like I see you having raves, you’re booking me etc I wanna hold a rave” so he took me to the venue and we started from there Eskimo Dance was born.
That was the foundation team and then as time went on and they were doing their things differently I decided I needed to keep move and focus on my Music, I mean we’re still good up to today. Then my bro Cheeky who does Audio Whore, he came to me and said “bruv you need to start up Eskimo Dance again, we need to bring it back”, I said “yeah” and he we went to speak to the people at O2 and they let us have it. I stopped cos I thought it wasn’t that anymore for Grime, but Cheeky brought it back
So the first team was drafted in North West London and the second team was made up of Cheeky who was always with me, and now we have now Lilz, Halima these are two girls they are very good they work with us and we have our host small darg and Tyrone, the team we have now are young and with the Grime scene, they get it.
Listen Lilz and Halima keep some shit together, we all sit down as a team and decide what and where its going to be but the overall plan is to make P which doesn’t always happen. You know what we need to expand and do something bigger and that’s sort of where we are now I saw Skepta do Brixton Academy 5,000 people, ram! that’s the type of ting that we want to get to, the team is agreed upon that we have had a couple of stages at festivals and shit, we’re just trying to expand that way.
Being a family man a business owner and a self-proclaimed studio rat how do you keep up to date with the culture and keep your new Music relevant?
My brother is one and internet, Link Up TV GRM Daily, SBTV and all the other ones, like there’s a couple of up north ones but mainly Youtube. If you just sit on Youtube, ring someone and they say have you heard my mans tune like J Hus and the new ones when you type rest are on the side giving you access to all the new music so that when I call up 67 it’s not just them it’s their features and their solos you know like Youtube has become like TV the way to see things instantly Youtube is the powers, anything you wanna know you can type it in, like there were some things I didn’t know how to do on my computer and Logic, you type it in and there’s someone telling you how to do it on there. You wanna learn to cook fried chicken it will show ya.
Part Two Coming Soon….
Wiley’s Album ‘The Godfather’ is on its way and we are super excited, we will bring you the pre-order link as soon as it’s available, for now, follow Wiley on Twitter at @
Photography: Ashley Verse