Five Things That Make Wiley The Godfather Of Grime
Barker explores what made Wiley the Godfather of Grime and 5 things that got him there.
Wiley Kat, Eskiboy, The Godfather, The King of Grime, Wiley has been known by many names in his long standing career as a UK artist. But imagine if you hadn’t heard of him? Here are 5 things that anyone who is anyone should know about Wiley.
1. He Started Eskimo Dance
Wiley repeatedly referred to his music as Eskibeat and was dubbed by himself and other grime scene members as Eskiboy. Wiley started Eskimo Dance back in the early 2000’s, with the aim of getting ‘all of the scene members under one roof’, a feat he achieved with almost every member of the grime scene from Kano to Skepta being involved in the event. 2006 saw the last Eskimo Dance for a few years before Wiley bought it back in 2012 joined by the likes of JME, Jammer and more.
2. Work Rate
Wiley has one of the most notorious work rates in the scene, having been involved in it since the start. He has released 25 singles, 15+ mixtapes and unreleased tapes, 20-something music videos not including the hundreds of freestyle videos he stars in, been in approximately 4 groups (Boy Better Know, Roll Deep, Pay As U Go and Ladies Hit Squad) and released 10, soon to be 11, studio albums. Feats not reached by anyone else in the scene.
3. Grime Influence
Many MCs from the grime scene have spoken openly about Wiley’s influence on them both musically and business-wise. Notorious artists such as Dizzee, Ghetts and Kano have sung his praises about how he influenced them and guided them in the industry. He mentored Chipmunk and Ice-Kid from early and helped them expand into the scene, signing Ice-Kid and J2K to his label A-List and in 2013 a petition signed by 2,000 fans was presented to the mayor of Tower Hamlets that a monument of the MC be built in Bow.
Since ’96/’97 Eskiboy has been a big name in the UK music scene for both lyrics and beats. Entering the jungle and garage scene in the 90’s on pirate radios like Déjà vu FM and Rinse FM he DJed and MCed with groups like More Fire Crew and Heartless Crew before going on to help create Pay As U Go with MC’s like God’s Gift, Flowdan and Major Ace. After they split in 2002 he formed Roll Deep and the group had 30 other members in its 11 year lifespan and made a huge impact on the scene with former members going on to achieve worldwide success like Skepta, Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder.
Wiley has always had a no-nonsense working mind-set when it comes to grime, he’s been signed to major record labels like Warner and Virgin Records but has never ‘sold out’ so to speak. Even when he was doing more mainstream ‘pop’ tunes like ‘Rolex’ and ‘Heatwave’ he would put the money he made back into grime and other artists in the scene. He still releases free mixtapes like in 2010 when he put out 11 zip files for free on his twitter with over 200 unreleased tracks from the past, and is always supporting up and coming artists, most recently Stormzy in which Wiley said ‘he has put in the work to bring the sound back…Stormzy is the kind of good-hearted kid who can do that’.
Wiley’s new album Godfather is available for pre-order now on iTunes.
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