Fe

Wiley, the 'Godfather' of Grime, Delivers a Flawless "Final" Album

Not a single track on Wiley's 17-song rumoured "final" album, 'Godfather,' is poorly conceived.

It takes bold vision and excellent execution to marshal close to two dozen MCs and as many producers into a cohesive whole. That's just what Wiley has done on his eleventh album Godfather, which is rumoured to be his last.


If it recalls Kanye West’s powers for orchestral machinations, the comparison is not misplaced. The first single “Speakerbox” opens with a snippet from what might have been a recorded interview and finds Wiley asserting that “there's no money record labels can offer us” before opening the verse with the words “I know my name is bigger than I make out."

Brag-swag such as this is indistinguishable from self-aggrandisement, just as when Jay Z asks “what's fifty grand to a motherfucker like me?,” rhetorical in his case, but plain truth-telling in both.

Wiley in grime approximates to Jay Z in hip-hop by way of longevity and sustained respectability. But where Hov seems to hog every watt of limelight shone on him, Wiley’s selflessness and generosity to younger artists—in the form of free studio time, features-as-plugs—should continue to be lauded.

It would take bags of confidence to title a song “No. 1 hit” on an album called The Greatest Yet, but this, in effect, is what Wiley has done with his album's fifth song “Back With a Banger”—an actual banger, which knows it's a banger, and is happy to tell you so. It's meta with the biggest wink.

The one true love song on the album is the most unlikely one, and if it sounds like an endorsement for Apple, it's a brilliant one. But far from it, “Laptop,” is a genuine worship-song for Wiley’s most faithful companion, the MacBook Pro.

It's endearing to see the genre-inventor and iconic figure that he is, pledging fidelity to his tool of trade, rather than casually trumpeting his skills in using it. Even though he sometimes succumbs to that temptation, casually confessing to having “bare records on the wall, it was looking like a New Era shop." The tropical-feel of what must be a xylophone on Zeph Ellis’ trippy beat adds a great deal of warmth to the mostly synths and bass-heavy production on the album

Grime’s growth from an inner city curiosity to an arena selling genre has earned it genuine fans, as well as wave-riders who Ghetts takes pointed aim at on “Bang” when he snarls: “culture vulture they owe us / oh now they know us.”

Ghetts’ delivery is sometimes like a deranged see-saw, which rhythmic beats and song structures only manage to keep in check. This imagined curtailment is not needed on “Bang,” for the zig-zagging of the violin strings perfectly accompany Ghetts’ whirlwind delivery.

The many standout features here all deserve mentions which only few will get. P Money’s verse on “P Money Remix” is a gale of wind when least expected. His verses are high voltage, for which Wiley’s own solid bars double as stabilizers. Most impressive is the absence of any weak songs. Each one is better than the other by degrees and none is poorly conceived.

The brief period between release date and the publication of a review often means giving less consideration to tracks that take longer to digest. “Bait Face” with Scratchy and “My Direction” with Lethal Bizzle are are two of such tracks. Perhaps some new releases deserve two reviews—a first reaction and weeks later a more considered one.

Save for the lush R&B of “U Were Always Pt 2” featuring his chief protégée Skepta and Belly, there aren't concessionary songs to the uninitiated.

For the genuine fans, a majority of the starkly brilliant seventeen songs here are a bounty.

Sabo Kpade is an Associate Writer with Spread The Word. His short story Chibok was shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize 2015. His first play, Have Mercy on Liverpool Street was longlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award. He lives in London.

popular

Black Twitter's Reactions To Meghan Markle & Prince Harry's #RoyalBaby Announcement Are Too Funny

Congrats are in order, but first to Black Twitter for continuing to hold it down with the jokes.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex, have been the internet's brief moment of mindless, happy news since they became engaged, then married earlier this year.

Kensington Palace took to Twitter again this morning to announce that the couple will be expecting their first bundle of joy next spring.

Since the LA-native and former star of Suits made her way into the royal family, Black Twitter has had no shame sharing their hilarious thoughts and commentary, and the pregnancy announcement has been no different.

Have a laugh and take a look at some of our favorite reactions from them below.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

People Aren't Happy About Kanye West Visiting Uganda, Comparing Himself to Fela

The rapper is being called out for visiting President Museveni after his treatment of Bobi Wine. Seun Kuti also reacted saying, "the spirit of Fela Kuti isn't anywhere near Kanye West."

By now you've heard that Kanye West delayed the release of his new album, Yandhi, to finish recording in "what is known as Africa."

"He wants to draw inspiration from the earth there," TMZ quoted Kanye as saying two weeks ago. "I felt this energy when I was in Chicago," Kanye mentioned then, "I felt the roots. But we have to go to what is known as Africa. I just need to go, to find out what it's really called, and just grab the soil."

Well Kanye has now made it over to Africa, more specifically, Uganda. His trip follows a now infamous White House meeting in which he hugged Donald Trump saying "I love this guy right here."

Kanye was first shown in a live video from Uganda dancing to Mystro and Wizkid's "Immediately." The clip was shot and posted by Bankulli, who used to work with D'banj when he was signed to GOOD Music and now works with Mystro.

Kanye and his wife Kim Kardashian also met with Ugandan President Museveni. The President said he and the rapper held "fruitful discussions" about promoting tourism and arts.

Kanye gifted President Museveni—a man who is accused internationally of overseeing the torture and unjust imprisonment of musician and opposition politician Bobi Wine—a pair of white sneakers.

Museveni has called the reports of torture against Bobi Wine "fake news."

Apart from that, Kanye has been posting several periscopes of his rants. Many of them are titled "Mind Control" and the longest of them has him declaring himself to be the "the best living recording artist."

In that same video, Kanye says he has the spirits of Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and Tupac Shakur "flowing through him." Billboard has the full transcript if you really feel like your mind needs that.

Naturally, given his current embracement of Donald Trump and, in association, far right politics, many people aren't happy with Kanye visiting Uganda (or anywhere on the African continent) and meeting with Museveni.

Seun Kuti replied on Instagram writing, "Erm erm on behalf of the Kuti family , I want to state that the spirit of Olufela Anikulapo Kuti isn't anywhere near Kanye West. Ziggy Marley over to you. 🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂 Ebro come get ur boi before I #getthesax"

See some reactions below.





popular

Family Demands Justice In Killing of Unarmed Nigerian-American Man Chinedu Valentine Okobi

Black lives matter.

Chinedu Valentine Okobi, a 36-year-old Nigerian-American man died on Wednesday, October 5 after being tasered by police officers in Northern California, the LA Times reports. Okobi was unarmed at the time of his killing.

Okobi, who suffered from mental illness—according to his sister, Ebele Okobi, Facebook's Head of Public Policy, Africawas reportedly running in and out of traffic in Millbrae, an area south of San Francisco, when he got into a "struggle" with an officer who approached him, says San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Four other cops were called in, and one shot a Taser gun at Okobi as he was being taken into custody. Okobi was later taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.