Recently, Noisey did a pretty dope feature (that the author has a bit of a fine time trying to get done, apparently) on Wiley in lieu of his forthcoming album Godfather…within, the Godfather of Grime speaks pretty candidly on several different issues, including his latest claim of retirement, recent releases from his peers (namely, Skepta and Kano), Boy Better Know and much more.
I was hoping to see you at Skepta’s show at Ally Pally last month. It was weird hearing your verse on the backing track.
Don’t do that, man, don’t do that. You’re killing me. You know it’s really funny because look, I wanted to be at Skepta’s show but I didn’t make it there, and the mad thing is when we talk about these things like, “Why wasn’t he there?” or “Why wasn’t you there?” – as much as it’s a fair question – it can sometimes cause hassle. I wanted to be there too, and – you know what it is – I just wasn’t there because I’ve got older and, you know, I’m a parent. When I was young I used to go and do whatever I needed to do. As I’ve got older I’ve slowed down a bit, and sometimes just not gone out there – that’s all.
What do you think of the big grime albums of last year? Are you a fan of Konnichiwa and Made in the Manor?
Listen, I think Konnichiwa is the right album for what this guy [Skepta] was trying to do and where he was trying to sell it. That’s what I’ve learned from listening to that record. I think Made in the Manor was the wrong album to be made by him [Kano] at a time when grime was in fashion. It was a good Damon Albarn album in the first place, to be fair. Why do I know that? I like Damon Albarn. You know what I’m saying? I’m happy for him and all the success, but that was the wrong album to be made in this time by that artist. If grime is in and it’s popping, and you can see Stormzy and anyone else bringing it back, and you’re so good at it, you could have just given a fifteen track grime classic to follow up Home Sweet Home.
Is The Godfather a grime album then?
It could only be. I can’t call myself the ‘Godfather of grime’ and then make an album that’s got two grime tracks and the rest is Damon Albarn. They’re going to say I’m not. The thing is, if you listen to what’s going on at the moment there isn’t actually a barrage of grime out there. There’s a lot of stuff that’s between grime, trap, whatever it is, which I’m not dissing – I love it. So, yeah, no disrespect. Made in the Manor is actually sick, sonically and all the rest of it. It was just the wrong record to be made by that artist at this time.
Do you have an age in mind where you think you’ll stop?
This is my last album, in theory. You know, Wiley the brand, you’re not going to see me trying to cane the arse out of tens of Wileys, you will not. I’ll always use my money to do other, smart things. Like, I’m never going to just be like trying to squeeze money out of stuff. I’m always gonna be trying to do different things and properties and more properties. Shit like that can keep you and your family and brothers and sisters going when you’re older.