Wiley's Godfather album sets the bar high for 2017
It's almost fitting that Wiley is the first to unleash his album in a year full of potentially huge projects: Stormzy's debut, plus releases from the likes of Dave, Novelist, AJ Tracey & more.
Godfather opens with 'Birds n Bars' - a two-part intro containing production from Teeza and Preditah (the first of which is Teeza's remix of an old Wiley instrumental 'Bird Tune').
The sounds and styles used at the beginning of the album take me back to JME's stellar release Intregity two years ago (particularly Preditah's contributions on 'Birds n Bars' & 'Back With a Banger').
A soundbite of Skepta talking on his disdain of labels leads into the fourth track 'Speakerbox':
That's where we are right now, fam. And like everyone in your crew is just like, tunnel vision. It's family, it's what we care about or nothing. Like literally, there is no money that record labels can offer us no more, it's dead. It's just, there's no point
Following this the beat kicks in with Wiley's signature eski-style synths, this time through the interpretation of producers Mucky & NoizBoiz, who create a refreshing throwback to the staple sound of grime.
'Joe Bloggs' (ft. Newham Generals & President T), 'Pattern Up Properly' (ft. Flowdan & Jamakabi), and 'Can't Go Wrong' all keep the strong momentum going before the mood and sounds change ever so slightly on the second half of the album.
The energetic, violin bearing riddims take a shift once the tenth track 'U Were Always, Pt. 2' hits. Featuring Skepta & Belly, the song adopts the smoother R&G (rhythm & grime) style [sampling 'Fine Time' by SWV] which has constantly produced popular records in a genre defined by more aggressive, heavy sounding beats & (accompanied) lyrics. Part 2 signifies a nod to the original track (of the same title) which Wiley recorded in 2002 with fellow legends Dizzee Rascal & Tinchy Stryder.
In an interview with NME Wiley mentioned that he had doubts at times, in particular referencing when a friend called him up and said he "wasn’t sure he had what it took to make it in grime any more".
“It properly messed me up. It made me think, ‘S**t, if one of my mates is saying this to my face, everyone else is probably thinking it behind my back'."
Luckily Wiley brushed off his mate and decided to go ahead with finishing off the record and releasing it to the masses.
Throughout Godfather listeners are treated to Wiley's typical highly energetic delivery, double-time flows, and thumping beats. This is a send-off for the ages, with a plethora of grime legends making appearances here. The catchy songs 'Lucid' and 'Laptop' steer the record towards a close, before the epic 'P Money Remix' draws the curtains on Wiley's eleventh studio-album. While he's claimed that this could be his final project, we're hoping that isn't the case as he's certainly proved that he still has plenty left in the tank.