WILEY | LIVE REVIEW
Y Plas, Cardiff University Students Union, Sun 5 Feb
A rare Cardiff appearance from an artist who was present at the founding of the genre he performs in. Grime sprang from garage and dancehall origins and Wiley, arguably more than any other figure, helped transform the scene into what it is today. The proclaimed Godfather of the industry stands alongside other iconic British MCs such as Skepta in creating the gritty music that represents the environment in which they live. This representation of harsh realities hasn’t always been accepted in mainstream culture; however, we now live in a new age in which grime MCs top charts and sell out arenas.
Wiley has just released his 11th studio album, titled Godfather, and is touring the UK at the age of 38. Godfather acts as a retrospective to the origins of grime, especially in its production. As part of the tour, Wiley visited our Welsh capital for the first time in years. It was a wildly energetic performance from both Wiley himself and his deep backlog of supporting artists.
The veteran was preceded by President T, also a stalwart of grime and an original member of the Meridian Crew. Local grime/punk collective Astroid Boys’ own eclectic sound, meanwhile, incited the Welsh crowd into wilful anarchy. A number of other local MCs took the stage and continued to milk the crowd, with a notable performance from MC Mace.
Clearly, the Godfather is attempting to bring grime back to its roots with the music he is producing at the moment. Tracks like Back With A Banger literally speak out for the return of wavy basslines, garage level BPM and aggressive lyricism – much like the days of Lord Of The Mics and Nokia 3310s. The difference now is that Wiley (along with other MCs) has the platform to perform the music that truly reflects grime’s definitive sound: “When it’s straight from the heart you can’t go wrong / If it’s a real vibe, you can’t go wrong.” When you witness Wiley perform you can see the passion that he has for the genre he helped to create.
words CAMPBELL PROSSER photos NATHAN ROACH