Wiley – 100% Publishing | Album Review



For all of his many achievements, arguably the greatest accolade which Richard “Wiley” Cowie has attained has been to remain relevant within the fast moving world of Grime. From the early Pay As You Go days to the emergence of Roll Deep right up to his affiliations with Boy Better Know and the A-List, the Bow E3 general has always remained at the forefront of the numerous underground scenes, even when many of his former comrades and enemies have disappeared.

With a work ethic that could even put the greatest US stars to shame, Wiley has given the loyal following (as well as the mainstream newcomers) countless amounts of material to skank and mean mug to. 100% Publishing, his latest endeavour, again places the Grime Godfather under the spotlight and aims to reaffirm his importance to the 140 movement as well as British music in general.

Although currently at a stage where one would focus on the larger audience, the Eski boy still provides the sonic sounds to appease the masses of Grime followers. ‘Information Age’ opens the album with a chaotic beat meshed with piercing drums and trademark bleats and effects of the East London legend. The pulses then get a full workout on title track ‘100% Publishing,’ where the tempo is raised to create a head nodding, finger waving anthem which only Wiley can. With numerous flows at his disposal the Godfather of Grime puts in a timeless performance on said track, lyrically ticking off all of his accomplishments and still highlighting his desire for more.

For all his loyalty to the underground, Wiley still remains one who is ready to embrace more polished, made-for-radio formats of music and succeeds at times on his new project. ‘Numbers In Action’ is a clever array of drums and claps which the man in question gives a ‘Simon Says’-like delivery of slow and instructive verses. Even when embracing archetypal Hip Hop on ‘Yonge Street,’ Wiley still maintains his standards.

An appealing trait of Wiley’s to the masses is that when he’s not mesmerising listeners with double time rhymes and ‘bududududadadada’ bars, his lyrics are easy to digest and reflect the day to day outings of many in Greater London. The simple nature of ‘I Just Woke Up’ which comes across as an audio diary of Wiley’s day is executed with enough underground merits and intelligent wordplay to fully demonstrate how to crossover without losing its original appeal.

Take away the somewhat maniacal sounding ‘Boom Boom Da Na’ [which is spoiled by an unimpressive chorus] and 100% Publishing is a consistent album from beginning to end. Wiley’s ear for beats and his tenacity when performing again proves why he remains one of the best even in 2011. Whether injecting UK Garage vibes on ‘My Intuition’ or adding calming piano keys to break up the barrage of beats and synths on ‘Wise Man and His Words’ the UK pioneer knows how to orchestrate diverse and familiar material to certify his importance to any musical movement currently going.

Whether the majority gravitates to the murkier Grime drones or dives into the post-modern adaptations of Grime, much satisfaction will be acquired from a project devised almost entirely by Mr Cowie himself. Where the album stands in his forever growing back catalogue will be disputed, but what remains a fact is that even with a new generation of spitters, producers and crews emerging, the man who started it all still stands head and shoulders above them all.

Wiley – 100% Publishing LP
Released: June 20, 2011
Label: Big Dada
Buy: iTunes UK / Amazon UK

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