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23 April 2009

Wiley and Skepta: Who Will Be Crowned King of Grime?

Joseph Patterson. From his guest article on Ministry of Sound's blog about the June 1 release of Wiley's new album,
Race Against Time and Skepta’s 2nd full-length, Microphone Champion.

You’ve all seen the ‘Get It Off Your Chest’ thing over there on the right. You know, the bit that says ‘send us your blogs’. If you haven’t, scan your eyes over to the right. No, not ‘Feed Me’, down a bit... That’s it. Well, Joseph Patterson is the first man off the mark to send us his work, and a fine blog it is. Join him now as he takes a look at the burgeoning rivalry between Boy Better Know grimesters, Wiley and Skepta...

Skepta, who taught the nation the Rolex Sweep on his Data Records debut, and Wiley, whose Wearing My Rolex featured on the Annual 2009, are two of the biggest grime acts to emerge from the ever-growing underground London music scene for quite some time. Both part of influential grime crew Boy Better Know, they have, with the help of fellow members JME, MC Frisco, MC Shorty and DJ Maximum, built an empire together, as well as a enormous reputation.

2008 was the official Year of the Rolex as both MCs stormed the charts with grime beats, witty lyrics and even joined forces to produce a grime version of the Macarena. The Bless Beats produced track, Wearing My Rolex, saw Wiley reach number two in the UK charts, a huge feat at that time for a grime act, which previously had never reached the top five, let alone number two.

The craze continued to grow as Skepta gave the nation the Rolex Sweep and its signature dance move, which saw the likes of Busta Rhymes and daytime TV presenter Paul O'Grady recreating the steps. Coldplay's Chris Martin performed his own rendition during a gig at Brixton’s Mass, and even Timmy Mallett got on the bandwagon to create the Boy Better Know Sweep Show.

Now, however, the strong bond between Skepta and Wiley is to be broken, as the two heavyweight mic men take to the ring and battle it out to see who will be crowned the king of grime. On 1st June both acts release their latest public offering; Wiley with his album, Race Against Time and Skepta’s full-length, Microphone Champion. It's officially war.

What does it take to be the king of grime? “King of grime? Ha, I am Grime!” Wiley insists. “If there wasn't Wiley, there wouldn’t be grime, so everyone else needs to seckle." Joseph Junior Adenuga, aka Skepta, also had his say on the matter, “To be the king of grime you need to be the best at DJing, producing and MCing. I started off as a DJ for my crew Meridian, back in the day, and everyone knew me as a big DJ. Then I started producing, and every DJ used to play my tunes. After that I started to MC and now everyone knows me as one of the best MCs in the country; so that’s why I am the king of grime."

Will record sales settle the dispute this summer?

Joseph Patterson is the self-styled ‘Hoods Journalist’ and runs his own J.P. blog. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to SUPERSUPER, iDJ, Mixmag, Dazed & Confused and many others.

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