The Weird and Wonderful World of Wiley: An Introduction


In 2002 Wiley scored a minor hit on the UK charts with "Champagne Dance" as part of the Pay As U Go cartel. Just over 10 years later, he can look back at a career that has seen him help define the sound of underground UK grime music, take part in its rapid growth and entrance into the British mainstream, make a number of crossover hits, and finally score a number 1 single in 2012.

Over the course of 8 solo albums, 4 collaborative efforts with Roll Deep, almost uncountable mixtapes, and huge zip files of music that he's leaked, Wiley, the Godfather of Grime, has constantly experimented, evolved, and attempted to innovate, whether that be creating his own "eskibeat" sound at the beginning of his career, or successfully making crossover hits with Mark Ronson and Hot Chip.

He may not be as well known in the US as Dizzee Rascal, but without Wiley, there would probably be no Dizzee, so take a bit of time and enter the wierd and wonderful world of Richard Cowie aka Wiley.

Oh, and make sure to follow him on Twitter, where the often irate MCs feed is a goldmine of arguments, commentary, and controversy.

Note: All the songs on this list have been officially released on albums, mixtapes or EPs. It doesn't include Wiley's instrumentals or his many unreleased freestyles and clashes.