Wiley: Playtime Is Over
Big Dada

Fifty minutes and fifteen cuts (three tracks reprised from the 2006 self-released 2nd Phaze) of prime quality grime from one of the East London scene's founding fathers, Wiley aka Igloo-Boy and Eski-Boy, as the listener is reminded throughout (the ‘eski' sound is an offshoot of grime, named for the Eskimo Dance Raves Wiley piloted in the UK). True to form, there's no shortage of braggadocio on display but Wiley leavens it with dashes of hilarity (“Getalong Gang,” a gloss on Grime rivalries), sensitivity (“Baby Girl,” a heartfelt dedication to his daughter), and shout-outs (“Letter 2 Dizzee”). There are guest MCs and vocalists, and production contributions from Maniac (“Bow E3”) and JME but there's no question Wiley's at the helm.

The genre's blend of ragga, jungle, rap, and UK garage is audible throughout, as is its connection to dubstep (made especially clear in the instrumental hidden track). The words come thick and fast, with Wiley packing as many syllables into a two-minute track as possible. Wisely, he injects variety throughout: in “Slippin,'” his rapid flow is nicely offset by a slower chorus, Scorcher and Jukie Mundo join in on “Flyboy” and “Stars” respectively, a chirping female chorus provides bright counterpoint in “Gangsters,” Rachel's soulful singing and synth sparkle enhance “Come Lay With Me,” and a chiming keyboard line boosts the appeal of “Letter 2 Dizzee” (Wiley and Dizzee Rascal were in the Deep Roll Crew together). There's some hint that Playtime Is Over may be Wiley's last album; if so, he goes out blazing.

July 2007