Release :: Wiley – 100% Publishing
June 30th 2011
Nick La Rosa
The undisputed godfather of grime music, Wiley, is back with sixth studio album 100% Publishing, in his most focused attempt at an album since… well… ever.
100% Publishing feels almost like an apology for his 2008 album See Clear Now, which saw Wiley attempt to capture the elusive English pop market with horrible dance drivel. While it did earn him a UK Top Ten single, straying from his grime roots seemed to lead him into a deep depression – a deep depression that can actually be viewed in a collection of rants on Ustream, where he disowns the album and yearns for unity and collaboration within the scene he helped create.
For the first time in his career Wiley has handled all of the production on this album himself. He’s crafted simple, spacious, angular beats, and his trademark cold “eski” sound has been mostly replaced by a much more colourful, upbeat tone – check the carnival vibe of ‘Boom Boom Da Na’. His lyrics are spontaneous; they seem to flow with little to no self-censorship, ranging from his personal views and experiences in the music industry to insights into his everyday life, such as a trip to the barber, or misplacing and then finding his headphones.
The production of first single ‘Numbers in Action’ is reminiscent of the Neptunes’ sparse style, and is Wiley’s best attempt in his career so far at crafting something that could appeal to the pop market while not totally isolating his solid grime following. Tunes like ‘100% Publishing’, ‘One Hit Wonder’ and ‘To Be Continued’ all showcase Wiley’s incredible talent as lyricist and producer. However it is the singsong quality of his one for the ladies, 'Pink Lady' that steals the show.
Sure, some of the choruses are a little tiresome, and some of the beats sound a tad unpolished. But it’s clear that Wiley has had fun with this release, and that he’s had the creative control that has eluded him for the majority of his career. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come and Wiley can continue to make music for himself rather than half-hearted attempts at pop domination.
Max Gosford hosts Low Motion on Wednesday nights – catch him on your wireless from 11pm until 1am playing things with rhythm and with bass, often at the same time.
100% Publishing is out now through Inertia.