Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Evolve Or Be Extinct

Artist: Wiley
Album: Evolve Or Be Extinct
Release Date: 19/1/2012

A competent fusion of both Wiley's madness and brilliance

Over the course of his last three albums, Wiley has revealed many boundary pushing guises that reside in his musical arsenal. There's the ice- cold gangsta grime MC of old, the man who can write potentially huge club bangers, and the joker who, at any given time, doesn't seem to take himself seriously at all. These are all pretty revolutionary pinpoints in UK grime in recent times, a genre that has always been pretty stagnant and set in its hard- as- fuck, stone cold approach. It follows that Wiley is the most overground but cool MC- he's the most talented.

Wiley, aka Richard Cowie, certainly realises that his "different" approach is a winning formula almost totally across the spectrum of music fans, and this is not forgotten on "Evolve Or Be Extinct." As ever, there are flashes of sincere brilliance here, for example Wiley's unstoppable flow on the title track, in- your- face lyricism and squelching, bubbling synths of "Scar" and the dark, paranoid and chiming synths on "Ya Win Some Ya Lose Some." "Boom Blast" is the kind of club banger Wiley has come to master, only this time taking a more minimalistic approach, with dark, low- rumbling basslines and bright flashes of computer- induced euphoria.

Then the boundary pushing starts, and in equal measure it's bizarrely bonkers and rather hilariously brilliant at the same time. "Can I Have A Taxi Please?" sees Cowie adopting the voices of various stereotypes and indulging in hilarious rants from each character. "Customs" is an ambiguous but well- written roleplay between Wiley and an airport police officer about the cons of smoking weed before going on a flight.

All the faces of Wiley- the brilliant, the mad king, the joker- make an appearance here, and all of them find themselves entirely comfortable in their own environment. It's the kind of thing that in UK grime, only Cowie could get away with, but that in itself is testament to the fact that Wiley is at the top of his game.

Download: 1) Evolve Or Be Extinct, 2) Ya Win Some Ya Lose Some, 3) Can I Have A Taxi Please?
For fans of: Skepta, JME, Dizzee Rascal


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