Wiley (rapper)

Wiley (rapper)

Wiley 2005
Background information
Birth name Richard Kylea Cowie
Born January 19, 1979 (1979-01-19) (age 32)
Origin Bow, London,
Genres UK garage, grime, eskibeat, hip hop
Occupations Rapper / producer / DJ / record label owner
Years active 1997 - Present
Labels XL Records (2004-2004)
Big Dada (2007-2007)
Asylum (2008-2008)
Island Records (2009-2009)
Virgin Records (2010-2010)
Big Dada (2011-Present)
Associated acts Roll Deep, Dizzee Rascal, Maniac, A-List, Tinchy Stryder, Skepta, Pay As You Go Kartel, Giggs, Ed Sheeran

Richard Kylea Cowie (born January 19, 1979), better known by his stage name Wiley[1] is a prolific English music producer, MC and Recording Artist, and rapper with roots from Trinidad. He is also credited as one of the original founders of grime music, and has been active in the fields of jungle, drum & bass and UK garage music.


Musical career

1997-2003: Early Years

Wiley's earliest recordings date back to 1997, when he featured on pirate radio stations rapping over jungle beats. In 2000, Wiley joined with "The Hit Squad" a garage crew with his school friends DJ Target and MC Maxwell D. They achieved some success on the UK Garage scene and soon decided to combine with rival crew Pay As U Go to become a 'super crew' containing members of Ladies Hit Squad, as well as DJ Slimzee and MC's Major Ace and Plague. God's Gift, Flow Dan and Riko joined soon after.[2] In 2002 the collective achieved a top 40 hit "Champagne Dance"[3]

After Pay As U Go disbanded Wiley went on to form the Roll Deep collective, which included Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder. They moved away from a traditional UK Garage sound, and eventually found themselves creating music that would be termed Grime (music).[4]

From 2001 onwards, Wiley began producing instrumental singles on his WileyKitKat Record label. The most famous ones are the "Eskimo", "Avalanche" and "Ice's Rink". These led to a solo record deal with XL Recordings.

2004-2010: Solo Success

In 2004, Wiley released his debut album, Treddin' on Thin Ice on XL Recordings. Singles from the album include, 'Wot Do U Call It ?', a record questioning what name should be given to his music, and 'Pies'. Many reviews, including that by Pitchfork Media, made comparisons between Wiley and his previous labelmate Dizzee Rascal, who had achieved success with Boy in Da Corner the previous year.[5] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian noted the "comically polarised" fanbase Wiley had accrued; "At one extreme, its sonic experimentation has attracted the kind of people who run music blogs... [where] lengthy essays are posted on issues as the differentiation between Humean and Kantian views of motivation in the lyrics of Bonnie Prince Billy. At the other extreme, it is favoured by inner-city teens who appear to communicate entirely in an impenetrable mix of street slang and patois."[6]

During this period, Wiley occasionally referred to his music as 'Eski', short for 'Eskibeat' – the name he initially gave to grime. Also, Wiley released mixtapes under the name 'Eskiboy'. He explained his choice of name for his music and the continuing theme in his song and album titles such as Treddin' on Thin Ice, partly because he likes the wintertime, but mainly meaning cold in spirit.[7] Wiley was quoted in conjunction with his cold theme:

"Sometimes I just feel cold hearted. I felt cold at that time, towards my family, towards everyone. That's why I used those names"[8]

Many of Wiley's early vinyl releases, such as 'Eskimo', were released under the alias "Wiley Kat", this name was derived from a character in the cartoon Thundercats. However, the 'Kat' is never officially used by Wiley anymore, only being mentioned loosely in some of his songs.

In 2006, Wiley released his second album Da 2nd Phaze on the Boy Better Know label. The album consists of 20 tracks that have been put together by Wiley from the past three years, including exclusive bonus tracks from Gods Gift, Alex Mills and More Fire Crew, which is believed to signal the end of the Wiley-Lethal feud.

This was followed in by Wiley's third album Playtime is Over on Big Dada Records, an album which followed his eskibeat roots. Wiley's Eskibeat and solo material is managed by the Perpetuity Music Group. The album was released on the same day as Dizzee Rascal's third album Maths + English and includes a track "Letter 2 Dizzee" which calls for the end of the Wiley-Dizzee feud.[9][10]

In May 2008, Wiley found mainstream chart success with the hit single, "Wearing My Rolex". People saw this as him selling out. The instrumentation (such as the slower, house style beat and lack of sub bass)[11] caused some unrest within the Grime scene, as Wiley had previously vowed that he would never change his origin to break into the mainstream. In the same month, Wiley released his fourth album entitled Grime Wave, which was described by The Times as a "very pre-Rolex album. With its roots firmly based in the harsh, bass-heavy rhythms of the scene".[12] This album was followed by See Clear Now, in October 2008 which included the mainstream hits "Wearing My Rolex", "Cash In My Pocket" and "Summertime". This album took Wiley in a mainstream direction. Despite its success, Wiley has disowned the album as he was "very angry" with the label, Asylum, about the production and also unhappy about his management at the time. Wiley left the label[13]

Now on his own label, Wiley went on to make another album, Race Against Time. This was released eight months after his previous album in June 2009, on Eskibeat Recordings where he had much more creative control. The album includes the 2009 hit "Too Many Man", featuring Boy Better Know.

In 2010 Wiley released 11 Zip Files for free download on his Twitter page, containing over 200 tracks of old and unreleased music, including tracks from the forthcoming album 'The Elusive'.[14]

2011-present: Recent Work

On March 4, 2011, Wiley released "Offload Volume 01" on iTunes. It did not get a physical release and it was partially slated by fans for containing some tracks which had already been released for free on the Zip Files. The album contained many songs that featured Wiley's crew A-List as well as the track "Yo Riley", which had received some airplay beforehand. On March 6, 2011, Wiley released a song called "Bright Lights", which features Giggs and Juelz Santana. On March 9, 2011, Wiley released an instrumental album entitled "Run The Riddim Selecta". "Offload Volume 01", "Bright Lights" and "Run The Riddim Selecta" were all released on Launchpad Records. Wiley's highly anticipated album "100% Publishing" released on June 20, 2011 on the record label Big Dada. The album charted in UK Albums Chart at number 76.

On July 8, 2011, Wiley released a independent EP for digital download titled "Chill Out Zone". Singles from the EP, "Seduction" and "If I Could" were released in May 2011. Wiley has already announced his eighth studio album Evolve Or Be Excinct is due to be released on January 19, 2012.[dated info]

On July 25, 2011 Wiley released the radio edit of "Link Up" on iTunes, which is the first single from his 8th studio album "Evolve Or Be Excinct" due to be release on January 19, 2012. "Link Up" is produced by Wiley's new protege and highly rated Producer Nana Rogues and the official "Link Up" single is due to be released in September 2011.[dated info]


Wiley has always had a strong presence in the Grime scene and his music has often influenced the up and coming MC's and producers. Wiley has been a major factor at the early career stages of several UK Stars such as Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk. Wiley is often cited as the "King of Grime" also "Godfather Of Grime". Other Grime artists have cited Wiley as a big influence in their careers.[15][16] He has been a prolific artist producing several albums and mixtapes for a number of labels. His origins have often been a subject of his work (e.g. "Bow E3").

Record labels

Wiley has a number of record labels. In 2004, Eskibeat Recordings was formed by Wiley to bring young grime artists into the spotlight as well as release his own music under the label. In 2005 Wiley helped form the label Boy Better Know which is owned and run by JME (Jamie Adenuga) & his older brother Skepta. In 2009 Wiley founded A-List Records (A-List Music LTD.) as a new label to bring young talent into the music game.

In 2010 he also helped start a label Launchpad Records with two teenagers in which he released two single The Radio Kid & Joombi. In 2011 Wiley released a number of independent songs on iTunes under a new label he has formed called Elusive entertainment.



Roll Deep


  1. ^ Kellman, Andy (2008). "Biography". Allmusic. All Media Guide. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p638316. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  2. ^ "Pay As U Go Cartel website". Payasugocartel.com. http://www.payasugocartel.com/. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  3. ^ "Chart stats for Champagne Dance - Pay As U Go Cartel". chartstats.com. http://www.chartstats.com/release.php?release=29630. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  4. ^ "Wiley Interview 2023". Rolldeep.co.uk. http://www.rolldeep.co.uk/wileyint.html. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  5. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/8775-treddin-on-thin-ice/
  6. ^ Petridis, Alexis (2004-04-23). "Wiley, Treddin' on Thin Ice". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2004/apr/23/popandrock.shopping4. 
  7. ^ McKinnon, Matthew (2005-05-05). "Grime Wave". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.cbc.ca/arts/music/grimewave.html. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  8. ^ Clark, Martin (December/January 2003). "Eski Beat: An Interview with Wiley". Jockey Slut. http://www.xlrecordings.com/features/wiley-interview.html. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  9. ^ http://thequietus.com/articles/02930-wiley-eskiboy-s-dalliance-with-an-electro-dance-alliance
  10. ^ Thompson, Ben; Service, Tom (2007-04-22). "Word champion". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2007/apr/22/features.musicmonthly5. 
  11. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha (2005-03-21). "True Grime". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/03/21/050321crmu_music. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  12. ^ Elan, Priya (2008-05-24). "Wiley Grime Wave". The Times (London). http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/cd_reviews/article3976929.ece. 
  13. ^ Mistajam (2008-09-19). "Wiley walks from label – BBC 1Xtra". Bbc.co.uk. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/mistajam/2008/09/wiley_walks_from_label.shtml. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  14. ^ Hancox, Dan (2010-07-14). "Wiley's grime giveaway". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/jul/14/wiley-zip-files-free-downloads. 
  15. ^ "Music lyrics – Wiley". bbc.co.uk. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newtalent/film/musicshorts/music_slippin.shtml. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  16. ^ "Sound of 2004: Wiley". BBC News. 2004-01-07. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3363595.stm. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wiley (Rapper) — Wiley (2010) Chartplatzierungen (vorläufig) Vorlage:Infobox Chartplatzierungen/Wartung/vorläufige Chartplatzierung Erklärung der Daten Alben …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wiley — NOTOC Wiley may refer to:* Wiley, Colorado, a U.S. town * Wiley Kaserne, a district of the city of Neu Ulm, Germany * Wiley College, a college in Texas founded by Isaac Wiley * Wiley Rein LLP, a U.S. Law Firm * John Wiley Sons, a publishing… …   Wikipedia

  • Wiley — ist der Name folgender Personen: Wiley (* 1979), britischer Rapper Alexander Wiley (1884–1967), US amerikanischer Politiker Ariosto A. Wiley (1848–1908), US amerikanischer Politiker Don Craig Wiley (1944 2001), US amerikanischer Biophysiker und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Giggs (rapper) — Giggs Birth name Nathaniel Thompson[1] Also known as Hollowman Born November 26, 1983 (1983 11 26) (age 27) …   Wikipedia

  • Doc Brown (rapper) — Doc Brown (Ben Smith) Background information Birth name Ben Smith Born London …   Wikipedia

  • Kano (rapper) — Infobox musical artist Name = Kano Img capt = Kano Img size = 240 Landscape = Background = solo singer Birth name = Kano Brett Robinson Born = 21 May 1985 flagicon|UK Forest Gate, London, England, UK Alias = Kano Origin = flagicon|UK East Ham,… …   Wikipedia

  • Stephen Wiley — is recognized as the first artist to have recorded a full length Christian rap album with his 1985 release on the Brentwood Records label, Bible Break . (At the time, Wiley was a member of the crusade team at Kenneth Hagin’s Rhema Bible Church in …   Wikipedia

  • Frisco (rapper) — Infobox Musical artist Name = Frisco Img capt = Img size = Background = solo singer Birth name = Javan Morgan Born = Birth date and age|1982|12|30|df=y Died = Origin = Palmers Green, North London, UK Genre = Grime Associated acts = Boy Better… …   Wikipedia

  • D'Extra Wiley — Infobox Musical artist Img size = 150 Name = D Extra Wiley Img capt = Landscape = Background = solo singer Alias = Born = Died = Origin = U.S. Instrument = drums, Vocal, keyboards, sax, percussion Genre = Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Hip Hop,… …   Wikipedia

  • Ghetto (rapper) — Infobox musical artist Name = Ghetto, Img capt = Background = solo singer Birth name = Justin Juee Clarke Samuel Alias = Ghets Dateofbirth = birth date and age|df=yes|1984|10|09 Origin = London, England Genre = Grime Occupation = Musician Years… …   Wikipedia