Published Jan 13, 2017Finally embracing the nickname he largely disclaimed, Wiley returns with what could be his final studio album. On Godfather, the grime pioneer is lyrically nimble and confident in his delivery, trading sharp rhymes with a slew of guests including JME, Skepta and Devlin. Although he's dabbled in more commercial sounds on past albums, the beats on Godfather are a return to the super regional grime that Wiley helped create. And just as grime has matured and refined itself over the years, so has he.
On "My Direction," Wiley is all guts and cocksure bravado, attacking the beat with equal parts ferocity and ease. He shows his sensitive side on the velvety but despairing "U Were Always, Pt. 2," while on "Laptop," Wiley recalls his musical journey with the misty-eyed fondness of a recent retiree.
It's a solid effort, but at times the beats become so uniform that the project borders on tedium. Not even Wiley's dizzying rhymes can break the monotony of "Bang" and "Bait Face," which tread dangerously close to being the same song. But though the production lags at times, Wiley's performance overall is still a fitting conclusion to his groundbreaking journey in music. (CTA)