Wiley Playtime is Over

Wiley Playtime is Over

Ahead of the release of this album, Wiley has been vowing to retire permanently from the grime scene he arguably helped create. While it’s most likely a shock tactic, if this was to happen, based on the evidence of Playtime Is Over, it would be a bit of a shame. After all, aside from the wave of hype a few years ago, attention to the nascent grime scene has dissipated almost entirely, save for when Wiley’s former protégé turned foe Dizzee Rascal bestows a release upon the masses, and even his devotees would be hard-pressed to call his music entirely grime at this point. Wiley has also extricated himself from his ill-fated attempt to court a wider audience with his Roll Deep crew and Playtime Is Over finds him focused on the back-to-basics grime of his recent mixtapes. While Wiley’s strident MCing holds down the proceedings quite nicely, albeit without the compelling self-doubt of debut Treddin’ on Thin Ice, the real attraction is Wiley’s production. The self-described "Eski-boy” outdoes himself, pulling off skittering opener "50/50,” minimalist posse cut "Flyboy” and the stutter-soul of "Come Lay With Me” with versatile aplomb. Aside from bringing disparate sounds together, a sense of unity and maturity informs the album. Whether it’s the self-explanatory "Letter to Dizzee” or the title track, Wiley wants to leave the scene he pioneered in one piece. Whether that’ll happen, or if he indeed will stay retired, is debatable, but the quality of this album is not. (Big Dada)