REVIEW: Wiley – On A Level.

Wiley has been bigging up his upcoming Snakes and Ladders EP for a decent amount of time now, and last night finally dropped a video for one of the tracks that will be included. The video, which includes an army of familiar Grime faces, with everyone from Giggs to Novelist, and near enough every member from Boy Better Know, is directed by Skepta, and quite ironically, appears to be filmed at Wiley’s big house, his very big house in the country. The video itself is uninspiring, and whilst being fairly well filmed, doesn’t have much to offer aside from a show of bravado and luxury from the team (though we’re not too sure about the Nike sandals-sock combo).


Nitpicking the video is a minor though, and Skepta does a fairly decent job at his directorial debut. The video does what it needs to do, which is give Wiley the platform to make his comeback.

Let’s talk the important stuff now: Wiley is self admittedly an artist caught between the money-throwing mainstream market, who fuel the production of tracks such as Heatwave, and the Grime fans who respect him as the Godfather of a genre. This tune, thankfully, is a direct appeal to the latter. The instrumental is reminiscent of an old school Wiley beat, but has modern elements which keep it fresh and relevant. There are a number of references in the track which highlight the fact that this song is a throwback to the Grime scene of the early 2000s – the chorus claims ‘I dunno what they told you but I’m not a mook’. This ‘mook’ references the insult that started the Titch and Dizzee beef which Wiley had to break up on the Conflict DVD.

There are further nods to his past, with the bars ‘still roll deep on a level’ and ‘I came through merkin’ Sidewinder sets’. This track clearly has retrospective qualities, but then Wiley has been successful in representing his modern persona and situation. He talks about his future plans – ‘tell a business team I’d like to invest’, whilst offering wisdom on the nature of being a successful music artist in the UK – ‘so if you really want my advice and take it/ try not to spend until you’ve made it/ just live within your means innit/ I don’t need to front coz I’ve seen it’.

This track is a strong Grime banger from Wiley, and feels like an honest release, which represents what his recent life has been like, rather than something released for the radio play. We’re looking forward to catching Wiley at Culture Clash in October, and hearing more from Snakes and Ladders.


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