Wiley has released his long-awaited album, The Godfather 3.
The East Londoner has had an interesting past year, igniting feuds with some of the industry’s most prominent MCs as he continued to lay claim to his title as The Godfather of Grime. Placing Stormzy in his crosshairs earlier this year, the 41-year-old MC sought to reignite the grime scene’s energy with a hard-nosed clash, even taking aim at bigger industry names like Drake and Ed Sheeran in the process. As he continued to unleash a variety of new tracks over the past six months, Wiley finally confirmed The Godfather 3’s release in May following nearly two years of teasing and pushbacks.
Delivering 22 brand new tracks, the new project marks the 13th studio album from the East London MC. While no features are credited on the album, the third installment of Wiley’s The Godfather series sees contributions from the likes of D Double E, Blay Vision, Realz, Jammz, Capo Lee, Flowdan, Tempa T, Big Zuu, and many more. Across the project, he continues his ear-to-the-ground approach to the scene, emphasizing his architectural “eskibeat” sound with the assistance of production talent like Mr. Virigo, Dizzee Rascal, Mazza, Swifta, Zdot, Dexplicit, Donae’O, and Maniac.
Commemorating the release of the album, Wiley spoke with The Guardian’s Dan Hancox about The Godfather 3, also touching base on his feud with Stormzy, further announcing his retirement.
“We’re over it now,” Wiley said about his feud with Stormzy. “I’ve spoken to Stormzy, I’ve got love for him. I just wish he hadn’t jumped in the way to defend Ed; that’s the only reason it happened. Ed Sheeran, England’s golden boy – he can use you, but you’re not allowed to use him.”
In talking about the dissonance between the industry and the grime scene, Wiley said “I’m trying to help.” He continued, “Some of the stuff I do seems like nothing at the time, but then when a star comes from it you’ll realize. The people in the top of grime, they don’t even wanna be grime, do they? They wanna be hip-hop! So this is the perfect time to work with new MCs who love grime, because I’m on my way out.”
The MC also announced that he was retiring, potentially his nearly two-decade-long career. “I’m 41,” he said. “I don’t want to try and fit in with kids. I just need to not let my genre die on the way out [...] If I’m the last one left doing it, and it’s so dead and it’s so washed, then that tells you the f*cking truth about the genre,” he laughs. “I am grime!”
This isn’t the first time the pioneer has announced his retirement, however. In 2017, Wiley noted that The Godfather would be his swan song. Two albums following the 2017 record, however, his signature energy remains wholly intact.
You can listen to The Godfather 3 below.
Elsewhere in music, stream Drakeo the Ruler’s new project Thank You For Using GHL.