Wiley vs Stormzy
Another in a long history of clashes that lie at the core of grime's raw spirit.
Drawing influence from the lineage of genres spawning from the late 50’s Jamaican soundsystem culture, where “sound clash” competitions were fundamental, grime has historically held clashes and beefs between artists as sacrosanct. Jammer’s iconic Lord of the Mics is testament to that – a series that saw MCs sparring bar for bar, its first instalment being recorded in the grime legend’s basement back in 2004. Since then, grime has evolved and reinvented itself. 2015 stands out as the year of the genre’s biggest second wind, catalysed by a grime war spearheaded by Chip’s viral clashes with Bugzy and Yungen. Thus, grime’s next phase, that of its greatest commercial successes, was built off of clashes. The new grime war that has unfolded over the past few months, climaxing in clashes between Wiley – grime’s undisputed godfather and Stormzy – its most successful commercial output, could point to an exciting reignition of the scene’s innate personality and energy.
The typically convoluted timeline of this one started with Dot Rotten sending for Jay1, before going on to attack a host of other big names in grime over the course of 12 dubs in total. Wiley got involved, ever the manic clashing veteran, dragging in a bunch of other MCs. A tweet asking Wiley when he would respond to Jaykae’s scathing ‘Shush’ response track was the start of Stormzy’s involvement, Wiley responding by mocking both artists’ collaboration with Ed Sheeran. After some back and forth, Wiley dropped:
‘Eediyat Skengman 1’ – Wiley
A lot of the bars here are lazy, generic assertions that he will always be the original to other rappers’ imitations. The most direct attack on Stormzy is: “You never cared about grime, you just used it / Worse than Ed with your watered down music”. Surprisingly, despite a response being nonessential for someone as successful as Stormzy, he returned with his own dub:
‘Disappointed’ – Stormzy
Stormzy didn’t spare any niceties, immediately getting personal by bringing up an altercation between himself and Wiley’s brother, before asserting that Wiley only mentioned his name in the first place for clout. He also mocks Wiley’s erratic behaviour towards him whilst bragging about his commercial success, saying: “Wiley’s a prick cos he loves talking shit then he sobers up and then begs it / I’m so big the only thing bigger than me last year was Brexit”.
‘Eediyat Skengman 2’ – Wiley
“If I see your mum down Croydon market I’m gonna rip that weave off her head” made me laugh, but overall the track is more of the same and just sees Wiley emphasising that he feels Stormzy hasn’t paid his dues to himself and other pioneering grime MCs.
‘Still Disappointed’ – Stormzy
The best track to come out of the clash. Stormzy employs Pusha T level savagery by presenting the embarrassing, pitiful reality of Wiley having moved his mum to Cyprus due to the threat of violence his past has imposed. He cleverly toys the line between mercilessly shaming and belittling sympathy in his bars – “Got so much money I want to lend her”.
‘Eediyat Skengman 3’ – Wiley
A decent dub, but Wiley’s itching to have more material on Stormzy is audible. He is made to spend bars disputing the claims about his mother and offers more flat shots about Stormzy’s image and legacy. It would seem grime’s godfather has officially gone stale.