Album: Wiley

Treddin' on Thin Ice, XL
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

"Wot Do U Call It?" Wiley asks in the track of that title, parodying queries about his music. "Garage? ... Urban? ... Two-step?" None of the above, apparently: "It's not garage - I make it in a studio, not a garage!" he barks, annoyed. Those unacquainted with the almost Jesuitical category-disputes that dog the factious UK garage scene may be forgiven for not noticing the subtleties of rhythm and inflection that set Wiley apart from his colleagues - though, according to him, he has already suffered snubs from garage purists for the stealthy, staccato-string-sample style he has dubbed "eski-beat". The bulk of the album is given over to his raps, which cover much the same ground as those of his chum Dizzee Rascal: the biographical sketches of a teenage hustler trying to escape through music, to grow up and give himself a chance. There's the occasional moment of light relief - notably the new horizons in hip-hop materialism broached in "Pies", in which, alongside the cars and the clothes, Wiley eulogises

"Wot Do U Call It?" Wiley asks in the track of that title, parodying queries about his music. "Garage? ... Urban? ... Two-step?" None of the above, apparently: "It's not garage - I make it in a studio, not a garage!" he barks, annoyed. Those unacquainted with the almost Jesuitical category-disputes that dog the factious UK garage scene may be forgiven for not noticing the subtleties of rhythm and inflection that set Wiley apart from his colleagues - though, according to him, he has already suffered snubs from garage purists for the stealthy, staccato-string-sample style he has dubbed "eski-beat". The bulk of the album is given over to his raps, which cover much the same ground as those of his chum Dizzee Rascal: the biographical sketches of a teenage hustler trying to escape through music, to grow up and give himself a chance. There's the occasional moment of light relief - notably the new horizons in hip-hop materialism broached in "Pies", in which, alongside the cars and the clothes, Wiley eulogises about the snack food of the gods - but for the most part, Treddin' on Thin Ice suffers from the same navel-gazing isolationism that afflicts most UK garage. It's easy to see why this scene remains largely unexportable to even neighbouring London boroughs, let alone farther afield.

Comments