I actually wanted to write this one a couple of days ago. But after I saw that Adot reached out to Wiley and asked him to say his piece on her breakfast show on BBC 1Xtra yesterday, I decided to hold off and hear him out first.
For those of you who didn’t know, Wiley recently reignited an ongoing beef that he had with Drake a couple days ago, and threw Ed Sheeran into the mix as well. He did a Kanye by taking to social media to have a rant instead of, you know, calling him on to talk about it, or venting to a friend like the rest of us do. It was mainly all wild accusations about Drake being a culture vulture, which were made via Twitter. Hence why I’ve nicknamed him Wiley West, since he seems to be the current UK version of Kanye West, who did an even more outrageous rant on Twitter, also aimed at Drake earlier this year.
When I initially saw Wiley’s tweets, the first thing I thought was: “Wow, I was wrong about Nicki Minaj being a troll. There is a strange infection being spread around the music industry, and whilst they were recording Wiley’s single (yet to be released), she must have given it to him. Speaking of which, no one appears to have realised that Wiley seems to have accidentally kind of-sort of confirmed that Nicki was pregnant by tweeting “@NICKIMINAJ My label are telling me to wait till you’ve had the baby. I respect your (he meant you’re, God this irks me) having a baby but please tell your manager to tell the label your (FFS Wiley) not doing it.” Nobody seems to have stumbled on this? No one but me? Okay cool, just know that when Nicki Minaj shortly announces her pregnancy, I will not be surprised with the rest of you motherfuckers.
Anyway, my initial thought was that Kanye, I mean Wiley, was losing it. However after listening to The 1xtra Breakfast Show with Dotty yesterday, I can slightly understand why he feels the way he feels. But, like Nicki occasionally tends to do, he has definitely gone about it in the wrong way. He insisted that Ed Sheeran and Drake were culture vultures. Ed Sheeran, because of the grime tune he’s recently released with Stormy, “Take Me Back to London”, amongst other things. As Wiley went on to say, years ago Ed sang “You need me man, I don’t need you.” in one of his tunes. I guess Wiley took that as a jab at certain artists on the grime scene. I’m not too sure as I was only getting into Ed Sheeran myself around the time this song came out, so I’m not too versed on his past relationships with Wiley or any other grime artists.
However, Wiley touched on something that rubbed him the wrong way, which was that he’d happily worked with Ed on a song that ended up on Ed’s album. But when it came time for Ed to work with Wiley, his label insisted that he couldn’t do it. In essentials, Ed seems happy to incorporate grime into his own music when it benefits him, but doesn’t want to return the favour. I can understand why that would piss Wiley off, but I will say that artists don’t always have as much of a say in these kind of decisions as you’d think. Only a couple of weeks ago, I saw an interview with T-Pain on The Breakfast Club. T-Pain was telling a story of how he recorded a verse on one of Ludacris’s songs, One More Drink. Immediately afterward, Ludacris did a verse on one of T-Pain’s hits, Chopped & Screwed. T-Pain had no intention of charging Ludacris for the verse on his song, so was very shocked when he was invoiced a bill of $250,000 for T-Pain’s song. He contacted Luda immediately, who insisted that it was the label’s doing and that he’d call them and straighten it up. It wasn’t long before Ludacris had to call him back and say that unfortunately the label were putting their foot down on this one, and he couldn’t do the verse for free. T-Pain simply said that was absolutely fine, but that he too would be sending him an invoice for $250,000 for Chopped & Screwed. That was the first time T-Pain had charged a friend for a verse, and he made sure not to always be so generous with his verses going forward. So case in point: sometimes you can have a lot of creative license but when it comes to the label, there will still be some things that are just out of your control. Sounds to me like Wiley is just pissed off that he didn’t get his end of the deal with Ed. Which is fair enough, but I don’t think I would brand Ed a culture vulture because of it. Like Adot said, maybe Ed’s just doing grime because he wants to?
Drake caught a bullet because, according to Wiley, he has a habit of putting other people on his own music to ensure that he stays at the top, but he doesn’t really care about the UK culture or do anything that isn’t beneficial to himself. Now I don’t know Drake personally (unfortunately), but I’m confident that this is not the case. He’s been vocal about his love of grime music since I was in college at 17 years old, almost ten years ago. He was still a very successful rapper back then, but not quite at the realm of prosperity he’s currently at. Even Wiley himself pointed out that Drake invited J Hus to perform with him on stage, which looked like a win for us here in the UK. When Adot pushed him to elaborate on why that meant he was a culture vulture, all Wiley had to say was “where’s J Hus now!?”. Okay…but what does that have to do with Drake?
Wiley went onto say that he read an article that had the headline “Drake saves Top Boy”, and after making his disdain very clear, he said “There are plenty of millionaires in the UK, why did we need Drake to save Top Boy?” Now this is true Wiley. You are one of those millionaires. So, if you feel so strongly about it…why didn’t you? He didn’t have an answer for this either. And I assure that I, along with countless other Brits, am thrilled to see the resurrection of Top Boy, regardless of who it comes from. I’m literally trying to type this as quickly (but still accurately) as I can, so I can binge watch Season 3 on Netflix right now. And you know what, he won’t admit it, but I bet Wiley will too.
Where Drake is concerned, there have been similar accusations from Party Next Door, one of his artists on OVO Sound, as well as The Weeknd. However, I’m sorry but I just cannot have much sympathy for either of them. Their stories are pretty much identical: they had a few tracks which they loved, and Drake loved them too so he asked if he could have them. Which they agreed to, but regretted it later because they would have loved the songs for their own album. However, they both still simultaneously said that they were happy to have Drake as a mentor, and that collaborating with him was unquestionably beneficial for both their careers. Well I’m sorry, but then that’s your business. If my friend asks me for my food and I say yes, I can’t wait until she’s cleaned the plate and then say “You know what I love that bacon cheeseburger, and now I’m hungry.” It’s too late, I agreed to it! If I change my mind after the fact, it is my own problem. Therefore, I must suffer in silence. Yes, Drake might have used the work of other artists for his own work (with their permission). But these same artists are also using him, so the transaction is mutually beneficial. Not to mention, it is Drake’s own talent and his music that got him to the top in the first place. Let’s not forget that. Let’s also not forget that Drake is the biggest rapper in the world right now, who has consistently been at the top of the game for the last decade. So, can someone please explain to me why he would need to rip off our culture?