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Playtime Is Over

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Album Review

Lest we believe Wiley settled with Big Dada as a last resort, after leaving XL and finding some dissatisfaction with the self-released route, the producer/MC opens Playtime Is Over with "50/50," in which he declares, over and over, that he has the best record deal, punctuating the track with "50...bumbaclot 50!" He also big ups Big Dada by name several times — probably several times more than any other MC who has been on the label. Across the album, there is not much advancement production-wise, yet there is just enough contrast that it does not make like Treddin' on More Thin Ice. The sounds are steelier and sharper, also lacking the cartoonish qualities of borderline-novelty tracks like "Pies," "Wot Do U Call It?," and "Goin' Mad." Beats that bob and dart hit just a little harder than before, heard most effectively on "Flyboy," where percussive jolts sound like rubber balls ricocheting off walls of an oversized racquetball court. The extra force helps bear a set of verses that is packed with self-assertive bluster, and though you can tell the self-proclaimed "Godfather of Grime" still doesn't take himself too seriously, it's good to hear him bulldoze through these tracks — especially since he declared well before the album's release that it would be his last as an MC, citing age, fatherhood, and apathy, as well as the fractious relationships and physical threats he has had to endure throughout the years. The small clutch of relatively sensitive tracks, all of which are structurally solid, indicate that he has no problem branching out, and maybe he's even capable of doing an entire album of straight R&B (provided he avoids the vocal booth); "Come Lay with Me" is 21st century Loose Ends, glistening and swelling with romantic bliss, sounding nothing like a track made in a studio dubbed the Igloo. If he should fade into the background and never record his voice again, so be it — he has never been technically adept and relies on character and the sound of his singular voice. Ceasing to make beats, however, would be some bad news.

Customer Reviews

What a grime master !!!

Really enjoy this album he is so unique why he doesn't release more tracks.... I don't know!!:(


Wiley is wiley, Lord Grime Master at his best.

Big big big album.

So Underrated.


Born: 19 January 1979 in London, England

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Quite possibly the key player in U.K. grime -- though he called his knotty, brittle style "eski" or "eskibeat" -- producer and MC Wiley (born Richard Cowie) came up as a member of Pay as U Go Cartel, and was later a founding member of Roll Deep Crew. Much of his best and most crucial early work as a producer trickled out as white-label vinyl releases and free downloads. After Treddin' on Thin Ice (XL, 2004) and Playtime Is Over (Big Dada, 2007), a pair of strong albums, Wiley made a controversial...
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Playtime Is Over, Wiley
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