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Treddin' On Thin Ice

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Album Review

Dizzee Rascal, the apprentice, turned garage rap on its head with his unorthodox programming, drunken-master cadence, and near-hysterical delivery; Wiley, the master, may serve as the better introduction to what can be a difficult export to understand. Garage rap's aesthetic of less-is-more isn't immediately appealing to a worldwide audience, while the heavily accented rapping and stark, lo-fi digital production owe far more to West Indies dancehall than the blues and funk that anchor hip-hop. (So alien does it sound that grime even inspired an embarrassing campaign among music journalists and bloggers to poetically convey the sound with words, first place here given to Sasha Frere-Jones for a description appearing in The New Yorker: "like arguments between two implacable robot telemarketers.") While an intrinsic part of the grime scene, Wiley is hardly inaccessible. He writes monster hooks which he then drives home with his stuttered programming, his rapping avoids the awkwardness of many British artists, and he shows as much personal flair as does Dizzee Rascal — a tall order, and one that can't be faked. He also balances his potentially volcanic personality with his role as father figure to his juniors in the scene. Dizzee Rascal and the Streets' Mike Skinner not only harness a brash and volatile sound, they also write material that accurately conveys their paranoia and insecurities. Wiley has advice for the type of undirected youth Mike Skinner often paints himself as, preaching self-reliance on "Pick U R Self Up," using the record's best production ("Special Girl") for an ode to the type of girl that attracts him (not just sexually), and inviting members of his Roll Deep crew to share the spotlight on several tracks. He still has a ball on this record, though. "Wot U Call It?" plays with the academics' endless game of one-upmanship over what to call his sound (perhaps intentionally, Wiley doesn't even mention grime, the leading contender, as a possibility). He's the garage rapper with something for everyone — East London attitude and tight productions for dance fans, as well as nonprovincial material and great beats for hip-hop heads.

Customer Reviews

Classic Album from the Eski-Boy

This is definately a classic as far as Grime/UK Garage full length albums go. Up front tunes like "What Do U Call It? (Igloo Riddim Remix)" and "Pies" go the full distance when it comes to hyped up/bass heavy beats that once ruled London Pirate Radio Airwaves. One of my other favorite tunes from this album is the motivational "Pick Yourself Up" track produced by DJ Target and featuring guest Roll Deep members and affiliates Breeze, J2K and the original badman Riko Dan! The Godfather of Grime and the king of the Eski Sound even has snippits of his productions that are now rare sought after 12" vinyl classics that Grime DJs love to drop in a dance. For those who want some 2007 Wiley bizness I recommend copping his album "Playtime Is Over" on Big Dada Records at an import shop since its not avalible on iTunes yet. For those looking for recent stuff that is on iTunes check out the Roll Deep Album "Rules and Regulations". Spread the word!!

Great music

Production values, lyrics, flow, guests, riddims... "Treddin on Thin Ice" has everything an ideal grime album would have. There are some that doubt Wiley has a big influence in grime, but those that do likely don't know of his background in the grime scene. Wiley was before Dizzee Rascal and Roll Deep... The reason these names are so big is greatly linked to the promotion and production of the one and only Eskiboy. And Wiley was one of the first pioneers of the grime music style, before it was even known as grime and labelled under 2-step, garage, or Urban, just as his song "Wot Do U Call It?" states. Just listen to the song samples... they contain rapping in double the time, with song subjects from Women to money to Pies. "Treddin on Thin Ice" is an essential for any electronic music listener, be it the experienced DJ or the rave dancer. Actually, in the grand scheme of things, it is an essential for any music listener, if they really want something... Real.

Bangin' tracks, pushing UKG to another level.

Mix Drum & Bass, House, and Hip-Hop in blender and what do you get? Grime. Wiley's the artist I love to hate but you can't deny that Wiley has blazed a trail for the new genre like no other. US hip-hop fans may find the style hard to swallow at first, but it grows on you and you will soon crave the Grime style. This dude can lay down some serious bars.


Born: January 19, 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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Treddin' On Thin Ice, Wiley
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Customer Ratings