Photography: Day Howarth / dayhowarth.com

Wiley

  • +
  • Ms Banks
  • Rico Don
  • Wavey Joe
24 Kitchen Street 1/3/18

Fans are almost spilling out of the door for the appearance of WILEY, the East London rapper and Godfather of grime who greets a sold-out, pumped-up, hardcore room in one of the Baltic Triangle’s most exciting venues. Added to his UK tour due to popular demand, the 24 Kitchen Street show sold out in days, showing that Wiley’s ongoing relevance as a pioneer in the British underground music scene remains undimmed. Opening his set with Been A While, from his forthcoming album Godfather II, Wiley erupts onto the stage amid screaming fans who ricochet off the walls to his fast-paced delivery, proving he’s still got the ability to pen a current hit two decades into his career.

WILEY Image 4

Jumping from tasters of his early eskibeat instrumentals to more mainstream tunes (Wearing My Rolex, Heatwave), Wiley sprints through a back catalogue comprising 11 studio albums and multiple genre-defining tracks. The dirty bassline of 6 In The Bloodclart Morning has the room jumping, and Can’t Go Wrong causes the crowd to explode with energy, chanting every lyric back to him.

At this point in his career, Wiley could be playing sell out arena shows with ease, making this intimate show even more special. Famed for nurturing new artists, Wiley knows the importance of giving something back to the scene that nurtured him. This gig follows suit, with Wiley flipping the programme and bringing on his support act right at the end; a logical move when showcasing rising talent, offering MS BANKS a platform in front of a crowd already riled up and excited about the music on the bill. Ms Banks kills it: her set is short, sweet and packed with sass, and tracks like Come Thru and Bangs could confidently be named amongst the highlights of the night.

“Wiley proves he’s still got the ability to pen a current hit two decades into his career”

Wiley shares the stage with local rappers RICO DON and WAVEY JOE amongst others at the end of his set, and for us, this is something to be celebrated, especially with the rude health that Liverpool’s own grime scene finds itself in. Wiley continues to take risks, promote exciting new acts, and ultimately create experiences set to alter our understanding of UK rap music.

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