wiley, stormzy, beef

Battle of the Bars, Peak of the Pars! Round 2!

In Grime by Cammy Thomas

Wiley Weathers a Storm
This ongoing grime war which began in 2019 and sent aftershocks to shake up the start of a new decade, simultaneously sucked just about everyone into it’s crushing epicenter, with some MC’s taking war season as an opportunity to cuss their opps or flex their metaphorical muscles on the mic against some veterans in the game.

Little did we know another madness was brewing that was to cause shock waves for day one grime heads and mainstream media. It all started with a seemingly innocent question directed at Wiley on twitter – “Are you going to reply to JayKae’s dub?” with Wiley responding bluntly, “Never, he’s with Ed (Sheeran) and Stormzy now”, and that’s all it took to reignite the hype of the most unpredictable and chaotic 21st-century genre created in the UK. What unfurled was a back and forth on twitter between grime’s godfather Wiley and man of the moment Stormzy, as Wiley accused Stormzy of selling out and not remaining true to the unfiltered and uncensored essence of Grime.

Stormzy responded confirming that he loves Wiley, but found him annoying and had given him nothing but respect. Stormzy’s response wasn’t enough to placate Wiley and he jumped into the ring for a new battle unleashing ‘Eediyat Skengman 1’ . Wiley spit heat over the biblical ‘Holy Grime’ beat, produced by Virgo, as he claimed Stormzy is not the same raw artist he observed on his come up. Wiley’s pacing on the riddim again sticks to the origins of grime and it’s a balanced dub as not only does he opine Stormzy’s music is watered down, he also ensures to big up his own accolades and achievements.

Unless you’ve already headed down to the bunker to hide out from the impending WW3 missiles, then you will know Stormzy surprised the whole scene and came back armed with missiles, not only aimed at Wiley but his whole family caught strays in the scathing dub ‘Disappointed.’ Although this dub was very personal as Stormzy went in, claiming that he boyed Wiley’s brother Cadell in front of their dad, and was lyrically brutal as a Grime clash should be, it falls just short of being an authentic entry in this battle, as technically Stormzy’s flow and instrumental were drill which did not fully test the lyrical gymnastics of an MC like a 140bpm (typically Grime’s tempo) would.

If it’s a Grime war lets have everyone on an even playing field, riding a 140 riddim. Stormzy’s reply was a possible disqualification in my humble opinion, but it did create a great debate on social media with people giving their take on whether you can fling a dub at your opponent in a Grime war with a track that is essentially drill. Props to Stormzy for the shock value and coming with a slick vid in under 24 hours.

Wiley’s reply ‘Eediyat Skengman 2’ dropped complete with video, with Wiley mocking Stormzy’s dance moves and tea drinking. Wiley attempts to silence the storm by telling his detractor “If I see your mum down Croydon market I’m gonna rip the weave off her head”, which generated headlines across BBC, Sky News, and write-ups in the Guardian and the Independent! A first for a grime clash in its 20-year history.

Wiley also came with a killer double entendre with the lyric “but Michael Maya’s / Myers, not yours anymore.” Wiley has always been an artist who enjoys being challenged by his competitors, the fact he came with a stylized video with this dub, displayed that he was prepared to level up in the quest to meet his challenger head-on. Stormzy’s fans felt lucky to get a response in the midst of his album signings and talk show appearances, but to get a 2nd dub from Stormzy despite his whirlwind promotional tours across the UK and the U.S was unprecedented, but yet Big Mike struck back with a vengeance, and dropped ‘Still Disappointed.’ Clutching a cuppa Tetley (or maybe it was voddy) with fiery shrapnel falling around him, while he bounces to Kano’s legendary ‘Mic Check’ instrumental, Stormzy unleashes violations by claiming, Wiley’s mum had to move to Cyprus because of the fallout from Wiley’s previous beefs.

Stormzy cusses the entire Cowie clan, as is the way with grime wars. Nothing or no one is off-limits, such is the power of Stormzy’s influence ‘Heathrow terminal 4’ was trending number one on Twitter for an entire day thanks to the bar, “One day there were dons at the door, then next day Heathrow terminal 4.” What some had termed as a misstep for Stormzy, by rapping on a drill beat in a grime war on his first reply, he addressed the constructive criticism and brought the ruckus, entertained us and kept it Grimey for ‘Still disappointed.’ To complete this arc of grime’s multiverse war zone (As I type there are still mini eruptions going off all over the gaff!!) Wiley released ‘Eediyat Skengman 3’ completing his trilogy of terror on Stormzy.

Glory for Grime?
With grime proudly basking in the spotlight of the mainstream once again, with extensive mainstream coverage from the likes of BBC and Guardian newspaper getting gassed about this galaxy-sized Grime beef which lured them in for a closer look, upon inspection the mainstream have observed clusters of asteroids colliding within the galaxy of Grime and it’s up to you to decide who is the guardian of that galaxy. It does not matter who wins the series of battles emanating from Grime’s core. What matters is the lyrical greatness we have come to know and love over the last 20 years is testing the dexterity of our favourites. And as a bonus, Grime has been catapulted back into the media spotlight, with Stormzy’s transcending celebrity, acting as a slingshot to refocus the culture of grime once again under the glare of mainstream media…and beyond.

For the first time in Grime’s history, it has now become apparent from the many American YouTube reaction videos popping up, that eyes across the Atlantic are looking in, and finally recognizing the genre is an art form to be taken seriously and not just ‘Some silly Brits pretending they are American.’ No! This is ours, this is our lifestyle, this is our culture, this is who we are, and it is entirely organic and Brit born (Flashback to Stormzy clutching his (very British) cup of tea in the videos for ‘Disappointed’ and ‘Still disappointed’ – Stormzy and his cup of tea, is a visually powerful statement without him having to say a single word. In making his cup of tea a focal point in both videos it says – I am British, I am proud, this is my identity, and I take pride in my nationality. But don’t get it twisted, Stormzy ensures you know he will verbally annihilate you and blast you to kingdom come, with his beast mode bars.

Not only has Stormzy’s current trajectory to world domination shone the spotlight back on grime we have to also respect the brilliance of the Godfather, the foreman of grime’s torchbearers – Wiley, the best opponent any young artist can have. Who better to test your lyrical flexibility than the nucleus of an entire genre? Wiley’s genius and influence continues to remain prevalent within grime to this day, earning him an MBE for his services to music.

Wiley knew that by challenging an artist who is also the media’s darling, would breathe fresh life into Grime and shake the table, and he’d get to indulge in his favourite sporting activities, being king of the wind-up merchants and exercising his lyricism in the training arena of clashing, combatting the brightest stars of this current generation.

With that said let’s remember to give thanks, respect and big ups to Dot Rotten. While many gave thanks to Jesus on his birthday as we opened our presents and chowed down on our pigs in blankets, we grime heads should also thank the legend that is Dot, for playing his role as instigator of grime’s creative version of WW3, unleashing a Christmas stocking full of rotten, stinging nettles ‘pon us all on Christmas aka CLART-mas day!