The grime icon was speaking to NME at the Ivors 2019, just after he’d won the Inspiration Award. Looking to the future, Wiley upped the ante for his upcoming album ‘The Godfather 3’ – which is due for release on September 13.
“‘The Godfather 3’ is a really good project,” Wiley told NME. “It’s not dancehall, it’s more grime-led. I’ve got a fanbase of grime kids and a fanbase of single buyers and I’ve just got to cater to them both at different times. I need to sit down and work that out.”
He continued: “There will be loads of guests. I can’t tell you know because I’ll let the cat out of the bag, but it’s about who means something today. I could have done a grime album with my mates from 20-years-ago, but I made sure I didn’t do that.”
The Godfather Of Grime’s life story will be told in Wiley, a forthcoming movie announced by Pulse Films and record label BMG. It’ll be directed by Adam Smith and will trace Wiley’s roots as a performer on pirate radio and his subsequent journey to achieving global fame.
“The movie is really good,” Wiley told NME. “Everything is ready to go. They’ve done casting and little bits but I think they’re really going to hit it off after July. The film is really scary, because when you go back and look at your life to present it, you’re like ‘Oooh! OK!’ But I’m open-minded. I’m hoping people can relate to what I’ve went through.
“It’s going to be as English as it can be. I love the Hollywood thing, but that’s not my place. I’ve got to keep it like ‘Only Fools And Horses’.”
And who’ll be playing the lead role?
“We’re working that out,” he replied. “Maybe I’ll play myself, but if I get cold feet maybe I’ll play myself. It needs to be someone East London. Idris Elba could be in the movie and play someone else, but not play me. I’d like to do something with Idris on Luther.”
Wiley also paid tribute to his former friend and often rival Dizzee Rascal for his contributions to grime, as well as Stormzy for taking it to a level where he’s able to headline Glastonbury.
“I mention Dizzee Rascal, because between me and him we came up with all of this. I take responsibility and people big me up for this but it was a joint effort. One person can’t be a whole scene. It needs to be loads of people gelling off each other; a sick producer, then a better one, then another.”
He added: “Stormzy is my new inspiration. He’s younger than me but he’s the one who’ll keep it going on. I’ve nothing but respect for him. Maybe there was a time when I put out a project and earned a bit of extra money because he was bigging me up. I wasn’t asking for that. It’s not about money, but the way that he showed respect really helped me to go on.”
To end on, the rap veteran spoke of how he stays close to his roots.
“To keep grounded, I remember that I’m a youth club kid,” he concluded. “I came from there onto pirate radio. I didn’t go straight into the music industry and 17 and become a child star. I don’t know where they’ve all gone recently, but they were good for us. I don’t know how it goes with the youth club stuff for the generation today.
“The ones I went to might have shut down, but the people who run youth clubs are great. They just want the best for you, and they’re not your mum or dad. That’s amazing.”