The grime MC released ‘Godfather III’ today, which is intended to be his final album as a solo artist.
Earlier this year, Wiley clashed with Stormzy over what the former claimed was the co-opting of grime by Sheeran, with whom Stormzy had collaborated with on the 2019 Number One single ‘Take Me Back To London’.
Now, in an interview with The Guardian, the “Godfather of Grime” said that he and Stormzy are friends again. “We’re over it now. I’ve spoken to Stormzy, I’ve got love for him. I just wish he hadn’t jumped in the way to defend Ed; that’s the only reason it happened. Ed Sheeran, England’s golden boy – he can use you, but you’re not allowed to use him.”
Wiley collaborated with Sheeran on the latter’s 2011 EP ‘No 5 Collaborations Project’ but claimed that the singer-songwriter’s remix of ‘Take Me Back To London’, featuring new-school MCs Aitch and Jaykae, “didn’t sit well with me”.
“When he tried to put out that grime remix, I was like: nah, man, this is not sitting well with me. Because we’re not allowed to use you: you haven’t given a shit about us, since the time you started, until Stormzy came along. I don’t like the way that grime gets used,” Wiley said.
In response, as The Guardian notes, Sheeran said he had agreed to “90 per cent of the features I’ve been personally asked for, unless I’ve been on a break or I haven’t known the artist … You know I have a deep respect for the scene, and for you.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Wiley spoke about why he plans to retire after ‘Godfather III’. “Trying to be in the same field as the kids when you’re in your mid-40s is ridiculous,” he said. “No one wants to stop, but you have to be able to discipline yourself and not stop, but shift.”
He added: “I just need to not let my genre die on the way out.”
Wiley also addressed the fact that his creativity was stifled at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, in part thanks to the restrictions on travelling around.
“I think it helps your mind,” he said of being able to roam freely. “Because I’ve grown up with a council estate mind, kind of boxed in – so travelling helps. But, saying that, when you’re in the studio, you’re in quarantine anyway. At the start of lockdown, even though I was panicking, I realised this is how I’ve spent half my life – I wake up, I go on the laptop, I drink tea, I go inside a studio, all day, and I don’t leave until 10pm. I didn’t need training for this.”