Watch a rare 2005 Wiley interview about his dad
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Watch a rare 2005 Wiley interview about his dad

As problematic as Wiley has been over the years, it’s impossible to deny his impact on UK hip-hop culture during his career. Alongside the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Skepta, he helped build something that enabled the disenfranchised youth of 2000s England to have a voice.

Although grime hasn’t made it to the US, along with UK Garage, it was the most pivotal movement of UK music and is the foundation upon which UK drill has been built. Grime is not dead nor dormant. However, it is a sound that will most likely never make it into the mainstream.

Unlike hip-hop music which plays at around 90 beats per minute, grime plays at a much faster pace of 140. It chops and changes frequently and sounds too aggressive to play on mainstream radio. The sonics themselves are intimidating. Whether it’s the industrial snares or the loud unexpected impacts; on foreign ears and those accustomed to downtempo music, it’s brash.

Irrespective of who likes it and who does not, like G-funk was in LA during its heyday, grime was the de facto sound for London rappers. During his career, Wiley (who is often credited with the genre’s creation) has given many interviews about who inspires him and what drove him to pursue a career in music.

Speaking with Troy ‘A-Plus’ Miller, the founder of Practice Hours DVD, in 2005, Wiley (real name Richard Cowie) revealed that as well as his school friend DJ Slimzee, his father was a big inspiration to him growing up as he was a part-time musician who played in a reggae band.

Speaking to Miller, Cowie disclosed, “through watching my dad do music, and he was in a band, but then we had a little computer when I was young, a Yamaha CX5M, that’s old ’nuff man don’t even know what that is!” He continued, “He has so much musical instruments it just made me wanna do it. My dad was a big inspiration, but as I got older, I realised to do music is actually quite hard. If you got a job and you try to do music, and you got kids, it’s hard…he could have been much bigger, he might have succeeded, but he went through the life thing.”

In 2019, Wiley even brought his father to the Ivor Novello ceremony as he accepted his ‘Ivors Inspiration’ award. In his interviews on the red carpet, he acknowledged that his father gave him a gift by showing him how to make music from a young age. You can watch Wiley’s Practice Hours interview and Ivor Novello’s interview in the videos below.