The smooth retro sounds of SWV don't play well to Wiley's style, and even a guest appearance from Skepta can't save this one.
After a two year break and a scrapped album (Snakes & Ladders), grime stalwart Wiley has returned to the scene with a series of lacklustre songs that fail to convince me that he’s here to stay. A lazy contribution to Lady Leshurr’s ‘Where Are You Now?‘ over the summer was followed by the unimaginative solo effort ‘Can’t Go Wrong,’ and now the imminent Godfather is shown to have more sedate confusion in ‘U Were Always, Pt. 2.’
Despite being named as a sequel to Wiley’s 2009 record with Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder due to its ever-so-familiar beat, ‘Pt. 2’ is almost a completely separate entity. Slow-paced lyrics don’t fit with grime – the sample of the heavily synthetic ‘Fine Time’ by SWV in the background is an amazing piece of smooth 90s R&B but it just doesn’t match to Wiley’s style. It feels odd and ill-fitting that he’s slowing his normal aggressive flow in order to accommodate the stunningly retro synth, and even the addition of another grime heavyweight in the form of Skepta cannot save this song from the garbage pit – once again, his opening verse doesn’t fit what lies beneath. Mix it to another beat and you’d end up with a typical pop breakup track – these words have no fire.
With Godfather set to be released in January, Wiley has some serious work to do with its remaining tracks. Though I can appreciate his attempt to mix up his usual style, this time it just doesn’t work. We can only hope that this isn’t the start of the grime godfather’s fall from grace.
‘U Were Always, Pt. 2’ is out now