Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

CD review: Wiley has just released a grime masterpiece

Wiley's new album cements his status as grime's Godfather.
Wiley's new album cements his status as grime's Godfather.

By rights, grime should be well and truly dead, a musical genre consigned to the history books, like dubstep and witch house.

Someone, it seems, forgot to tell Wiley.

At the age of 38, on his 11th album, more than 15 years after the term "grime" was first coined, the man born Richard Cowie has made the genre's masterpiece, a five-star stunner that cements grime's blistering return.

On Godfather, everything sounds epic, like Wiley's pushing every dial up to 11 in the studio in a bid to assault all of your senses.

He's well aware of his veteran status. "I based my career on provin' myself to non-believers," he raps on album opener Birds N Bars. "My name's gonna ring bells to newspaper readers."

But Godfather sounds fresh and focused at every turn. At times, it sounds like Wiley's rapping from the top of a jet engine, ready for take-off. Listen to the sonic onslaughts of Bring Them All with its relentless brass bass attack. Speakerbox is all woozy synths and wrapped rhythms, while Can't Go Wrong makes you want to glove up and punch something.

With the tensest of beats and the snarkiest of rhymes, Godfather never outstays its welcome. It amounts to the most thrilling album released in 2017, and it's one that's going to be hard to top.

Wiley says this is his "final" album. If it's true, what a way to go.

Godfather - Wiley
Label: CTA Records

Verdict: It doesn't get grimier than this

- TimeOut

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