January 08, 2020
Two of the UK’s most successful grime stars are tearing chunks out of each other with diss tracks that open up the intergenerational tensions in British rap
Wiley v Stormzy: sparks fly in grimes generation game
For many of us, January is a time to reset, exercise, and get mind and body in order for the start of a new year. But someone who clearly hasn’t downloaded any kind of mindfulness app is Wiley, the east London MC and widely acknowledged “godfather of grime”, who has spent the first week of the year whipping up chaos – and directing it at Stormzy.
Top of YouTube’s trending charts, and generating gleefully mud-slinging discussion on social media, have been a pair of Stormzy-disparaging Wiley tracks: Eediyat Skengman 1 and 2. They mark the return of grime’s great sideshow: the hilarious pugilism of the diss track, where MCs “send” for each other with freestyles that mock their talent, success, family, friends, clothes, hair, trainers and obscure corners of their biographies. Grime fans will gaze into the middle distance like the historian Antony Beevor at the battle of Arnhem when you bring up such celebrated beefs as Skepta v Devilman or Chip v Big Narstie.
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