It is good to see that Wiley has taken a step back from pop and appears to be returning to his origins of emceeing and grime.
Originally Wiley was heavily part of the Grime scene movement and made a name for himself as an MC from London. In fact most people would agree he was one of the major influences in starting the game. With the new genre of music around he was extremely big in it but relative to Britain's pop culture he was still vastly unknown.
After his number 2 in the charts 'Wearing my Rolex' he released the album designed to be a lot more pop than his previous mixtapes and tracks.
Personally, I really didn't like the album and many people within the grime scene accused him of turning into the pop scene. So in 2009 he release Race Against Time to firmly confirm he was still in the Grime scene.
I really enjoyed the album an it had some really good instrumentals accompanied by good bars. It isn't completely back to his original freestyles and tracks with Roll Deep but generally is a good album. He has feature from other artists of the grime genre such as giggs and Trigga. I am glad to see Wiley back to his old form as it would be a shame to see such a good MC comsumed and turned into another mainstream generic artist.
Overall, If like me you've been a fan of Wiley even while he was underground then buy the album because you'll love it but if you're just considering it because of his hits in the UK top 20 you probably won't enjoy it.
Coming just seven months after his last, the London Grime artist Wiley released "Race Against Time" as his fifth official album in 2009. With his last, "See Clear Now" being one where he attempted to break into alternative scenes with some Pop-based material, this came as an immediate response to the streets to show that he has the capabilities to drop the same things he could as when he broke into the industry and was amongst the first to introduce the Grime variant to Garage.
Here you have him dropping into a grungy tune which has him apparently moving on quite a bit from the Pop material as he gets down to comes proper Grime stuff here to appeal to those who were immediately drawn to his breakthrough material from as early as 2003-2004 when he dropped "Pies" and "Wot U Call It".
2. "She's Glowing" (Remix)
Kano and Ghets (formerly known as Ghetto) are seen to work with him on this heavy club joint from the album, and is it one which does big things here as a popular jam from the album which shows the direction the more commercial Grime is turning towards as you see them taking on the trends of the US with auto-tuning on an electronic beat.
3. "Eyes Of The Lord"
Here you have a heavy tune from him, as it sees that here he does one which appears to re0introduce him as he gets down to something quite similar to the opener with its heavy, underground Grime sound on some of the most lively beats which you find on the whole thing as he shows just how strong he's flows can be.
4. "Hummer Activity"
You have him getting down to another freaky tune here as you see that for this one he jumps on top of some engaging beats which appear to take on a form which acknowledge the short yet, fairly diverse changes which have been made since Grime really emerged in 2003 as Dizzee Rascal (Wiley's rival) dropped "Boy In Da Corner".
5. "Off The Radar"
You see that what you got from the tune prior to it is furthered in some experimental production which you get through this one as it sees that he jumps into something which takes on a style which clearly takes on elements of the 2-Step garage movement (which became prominent ten years before this was released.
6. "The Olly"
MC Dream is seen to joint the artist as he moves things on a little by getting on some beats which move away from the Grime and move more towards the Funky House movement of the time in away which seems to bring back the "Wearin' My Rolex" material in his material as he directly appeals to the club scene with a catchy tune which will bring in all listeners.
7. "I Was Like You"
Things turn straight back towards the Eskibeat material where he is seen to bring back the 2004 days in his material with one which uses dark synth to drive it as he comes with some fly rhymes which really show the strength of his lyrics and how well he can drive it all with a hit which will take over the streets effortlessly.
8. "Race Against Time"
On the eponymous track from the album, this one appears to take on a form which appears to represent the general sound of the time with its general structure, and I felt that it was surprisingly effective despite this as he was still able to implement his originality in it with his speedy approach to rhyming.
9. "Too Many Man"
A club banger which was heard from 2008 is what you get here as Wiley gets into his hyped material, in which he works with other members of the Boy Better Know click in to act as an anthem to those who end up in the clubs and discover that there simply aren't enough girls to entertain the mass of men present.
10. "Where's My Brother"
Off the last one, this one seems to be a fitting tune to take things as we get into another of the popular tracks from the album as he shows more depth in his rhymes as he shows how well he is able to construct things using much more than the typical stuff with a mixture of simplistic and frantic rhymes here which keep you interested and connected throughout.
11. "Out Of The Game"
With some dark beats, you see that here you get a tune which has him riding a heavy bassline and delivering well in a style which you don't tend to get with many on here and so it really stands out here and shows that he is still able to deliver some street raps which will appeal to the people who were apparently neglected on the "See Clear Now" album.
This is another banger off the album which made a heavy impact on the radios as it dropped as here you get a fresh one which has him taking out all competition out there (possibly directing it towards Dizzee). I felt that it was amongst the best what you get from here and you really can't fault it as he goes in relentlessly.
13. "Zip it Up"
Here you have one which takes on production similar to what you find in "She's Glowin'" with the same producer behind it, and I felt that it made for a heavy tune which is bound to get listeners excited as he is seen to take into account the reaction of fans to do one with something which he knows they will enjoy as he lets loose with some humorous lines.
14. "Average Worker"
The high standard of the material is seen to stay here as he chooses to come with another burst of energy through this one, at a time when I would have expect him to relax things a little, but I felt that it worked to his advantage in backing up the main idea of the track that he goes the extra length in his field of work.
15. "Time Flies By"
Directly off the last, you have him showing that he is still restless for this oen with one which has him going hard with his flows to display the extent he is willing to go to move on from what came on the album prior to it. It is a hardcore tune and plays up to the trends of the time with more of the auto-tuning with a Dancehall feel coming through.
16. "Music I Like"
Ending things here, you have one which finally clams things down as he chooses to get down to one which has him swaying along with a slow two-stepper designed to allow him to really get into the mind of the listener when he delivers his rhymes as he gets a bit more serious as he talks of his passion for music in manner which is just as effective as the others.
With his last one being so experimental, I was very surprised by what I found with this one as he moves back towards the Grime side with one which escapes all of the risky material and turn sit back into the street material which many of his early fans enjoyed. With so many hype tunes here, I can't see how you can't like it as he keeps the spirits high with his unique style and raging flows. However, on the flip side, if you aren't all that into he club Grime, then this has little for you at all.