Founder of the UK's Roll Deep crew — a grime outfit that counts Dizzee Rascal among its alumni — producer/MC/"godfather of grime" Wiley announced early this year his retirement from the mike. At that point, the British release of his Playtime Is Over LP had yet to drop. When it did, it was a fitting farewell, packed with rampant bravado over gritty backdrops of clapping beats and axe-rimmed synth bass, most of which were built by Wiley himself.

An evidently alien teenage producer called Maniac aids Wiley in big-upping the MC's London post code on the gurgling "Bow E3." Later the latter resorts to near-cheese horn stabs and hyperpaced verses on impressive outings "Stars" and "Eski Boy." Fans should fret not: Beyond this album, Wiley's "2nd Dub 4 Dizzee," on the Tunnel Vision 6 mixtape, is direct and vicious, with urgent strings that were apparently worth going back to work for. Expect more to come from the godfather; hip-hop retirement announcements are as reliable as a weather forecast.


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