For years, British rappers were ridiculed in the States for mimicking our American hip-hop traditions. Recently, however, as they've begun to firmly embrace their own distinct culture, authentic UK hip-hop has blossomed across the pond.
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Wiley is the latest personality to break out from this still-nascent community, offering a unique and pointedly English voice over his own minimal productions on his U.S. debut, Treddin' On Thin Ice. Taking cues from Southern crunk, Jamaican dancehall, and UK rave culture, "Wot Do U Call It?" is a veritable classic track, quite possibly assuring his place in the annals of hip-hop history. Self-deprecating with a welcome sense of humor, he defines his genre-defying music by mocking all the names his listeners have labeled it. He prefers to call it "Eski" (short for "Eskimo"), but his music is far from cold. He finds kindred spirits in the now-ubiquitous, trance-inspired crunk sound, and were it not for the jarring riddims and out-there odes to rave culture, Treddin' On Thin Ice could easily find favor on American shores.