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Stormzy discusses Wiley feud in US radio interview

By | Published on Thursday 16 January 2020


Stormzy has addressed his ongoing beef with Wiley in a new US radio interview. That beef, of course, has resulted in verbal sparring flying back and forth in various new tracks since the start of the year.

In summary: He quite likes it because it’s part of grime culture, but he’s a bit tired of Wiley now, and the main recent criticisms made against him don’t stand because it was always his plan to have mainstream success and work with people like Ed Sheeran.

Speaking on Hot 97’s Ebro In The Morning, he explained: “To be fair, [Wiley’s] been [starting feuds with people] for a very long time. He started the whole genre, he’s like the literal figurehead, pioneer, sound creator, and that’s what he does. And I’m like the new kid, I’m the torch bearer right now. He’s a bit of a troll by nature, that’s not even meant as disrespect. He’s been trolling me for a bit, and we had a little Twitter exchange, and he done the grime thing, which is to go on record and ‘send’ [for me]”.

“I’ve always held him in the highest regard”, he went on. “As an MC and as a musician and as the person who started the genre and allowed me to have a career, [I respect him] 100%. [But] as a man, maybe not”.

Nonetheless, Stormzy agreed that Wiley was probably mainly picking on him because of his current popularity, and that ultimately his intentions were likely to promote the wider grime scene.

“To be fair, you’re probably right [that he’s doing it to promote grime]”, he told Ebro and his co-presenters. “And there probably was some good intention in his endeavour. However, for [me], not even in an arrogant way, I’m busy. I’m kind of tunnel vision ahead, and then – boom – you get a bazooka”.

Asked to deal in more detail with some of the specific insults that have flown back and forth this month, Stormzy refused, saying that “it’s all on record”.

However, he confirmed that he enjoyed putting together the two diss tracks he’s recorded so far, saying: “I had to [respond]. I’m super happy to have done that. And I won it. The heights I’ve reached, that’s like the chink in my armour, it’s always like, ‘He’s the commercial artist, he’s not real’, [but] naturally I’m an MC, I’m a barrer, I’m a sparrer, and that’s where I’m most comfortable”.

Wiley isn’t the only other rapper who’s been calling Stormzy out for making commercially successful music, and in particular for working with Ed Sheeran. On the latter point he noted “the Ed thing probably just cemented it, but I was getting it years before [I worked with] Ed”.

However, he went on, seeking to go mainstream, and working with more mainstream artists, isn’t a recent diversion, it was always part of the plan. And, he added, it’s because of what was built by the other grime MCs – including those now criticising him – that he was able to pursue that plan.

“I had a whole lifetime of watching everybody come through”, he said. “So your Wileys, your Skeptas, your Dizzee Rascals, your Kanos, down to your Chips, Krept & Konan. I’ve watched everybody, I’ve been a fan of the culture, so when I came in, I kind of knew exactly how to navigate and what musical decisions to make, and also what decisions to make outside of music. I’m kind of like a child and product of everyone else’s mistakes, everyone else’s wins, their losses, where they went wrong, where they smashed it”.

He added that it’s always been difficult for rappers in the UK to balance commercial success and credibility. But, he went on, “I was never willing to sacrifice one for the other. So from the get-go I said, ‘look, cut the shit, I wanna be platinum, I want number one songs, I wanna be here, I want my songs played out. I’m not trying to be on the dark corners of SoundCloud – fuck that. I’m trying to be the top boy. But also 100% I wanna be able to go to the ends and people be like, ‘yo, that’s our Stormz'”.

Watch the interview in full here: