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Wiley - See Clear Now

Wiley, See Clear Now

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

RAPPER, producer and MC Wiley finally unveils his new album See Clear Now off the back of massive expectation. Wearing My Rolex was a massive summer anthem for him, while subsequent hit singles Summertime and Cash In My Pocket merely heightened anticipation.

In truth, Wiley is part of an increasingly savvy urban trend for marrying grime and rap with contemporary references to broaden its appeal. Kano and Dizzee Rascal have also found success doing it.

But Wiley seems to have cornered the market at the moment – his brand of music managing to genuinely transcend genres and win friends just about everywhere.

His new album underlines those credentials and finds the artist in confident form, gleefully sampling like crazy and collaborating with everyone from Kano and Scorcher to Hot Chip and Daniel Merriweather.

Fears that the singles picked themselves also prove largely unfouded, as there’s plenty here to savour.

I Need To Be, featuring Kenna, is a pumped up dance anthem that combines savvy, powerhouse R’n‘B vocals with Wiley’s rap and a lively beat.

Summertime mixes Wiley’s observations on summertime living with a kick-arse Daft Punk sample that proves every bit as effective as the one used by Kanye West on his last great hit single.

And See Clear Now, featuring Kano and Scorcher, is a lively synth-based anthem that builds towards a scorching sung chorus, complete with observations on social depravation and longing for better things.

Mark Ronson spins some production magic over the mighty Cash In My Pocket, complete with cheeky sing-along chorus from Daniel Merriweather, while 5AM employs a soothing piano backdrop over observations of the twilight zone and vital unseen workers (from cleaners and road sweepers to security guards).

Hot Chip, meanwhile, manage to stamp their signature synth sound over Step By Step, which offers a dark slice of electro-disco more akin to the Blade Runner soundtrack at times, and Turn It Up drops disco cheese over another hands-in-the-air style floor-filler that should go down a storm with the super-club crowd.

Can’t Stop Thinking, meanwhile, incorporates house and once again employs guest female vocals to seamless effect, neatly offsetting the harsher, harder elements of his own rap style.

Indeed, the only mis-steps come in the form of Ryder intro and I Am The Sea, which fans will argue get back best to Wiley’s grime roots. For me, however, they upset the natural flow that is the seamless blend of origin and commercial appeal.

In all other respects, however, Wiley seals the deal to create one of the urban crossover albums of the year.

Download picks: I Need To Be, Summertime, See Clear Now, Cash In My Pocket, 5AM

Track listing:

  1. Ryder [intro]
  2. Wearing My Rolex
  3. I Need To Be
  4. Summertime
  5. See Clear Now – Wiley & Kano/Scorcher
  6. Cash In My Pocket – Wiley & Daniel Merriweather
  7. 5am – Wiley & Scorcher
  8. Step By Step – Wiley & Hot Chip
  9. Turn It Up
  10. Can’t Stop Thinking
  11. I Am The Sea