Grime godfather Wiley drops a new single, “Bar”

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Wiley GF II CA
(The cover art to Wiley’s upcoming album “Godfather II,” courtesy of NME.)

Wiley’s back to build hype for his upcoming 2018 album “Godfather II” with a wild, almost 8-bit single. The single called “Bar” features another grime legend D Double E as well as grime veteran Scratchy. “Bar” should make grime fans happy that Wiley chose not to make “Godfather” his final album.

“Bar” sounds like it would fit in fine with his last “Godfather” album, as “Godfather II” might be similar. That wouldn’t be a bad thing for Wiley or for grime. “Godfather” won over most critics, earning an 8.4 out of 10 on Metacritic. It was the highest charting album of Wiley’s career as well and it won him an award from NME.

The beat to “Bar” is pretty basic, predictably allowing space for bars from Wiley, Scratch, and D Double E. There are two main rhythms to the song, a distorted trip-hop section with a lot of low bass tones and a very glitzy and colorful 8-bit section. The former happens during the verses and isn’t a big surprise to hear. It’s pretty standard grime fare in that it has a low pitch that gives the music a heaviness and a scratchy, almost dub-step sound. The almost dub-step sound gives the music an intensity, too.

The stylized beat that plays over the choruses is much more surprising. It has a higher pitch than normal for grime and in general, it sounds prettier than the norm of a genre named after a type of dirt. The chiptune beat feels strange but surprisingly fitting overall.

In terms of lyrics, “Bar” is solid though not Wiley’s best work. In the chorus, Wiley tries a bit too hard to work the word “bar” into every line. It’s fun to see the uses he gets out of the word and it fits well enough since “Bar” isn’t a self-serious track to begin with, but it feels a bit wonky. Wiley did make a strong verse for the track, focused on showing how much he’s risen up in the music world and grown his clout.

D Double E and Scratchy make for good features as well and deliver solid verses, too. In an interview with a BBC radio program, Wiley talks about bringing them on to pay respect and get them working. It looks like Wiley will take his godfather role even more seriously with the sequel.

Wiley’s “Godfather II” drops on Feb. 16, 2018. Check out his single “Bar” right now.

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