Updated: Oct 26, 2019
Culture Vultures, Wiley's upset, and how the UK loves Drake
With Top Boy's release on September 13th, the UK re-entered the controversial Drake frenzy. His role in reviving a key part of UK Urban culture, in my opinion, is admirable and needs to be respected; the sad truth is that without him the show would not be anywhere near as popular as it has grown to be, globally, in the last two weeks. Purely the name 'Drake' has aided in spreading the popularity of the show massively, and not only did we get one huge season after a 6 year wait, but maybe even a second is coming our way. The man has been attacked repeatedly for being a 'Culture Vulture', most famously via Twitter by the influential, 40 year old, 'God-Father of Grime', Wiley. People have their reasons and to be honest I get it.
This is what personally pisses me off. In 2013, Migos released their remix of hit "Versace", alongside them was Canadian rapper Drake. You're probably wondering why I'm talking about it, but it'll make sense. Drake opens the song, the first one we all here, but the only line that stands out to me throughout that whole first verse is "Born in Toronto but sometimes I feel like Atlanta adopted us." So Drake was sticking to the Atlanta trap-rappers in 2013, and it was apparent to all of us that he was there to stay, and he did for a while. However, his eyes fell on our United Kingdom and the game pretty much changed from there. He thought like a sket, and hopped from one place to the other.
Drake and the UK music scene is a long love affair, with concrete bonds with artists such as Giggs, Skepta, and Dave. His most famous moves have been bringing out Skepta at wireless in 2015, his feature on the 'Wanna Know' remix which blew up, and heavily involving the sometimes known as 'Grandfather of Grime' Giggs on the 2017 viral album 'More Life', along with Skepta and Jorja Smith. Basically, he's been all over the scene for roughly five years now. So, is this a good thing? If you haven't heard already, Wiley doesn't seem to think so.
Sure, it can seem like Drake is leeching a little; you can back that up by referring to the examples I just gave, not only is he using our terminology in his music, but now other American celebrities (Hailey Baldwin off the top of my head) are too. I get it, believe me. Wiley has a mild point, Drake isn't being very North American anymore, that is safe to say, but this is why Wiley is mainly wrong.
Drake has boosted the popularity of UK music immensely; tonnes of people now know the names Giggs and Skepta due to the 2017 album. I'm not saying that they weren't appealing to Americans before. Skepta released "It Ain't Safe" alongside the now-infamous ASAP Bari, or Young Lord, in 2016, but to be blunt, do you think that the majority of almost vanilla, narrow-minded music listeners are going to dive into Young Lord's music and come across Skepta? No. Let us be real here.
Not only has he spread UK music in America, but Urban UK music in the UK itself. I can guarantee that around 30% of UK Drake-listeners didn't know who Dave, Skepta, Jorja Smith, or Giggs were whilst listening to the album. As I said before, although rap artists, if you enjoy Drake's much more easy-going, enunciated rap, then there is a good chance that you won't want to divulge in the generally heavier, faster music of UK artists.
And this is my main point: People love Drake, the UK loves Drake, Wiley is currently just a hater, he's even popping off at Ed Sheeran. Honestly, do you really think that Drake would've gotten the reaction that he did when he came out at Section Boyz's show in February, 2016? No. That was mad, and I have never seen a crowd react like that in my life.
Drake has been selling out the 02 since day, literally, and he has respect for the UK and everything that the artists in this country produce. You can tell, he even said it at his show. Drake said that he knew he wasn't a grime artist or a drill rapper, but he felt at home, especially in London, and that he was grateful that we accepted him. I witnessed him say it first hand, and anyone else who was at the same show can back me up on it, he meant it.
But, the last thing I would truly like to say is directed at Wiley.
You are supposed to be the God Father of Grime, you have such a powerful influence, people respect you and look up to you, bang your music everyday, and all you can do is sit at home on your phone and passive-aggressively tweet? (I'm writing like my man is going to read this lol) Come on, do better. You're trying to close off the grime scene, you don't want people coming in, Grime is supposedly dead, and you're only killing it faster. Stop being so angry with the world and trying to beef every man on Twitter, use your influence and spread positivity, open doors to the scene instead of trying to close them and keep eager artists out. You will not get anywhere by bitching about it to people who are losing respect for you.