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Wiley’s “Ascent”: Not Much of an Ascent At All?

On 12 September 2012, UK Grime artist, Wiley, tweeted and confirmed his ninth studio album to date The Ascent.  While the artist known as the Godfather of Grime has skirted around the edges of mainstream popularity, never appearing to actually care if he crosses the border over into a bona fide popular artist.  This ninth album appeared to be the opportunity for Wiley to finally reach his full potential.  However, Wiley’s lackadaisical attitude may be exactly what keeps him from crossing those bounds.

The Ascent marks his first major label debut and amidst the hype surrounding its release, Wiley did the one thing an artist hoping to make it big should never do: he leaked the album online after a dispute with iTunes.  Six days before his album that is already stated to be his most mainstream album to date, incorporating some of the most prominent London MCs and artists, Wiley sabotages his own success.  Wiley may look like he doesn’t care, but maybe this is a sign that he actually really does.

Wiley has spent his career perfecting his brand so he is set apart from other Grime artists and so that he’s never mistaken for the mainstream.  Perhaps The Ascent’s leak wasn’t necessarily to “stick it” to iTunes.  In a way, he’s remaining true to this character that he’s created.  He’s unique and untameable.  Even though he may sound more mainstream, Wiley is making sure everyone knows that he’s not truly giving in.