A brief breakdown of the root of Stormzy & Wiley's beef.
There have been very few rap feuds involving two worthy opponents. Meek and Drake. Drake and Pusha T. I suppose Eminem and MGK, for the sake of this discussion. For the most part, rap beef has devolved into social media back-and-forths. As we entered the new year, Stormzy, a few weeks removed from the release of his sophomore album Heavy Is The Head, found himself on the receiving end of some scathing remarks made by Wiley, an artist that he’s previously referred to as his “big bro.” A back-and-forth ensued on Twitter, including Stormzy calling Wiley “old” and “weird” as well as alleging that the Godfather of Grime was abusing crack.
Now, as much as I’d like to say this was unexpected, Wiley, especially in the past year, hasn’t kept his mouth shut. Taking aim at internationally renowned stars like Drake and Ed Sheeran, there’s a part of this entire feud that one could argue is rooted in preserving grime culture amidst its influence on modern pop music and the rise of UK drill. Even though Stormzy became one of the biggest rappers in the UK, it appears as though his pop sensibilities are what rubbed Wiley the wrong way in the first place.
As things heated up on the Interwebs, Wiley kept to the tradition of clashing in grime and made their beef official on wax. Releasing “Eediyat Skengman,” a jab at Stormzy’s “Wicked Skengman,” Wiley fueled their beef with a barrage of bars claiming Stormzy not only sold out but used grime as a way to come up in the industry. This later resulted in Stormzy’s “Disappointed” and “Still Disappointed,” the latter serving as a response to “Eediyat Skengman 2.” Following the release of the third and final installment of Wiley’s “Eediyat Skengman” trilogy, there might be a few of you who aren’t entirely aware of how this all came about. Below, we’ve briefly broken down Wiley and Stormzy’s respective diss tracks and origins of their feud.
From The Jump
This week might have found the two grime heavyweights sparring on wax but this beef has been boiling up since summer 2019. Wiley’s fight to preserve the culture as he knows it, given he is a grime pioneer, has made him an unofficial cultural gatekeeper of sorts. But as its evolved, and UK rap subgenres emerged, Wiley’s made a concerted effort to keep his voice heard. Despite previously having a tight-knit relationship with Stormzy, Wiley’s made it abundantly clear that he’s not a fan of outsiders stepping into grime music or taking elements of it. This is what provoked Wiley to send off a salvo of insults towards Ed Sheeran, calling the pop singer a “culture vulture,” among other things.
Then Ed Sheeran and Stormzy linked up on “Take Me Back To London,” a grime infused banger, and again on “Own It” alongside Burna Boy, prompting Wiley to put a ban on Ed Sheeran’s access to grime culture. “Ed your banned and I don't wanna hear you on another grime beat ever again you don't deserve it,” he wrote, adding, “Ed, I love this shit. You know that already.” Stormzy was placed in an awkward position, caught between having to defend his innocent guitar-strumming ginger friend and an OG who helped pave the way for him. Being strategically political, Stormzy responded, “no Wiley you know Ed been doing this from early, been a real one from early, can't question that, you know I love you and respect you brother but nah don't do that."
Ed Sheeran later issued a statement explaining that he’s had mad love for Wiley, even expressing his excitement on previous work they’ve done together. “You know I have a deep love and respect for the scene, and for you. I look forward to Godfather 3, excited to hear it,” Ed wrote. On a mission to do further damage control, Stormzy paid homage to Wiley on Heavy Is The Head single, “Wiley Flow.” Unfortunately, Wiley didn’t seem to actually take the song as a form of homage as he stated that sometimes people who pay homage aren’t actually doing so before signing off with a maniacal laugh.
Fast forward a few months, and in the midst of a clash between Wiley and Dot Rotten, the allegations of culture vulture-isms emerged once again. After another grime artist, JayKae, released a send for Wiley, a fan asked the Godfather MC whether he’d respond. “He is with Stormzy and Ed,” he said, taking a swipe at Stormzy’s credibility as a grime MC. “I love you so much but you are so annoying fucking hell,” Stormzy wrote in response, which resulted in another back-and-forth. Stormzy continued to clap back, calling Wiley a crackhead and old, among other things. A few days later the first diss track dropped.
The first of three diss tracks on Wiley’s end. Things were yet to get too disrespectful but the grime MC successfully stirred the pot. Wiley threw shots at Stormzy accusing him of abandoning grime and going pop. In addition, he made it clear that he did not appreciate “Wiley Flow” at all. “These bumbaclat flows I'm hearing are all my ones / It's not homage, looking like a sly one,” he raps on the grime infused track. While the track didn’t get personal -- yet-- Wiley made a concerted effort to name drop Stormzy’s ex, Maya Jama. “I ain’t gonna chat any shit about Maya, she’s cool/ So we ain’t gonna do the whole Maya ting.”
As the song began to trend on Twitter and YouTube, Stormzy came out of the blue with “Disappointed,” a dub over Headie One & RV’s “Know Better.” Stormzy didn’t hold back on this one and reminded everyone of their history together, especially when it pertained to Cadell, another grime MC and Wiley’s half-brother. “I came to your show, and moved to your brother in front ofâ yourâ dad / Yourâ old man just stood there pissedâ / I said pops, why you look so sad?" He raps viciously. “Go back your bro before you suck my dick.”
This is in reference to an old feud Stormzy had with Cadell back in the day which apparently resulted in a confrontation at Wiley’s show. Apparently, things between Wiley and Cadell weren’t great; on top of confronting Cadell, Wiley brought Stormzy up on stage shortly after. Stormzy also addressed the negative comments Wiley made toward “Take Me Back To London,” as well as the supposed Jay-Z feature that didn’t end up making the song. While he continued to issue insults at Wiley’s family, he also continued to fuel allegations about his drug use. Signing off by claiming the title of “King Of Grime,” the public sided with Stormzy in round one, but Wiley still brought it back to his initial point: it’s not actually grime.
Eediyat Skengman 2
The lines had already been crossed and given Wiley’s volatile behavior, all gloves were off. In the second installment of the “Eediyat Skengman” series, Wiley had much more to say regarding Stormzy’s family including his absentee father. Serving as grime’s Godfather, he tied together Stormzy’s past with the current state of affairs. “I’ve done more for you than you dad has/ You didn’t chief my dad so don’t backtrack,” Wiley raps.
Although Wiley kept Stormzy’s mom’s name out of his mouth in the first track (opting to tell Stormzy, “suck ya mudda” on Twitter), “Disappointed” clearly opened up the floodgates for more mom jokes. “If I see your mom down Croydon market/ I’m gonna rip that weave off of her head.” Unfortunately, Skepta, who’s removed himself from any sort of grime feud in recent times, was name-dropped as Wiley insists that Stormzy owed Skeppy credit for bringing him onto the stage during Kanye’s performance at the 2015 BRIT Awards.
Wiley kicked off round 2 with “Eediyat Skengman 2” but like the general rule of thumb of most wars, there’s a 24-hour timer ticking for a response. Wasting barely any time, Stormzy came through with “Still Disappointed,” a dub over Kano’s “Mic Check." That being said, Stormzy’s here to show-and-prove that his roots are in grime. Over a 140 bpm grime beat, Stormzy lets off a whole clip on Wiley’s entire family -- father, brother, and sister included -- but this one also plays out like one long “Yo Momma” joke:
“Let's talk about why you moved your mum to Cyprus / That poor little woman was scared of the house 'cah you put her life in danger you prick / Bricks and shots just fly through the window,” he raps.
Referencing his previous altercation with Cadell where Wiley’s father watched as it happened, Stormzy declares that Wiley’s mom “is the only real man in the house.” Signing off by blowing a raspberry, Stormzy gave Wiley his twenty-four hours.
World War III
In a shocking turn of events, Cadell, Wiley’s half-brother Stormzy claims he confronted on “Disappointed,” came in swinging in an attempt to defend his name. On “World War III,” Cadell issues his own side of the story. He kicks things off by setting the record straight on the confrontation with Stormzy, claiming that chart-topping rapper never tried to beef in the first place and even admitted it to his face. Although he spends time defending his family, he also takes aim at Stormzy’s personal life, alleging that he cheated on Maya Jama with Jorja Smith.
Eediyat Skengman III
The war might very continue but Wiley seemingly took it down a notch on his third and final diss track in the “Eediyar Skengman” series. Hopping over Ghetts and Rude Kid’s “One Take,” a song Stormzy actually dubbed in a diss towards Cadell in 2016, Wiley gets a bit more juvenile on this one. Calling Stormzy “Chewbacca” and “BFG,” he doubles down on his opinion on Ed Sheeran, “Take Me Back To London,” and Stormzy going pop and asserting himself in the UK Drill space. More than anything, Wiley seemingly used the moment to clear the air on the allegations of using crack and his mother hiding out in Cypress.