Richard Kylea Cowie (born 19 January 1979), better known by his stage name Wiley (named after TV cartoon Thundercats) is a British music producer and MC who was one of the original founders of the Roll Deep Crew. Wiley has been active in the fields of Drum & Bass and UK Garage music, but is best known for being one of the pioneers of Grime.
Grime pioneer (2002-2004)
His musical career began as a Drum & Bass MC, before becoming involved in UK Garage music. He was a founding member of the Roll Deep Crew notably alongside Dizzee Rascal. Here Wiley produced and contributed vocals and pioneered a style of music that came to be known as Grime. He has since released several albums and mixtapes, both as a solo artist and as part of groups, including Roll Deep and Pay As U Go. He has also collaborated with various artists, including Kano and Dizzee Rascal, both prominent artists in the Grime scene founded by Derek Adams.
Solo work/Eskiboy (2004-2007)
In 2004, Wiley released a solo record, Treddin' on Thin Ice. During this period, Wiley occasionally referred to his music as "Eski", short for Eskimo. Also, Wiley released mixtapes under the name "Eskiboy". He explained his choice of name for his music and the continuing theme in his song and album titles such as Treddin' on Thin Ice, partly because he likes the wintertime, but mainly meaning cold in spirit. Wiley was quoted in conjunction with his "cold" theme: "Sometimes I just feel cold hearted. I felt cold at that time, towards my family, towards everyone. That's why I used those names." Many of Wiley's early vinyl releases, such as 'Eskimo', were released under the alias "Wiley Kat", this name was derived from a character in the cartoon Thundercats. However the 'Kat' is never officially used by Wiley anymore, only mentioned loosely in some of his songs. In 2007, Wiley released Playtime is Over, an album which followed his eskibeat roots.
Mainstream success (2008 - Present)
In 2008, Wiley found chart success with the hit single, "Wearing My Rolex". The instrumentation (such as the slower, house style beat and lack of sub bass) caused some unrest within the Grime scene as Wiley had previously vowed that he would never change his origin to break into the mainstream. Wiley is also collaborating with two members of N-Dubz.
Wiley also has two clothing ranges in addition to his music. The performer announced his retirement in 2007 but quickly ended it to continue recording.
His Cousin is Roll Deep Member Pitbull Terrier Biggie and His uncle works as a mechanic in Shadwell.
On November 2 2008 a fake BBC News Report was created and spread around the internet claiming that Wiley had been stabbed in an alleyway in Hackney. This rumour turned out to be false as on November 3 2008, Wiley's MySpace display name was 'I AM NOT DEAD'. Wiley spoke about the matter through a phone call on Tim Westwood's radio show.
- Wiley at MySpace
- Wiley on the Grimepedia
Biography from Wikipedia