British Grime Rapper Wiley Clowned Drake For Changing His Accent To Appeal To American Listeners

Hip-Hop Editor
04.15.19

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Over the weekend, Drake gave a rare interview to British radio addressing the criticism that he is a “culture vulture,” wondering why his appropriation of underground styles is frowned upon and accusing his critics of doing “goofy sh*t” by attacking him. Now, the British rapper who prompted those comments, Wiley, has responded via Instagram, posting an excerpt from the interview and taunting Drake, writing, “If what I was saying was wrong you would of stayed silent [sic].”

Wiley, a veteran of the UK’s bubbling underground grime scene often called the “Godfather of Grime,” has been one of Drake’s staunchest critics after Drake began incorporating British slang, styles, and rappers into his music. In recent years, Drake has not only collaborated with Giggs and Skepta, he also gave a platform to Kano and Asher D by rebooting their show Top Boy for a third series on Netflix. Wiley, who came up with many of those veterans of the grime scene, took issue to what he and many others perceived as Drake’s style jacking, which expanded Drake’s musical palette, but admittedly didn’t lead to a significantly greater acceptance of grime outside the UK.

Besides posting the interview excerpt, Wiley also used Instagram’s live function to mock Drake’s accent, which the latter rapper admitted he changed in the same interview out of a sense of insecurity with American audiences. At the time Drake was initially crossing over, he muted much of his Canadian affect in an effort to appeal to American audiences unused to hearing the Canadian lilt, but later became more comfortable using his natural accent and yard slang adopted from Caribbean immigrants who make up much of the population of Drake’s hometown of Toronto.

Drake has caught flak for using “Jamaican” slang online in the past, with some listeners believing that the affect is disingenuous for a Canadian. Many Caribbean immigrants also live in the UK, which accounts for at least some of why the slang sounds similar on both sides of the pond. Still, some fans won’t accept any explanation — and Drake does make for an easy target. Maybe that’s why Wiley bragged that he “got [himself] into a war” with Drake, who hasn’t seemed quite as invulnerable since Pusha T told the world he was “hiding a child.”

The real reason, though, might be as simple as Drake standing too close to the wrong person; Wiley has been embroiled in a feud with Skepta for a while. Drake might just be a victim of collateral damage in a beef between two longstanding rivals who don’t care who gets caught in the middle.

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