Wiley - Wearing My Rolex - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Wiley - Wearing My Rolex

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

No matter how entrenched in its underdog status the grime scene was and remains, in retrospect it was only a matter of time before some plucky blighter broke cover and made a dash for the glory and cash of the utopian pop ideal. That person was Wiley, founder member, along with Dizzee Rascal, of Roll Deep, and he succeeded with the grime-meets-electro pulse of 'Wearing My Rolex', a confluence of tough street attitude and mainstream club sound. The sampling of east coast garage classic 'What Would We Do' by DSK brought Wiley to the attention of the one demographic he would never have been able to hit on grime's own terms - girls; specifically, the kind of club-going ladies who, in the previous decade, had been the target market of a fluffy house sub-genre known as handbag.

Beneath the candy floss sheen, however, Wiley's more interested in talking to the blokes getting drunk at the bar, selling them a monumentally dubious fantasy of male power and female supplication. "What would we do?" burbles the empty-headed female vocal, before Wiley cuts it short by snapping "usually drink, usually dance, usually babble". You know, that tiresome crap women insist on making you do before you get them so wasted they shut up and spread em? Rubbish, isn't it? Thankfully, chaps, if you're a player like Wiley you've got the totemic power of your Rolex to silence them with. Especially if the girl you're chatting up is a 24 carat gold digger.

Oh well, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. But then, to quote Garry Mulholland's assessment of Duran Duran, not all good things say good things. 'Wearing My Rolex' is a pretty damn irresistible dancefloor banger and, even if Wiley himself wasn't interested in engaging with them for anything other than sexual conquest, the music made UK hip hop accessible to a whole swathe of mainstream pop fans who had previously been put off by its violence, braggadocio and emotional coldness; the, you know, maleness of it. The door was now open for someone to use this idiom to express warmer, fuzzier, more female-friendly sentiments. Step forward, Mr Rascal.

Richard Morris

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