Richard Kylea Cowie Jr. (born January 19, 1979) is a well-known British rapper, grime MC, songwriter, DJ, and record producer from Bow, London. He is professionally known as Wiley or Wiley Kat. In recognition of his contributions to music, he was awarded the honor of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the past.
Wiley, whose real name is Richard Kylea Cowie Jr., is a British rapper and record producer with Trinidadian and Antiguan roots. He grew up in Bow, East London, and was first introduced to music by his father, a reggae artist. As a teenager, he sold drugs but later turned to music production as a source of income.
Wiley is credited with creating the first grime beats and initially broadcasted his productions on pirate radio stations. Throughout his life, he has faced many dangerous situations, including stabbing and being shot at, and has survived over twenty stabbings.
In the early 2000s, Wiley was a member of the garage crew The Ladies Hit Squad and Pay As U Go. Later, he formed the Roll Deep entourage and began producing instrumental singles on his own label, leading to a solo deal with XL Recordings.
Wiley is a British MC and producer credited with helping to create the genre of grime, known for its stripped-down melodies, heavy drums, and basslines. He first gained popularity in the early 2000s as a member of the “super crew” Pay As U Go and the Roll Deep collective. In 2001, he released instrumental singles on his label, Wileykat Records, and eventually signed a deal with XL Recordings.
Wiley released his first album, ‘Treddin’ on Thin Ice,’ in 2004, which featured the singles “Wot Do U Call It?” and “Pies.” During this period, he called his music “Eski” and released mixtapes under the name “Eskiboy.” In the 2000s, Wiley released several albums, including “Da 2nd Phaze” in 2006 and “Playtime is Over” in 2007.
In 2008, Wiley gained mainstream success with the hit single “Wearing My Rolex,” which caused controversy within the grime scene. Later that year, he released “Grime Wave,” an album that was described as being rooted in the harsh, bass-heavy rhythms of the grime scene. Wiley’s album “See Clear Now” was released in October 2008 and featured the hit singles “Wearing My Rolex,” “Cash In My Pocket,” and “Summertime.”
In 2012, Wiley released his third album with Big Dada titled “Evolve Or Be Extinct,” and started to leak grime freestyles on Twitter and compiled them into a mixtape called “It’s All Fun and Games Till, Vol. 1.” He later released a second volume in the series. In 2013, Wiley focused on promoting his album “The Ascent” on Warner and received the “Best Male” award at the MOBO Awards that year. He is known for his support of up-and-coming artists, his engagement on social media, and his prolific work in the studio.
- Treddin’ on Thin Ice (2004)
- Da 2nd Phaze (2006)
- Playtime Is Over (2007)
- Grime Wave (2008)
- See Clear Now (2008)
- Race Against Time (2009)
- 100% Publishing (2011)
- Evolve or Be Extinct (2012)
- The Ascent (2013)
- Snakes & Ladders (2014)
- Godfather (2017)
- Godfather II (2018)
- The Godfather III (2020)
- Boasty Gang – The Album (2020)
- Anti-Systemic (2021)
Wiley, a well-known grime artist, has two daughters and a younger half-brother named Cadell, who is also a musician. He adopted the name “Wiley” as his stage name in reference to the cartoon character “Wiley Kat” from the Thundercats series.
Wiley has experienced several stabbing incidents, one of which occurred in 2008 and resulted in a visible scar on the left side of his face. This event affected his self-esteem and confidence for a time. Along with his brother Cadell, who is also a grime artist, Wiley is a fan of the Tottenham Hotspur football club.
- Twitter @WileyOffical
Wiley’s net worth has increased significantly in recent years. His net worth is approximately US$1 million – US$5 million.