April 26th sees the 10th anniversary of the release of Wiley’s debut album, “Treddin’ On Thin Ice” (aka TOTI).
Long term grime fans will need no telling about this album, and probably won’t learn anything new here, but any new-comers to the scene should know this: the effects of this album are still very much a blueprint for how to make Grime.
Coming not long after Dizzee’s “Boy In Da Corner”, TOTI didn’t have the same commercial impact, but still holds a deserved place on many Grime head’s top 10 lists.
The album came with 15 tracks, 13 of which were self-produced by Wiley.The first single, “Wot Do U Call It”, addressed just what to call this new style of music and exactly what it wasn’t (“garage?, it don’t sound like garage, make it in a studio, not in a garage”).
Although only here in “interlude” form, TOTI brought pirate radio anthems “Ice-Rink” & “Eskimo” to a wider audience, and these tunes, with their “eski-sounds” are still the basis for remixes and new beats today.
TOTI was also the first chance that Grime fans living beyond the reach of pirate radio signals had to hear Kano, Ruff Sqwad member and future chart-botherer Tinchy Stryder, and Roll Deep crew’s J2K, Riko and Breeze.
For me, TOTI isn’t Wiley’s greatest album, especially on a vocal level, but it’s impact on the sound of the scene is undeniable. Wiley recently sprayed new lyrics over the “Ice-Rink” instrumental and it still sounded fresh, despite being older than TOTI.
There isn’t really anything left to say about TOTI that hasn’t already been said, but you can be sure you haven’t heard the last of the album, or the sound it continues to inspire.