Wiley picks up MBE: I never thought royals would know of grime

The 39-year-old Godfather of Grime has been honoured for services to music.

Grime music legend Wiley has expressed his surprise that the royal family had even heard of the underground music genre he helped pioneer as he collected an MBE.

The Godfather of Grime, whose real name is Richard Cowie, received the award for services to music from the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

The 39-year-old told the Press Association: “I did think in the music industry you could do work that people would recognise, I always knew that part.”

Laughing, he added: “But I didn’t know if, like, the royals would. I don’t know why I felt like they would never know us.”

Richard Cowie, aka Wiley, is made an MBE by Prince William (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Richard Cowie, aka Wiley, is made an MBE by Prince William (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The MC labelled grime superstar Stormzy as “the evolution” of a genre he laid the groundwork for, congratulating the artist on his Brit Awards and chart successes.

Reflecting on the mainstream reach achieved by grime stars in recent years, he said: “It’s amazing man. I’m so proud, proud of the fact that these kids can do something.

“Stormzy is from today. He’s not from my time, he’s the evolution of what me and Dizzee (Rascal) and everyone else done.”

A post shared by WileyBBK #MBE (@wiley__) on

The Heatwave singer added that, as he approaches 40, he wants to focus on developing young talents.

He said: “You don’t know where it’s going to end you up, but if you do the work it can end you up in a place that was much better than before.

“Growing up people quit and I’m glad I could’ve been an inspiration to those who felt like giving up.

“(On ever quitting himself) I did half think about it, but with me I couldn’t cause it’s the only thing I knew how to do. You don’t give up what you love.”

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Wiley said he did not think the royals would know about grime (Yui Mok/PA)

Reflecting on his MBE, he added: “This could open up doors for me in terms of going back to teach, to help, because I don’t care about myself anymore, I care about others.

“I feel like that’s the way I get on in my life, it’s about everyone else, and that’s why I’m here.”

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