U.K. rapper Wiley has branded Ed Sheeran a “fake” lover of urban music who rips off other artists.
The grime pioneer brought Sheeran in to sing on his 2011 track If I Could back when the singer-songwriter was still a relative unknown but has long been furious the favour was not returned.
The British rapper/producer called Ed out on Twitter on Wednesday, insulting him as a “pagan” and expanded his point during an interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Dotty.
During the chat, Wiley, real name Richard Kylea Cowie Jr, called Sheeran “fake as hell” and accused him of ripping off other artists with his music.
“Ed Sheeran, you are a culture vulture and I’m not listening to you anymore,” he said. “I’ve listened to you rip off Marvin Gaye. I’ve listened to you rip off everything. I’ve seen you do a song with Justin Bieber, it sounds like a reggae tune by Sting.”
Sheeran recently recorded a track, Take Me Back to London, with another grime superstar, Stormzy, which topped the U.K. singles chart, and Wiley accused the star of using the genre to, “tip your song over the edge”, in a bid to boost sales, and of trading off grime’s urban credibility.
The 40-year-old also claimed Sheeran’s affinity with the genre is superficial, as he refused to work with him again after he’d become a star.
“When I was working with Ed I was working to do it for him, when it was time to do it for me, he didn’t wanna do it. When it was time to do it for me he didn’t want to stand up to his label,” he added, saying the musician was “not allowed” to use the word grime.
In the lengthy interview, Wiley also criticised Drake and questioned why it took the Canadian rapper to resurrect the TV drama Top Boy, as well as his commitment to the British artists he has taken under his wing.