Roots Manuva – 4Everevolution (Big Dada/Banana Klan)

September 18, 2011 by  

Roots Manuva is the finest MC the UK has to offer. Records ‘Run Come Save Me’ and ‘Awfully Deep’ proved this. So now he’s back with his first studio album in three years, following on from ‘Slime and Reason’ with ‘4Everevolution’, and word on the street is that it’s on par with his best work.

What he has produced is a 17 track, hour-long record that covers all the bases. It has music you would expect to hear from Rodney Smith, and music you may not expect, such as the lead single, disco influenced ‘Watch Me Dance’ which has Smith singing over a Toddla T beat. The one constant on the album is Smith’s effortless rhyming ability, the word play and the wit with which he has made his name is as fresh as ever here, ‘She’s a quality item, she don’t do spam, all I need to give her is 2 gig of RAM’ he remarks on ‘Much Too Plush’. His cockney swagger is at ease tussling with a dirty bass line or approaching a more down-tempo number as proved on ‘Awfully Deep’, and whilst some tracks here take a few listens to come to fruition, the results are rewarding.

Opener ‘First Growth’ instantly allays any cynicism about the record; Smith sounds full of energy and is clearly enjoying himself over a funky bass riff. There are elements of the dub he seems to favour so much as early on as ‘Here We Go Again’, and ‘Who Goes There’ which both have a slight resemblance to his breakthrough hit ‘Witness’ , and more so on track ‘Wha’ Mek’, a more soulful track which sees Roots singing once again. Guests include Skin and Cass of Skunk Anansie fame, Daddy Kope, DJ MK, Ricky Ranking, Elan Tamara, Spikey T and Rokhsan. They all bring their own talents to the table but never outshine Smith who really is on top form.

The track ‘Skid Valley’, accompanied by a dramatic string section, sees Smith taking on the social state. ‘Cost of life’s so cheap round here, but the cost of living ain’t cheap round here’ he states with frightening relevance. He fuses his wit with his experience to give his take on the countries current predicament.

Whilst to the more casual listener, the running time might be 10 minutes or so too long (as is often the case when MC’s are so inspired), fans of this shining light within British Urban music will be delighted. He is certainly not getting stale in his older age and for the sake of British hip-hop that can only be a good thing.

[rating:4]


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