Daily interviews and paparazzi harassment; such is the image evoked when one mentions the glamour and glory of the music industry. And then you have the underground side of things: years of mediocrity, wondering what could have been and a the younger generation who haven’t a clue who you are or why their Dad keeps raving on about someone who debuted some 10 years before their birth.
The latter is perhaps the closest thing to accurate when referring to one Roots Manuva. But to claim that this sentiment paints the entire picture would be an absolute injustice. The man has indeed been rather busy with the recent release of his 9th studio album Bleeds. When you’ve been actively releasing music for close to 20 years you run a real risk of becoming rather bland. The only other two options are finding a middle ground and hanging on for dear life or continually pushing the boundaries.
The lead single and Four Tet produced Facety 2:11 provides that aforementioned push of the boundaries. There’s a reason Roots Manuva has released every one of his albums exclusively through Big Dadda. One of the bigger British labels specialising in Hip Hop music but if only with a slight twist; Big Dada tends to work with artists who have found and mastered their niche, artists such as King Geedorah otherwise known as MF Doom. Me Up is a song that exemplifies this niche carving. With an eclectic soundscape not to be expected of your modern day Rap phenomenon, Roots Manuva complements this with his signature reggae inspired hooks.
If there is one qualm that I’m to pick from this album, then it’s the somewhat slim pickings. At ten songs long this release leaves you wanting a little bit more. Roots Manuva’s preceding album 2011’s 4everevolution, was a mammoth seventeen songs long. And not to mention 2010’s Duppy Writer was a fairly decent fourteen songs in all. Perhaps it’s for the best that Bleeds was kept short and sweet.
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