Artist – Roots Manuva
Album – Bleeds (2015)
Check it out – https://open.spotify.com/album/2ckG3GCP44lx0tGu0E3LWz
Roots Manuva (Rodney Hylton Smith) is a hip-hop, dub, ragga artist from London, UK. Manuva’s parents were from Jamaica but he was born in London, from this he’s mixed both musical influences of jamaica (dub, ragga) with the electronic music of the UK and began rapping due to his love of American Hip-Hop, mainly Rakim. Smith made his debut as Roots Manuva in 1994, since then releasing 9 albums, 4 EPs, 1 live album and making numerous guest spots on single by the likes of the Gorillaz, Leftfield, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and The Maccabees. This is Root Manuvas 9th album ‘Bleeds’.
I’d like to start by getting the one negative over and done with, situated in the intro song ‘Hard Bastards’. The lyrics and delivery in the intro track, although full of aggression/passion, I feel aren’t written well at all, very simple with no depth and just following the same anti-government quotes that any dissapointed member of the public could have written. Now moving on from that, the rest of the album is fantastic, Root Manuva’s lyrics and delivery are far more complex and emotive, playing around with rhythms and syllables which push far beyond the intro track. His beats are some of the heaviest I’ve heard in awhile, incorporating trip-hop drum rhythms with some extremely low bass lines and a range of high pitched instrumentation to play some of his catchier melodies (string, synth, piano). Particular favourites of mine would have to be ‘Don’t Breathe Out’, showing a softer sound to Roots music and being one of the more memorable of the songs on ‘Bleeds’, and the track ‘Crying’, displaying the opposite of ‘Don’t Breathe Out’, a far darker tone/subject matter.
‘Bleeds’ is a great album from one of the UK’s most important Hip-Hop artists, further delivering aggressively emotive music and beats far different from artists of this same style popular today.