Whether he likes it or not, Rodney Hylton Smith is gradually becoming
a British institution.
Unlike Doctor Who, Barbara Windsor or the NHS, however, the man who makes his art as Roots Manuva has proved himself to be an unfailingly reliable force over the last two decades.
It comes as no surprise, then, that this, his ninth LP continues a rich vein of
form that stretches back to 1999 and that classic agenda-setting debut,
‘Brand New Second Hand’.
While the album’s title, he suggests, is a bit of a front (“It’s an egocentric jest of daring to do things in the tradition of Jesus”),
you get the feeling that there’s a deep-seated truth when Roots Manuva declares that he’s willing to, “bleed for the artform.”
Having worked on the collection for almost four years, it’s clear that Smith has used the time to obsess over the details contained within.
As the beam of his creative torch falls, in turn, upon hip hop, grime, house
Bleedshe demonstrates a sonic sleight of hand that is unparalleled in modern UK music as a whole, Roots Manuva never mind the narrow confines of hip hop.
Opener ‘Hard Bastards’ is the perfect example of Smith’s knack of scattering diamonds in the rough,
Bleeds juxtaposing the aesthetic with the brutal.
“And most broke cunts are all true bastards / And most rich cunts are even more bastards,” he rasps – the raw,
awkward poetry offset by Protomartyr
Bleeds The Agent Intellect Hardly art By james f. thompson.
In stores oct 9 Bleeds Big dada By david zammitt. In stores Oct 30 09/10 08/10 gentle strings and organ
Bleeds chords that complement rather than contradict and serve as a metaphor for Roots’s multifarious worldview.
Roots Manuva Bleeds Next up, ‘Crying’ is a cold slice of Dizzeeesque UK grime as he seems to tick off his shopping list of genres, while ‘Don’t Breathe Out!’
takes the psychedelic soul of Young Fathers and polishes it even more brightly.
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