album of the month 02/05

album of the month 02/05

roots manuva: awfully deep - big dada BD072roots manuva: awfully deep – big dada BD072

tough choice this month.
the o5ymy5o release could have/should have been album of the month. but then again, i have already featured it here often (and might continue to do so over the next 48 weeks or so). with the way this album gets released, in 50 fragments over 50 weeks in ’05, it’s more likely to become album of the year.
plus, i have written a review about it for pixelsurgeon.
dj food’s strictly kev was another serious contender, with his re-release of raiding the 20th century (words and music expansion) for which he has outdone himself. yet again.
and then former bootlegger/mashupper dsico that no talent hack has released a great new ep/album titled you fight like a girl, which is so excellent, that i might still write a review about it…

but in the end album of the month 02/05 had to be roots manuva’s latest release awfully deep.

i guess now would be the part where i explain this choice. but in a way i feel like saying, “just because…” and: “so there”.
i mean, it’s roots manuva we are speaking about here. and yes, i do speak his name with that awe-inspired tremor in my voice, like when other people say “prada” or “murakami” depending on what line of things they are talking about.

there is of course always that slight insecurity, when it comes to an earlier hero having to confirm his talent with a next release, a next album, book, film, whatever. but in the case of rodney smith aka roots manuva this insecurity is reasonably slim. roots manuva just keeps cranking them out, not messing up a single one of his releases. even the dub remixes of his latest album run come save me, dub come save me, is fantastic and almost totally different from the original. this guy seems to be playing in a league of his own.

awhile ago, on the website a few videos with interviews were published, i can’t remember how exactly they were called, something like “news from the studios”. one thing rodney said there was, that he owed it to hiphop to constantly re-invent himself. he cited the early hiphop pioneers, who were never allowed to release the same album twice. back then the formulaic hiphop, that sadly nowadays has become the norm, was simply not accepted.

after hearing awfully deep i am relieved to say, that mr. smith was able to do just that, to re-invent himself. the new album seems even more multi-layered and eclectic than his earlier work. there are strong influences from reggae, rave and house, while the focus is very much on melodies and the bass and instrumentation feel even more dubby. reverb underlines the lyrics; lyrics delivered with that trademark almost haunting, almost melancholic, yet somehow extremly positive voice of his.

roots manuva wants to keep surprising himself – and at the same time does this to us. there is no doubt in my mind, mr. smith so much defines uk hiphop, because he is not trying to sound american and because he keeps looking for the unique influences that define him with his cultural background. that’s the true spirit of hiphop right there. that’s what brings together the old school with the cutting edge new forms.

so all is well. the only worrying thing in all this might be the following few verses in “colossal insight”:

this could well be my last lp
i’ve had a good run
i’ve made a few g’s
i’ve had a bag of fun
i’ve smoked a few trees
now i wanna rest my knobbly knees

oh nooooooooo…

roots manuva

btw. i still quite like the flash game where you can re-shuffle the lyrics of colossal insight to create absurd, naughty and/or philosophical messages, whatever rocks your bell… like so: i’ve-smoked-this-devil-with-mega-knobbly-knees-but-i’v-got-plastered

previous albums of the month:
album of the month 01/05
album of the month 12/04
album of the month 11/04
album of the month 10/04
album of the month 08/04
album of the month 07/04
album of the month 06/04
album of the month 05/04
album of the month 04/04
album of the month 03/04
album of the month 02/04
album of the month 01/04
album of the month 12/03
album of the month 11/03
album of the month 10/03

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.