Roots Manuva: 4everevolution – review

(Big Dada)

The approach of middle age is often a time for introspection, though not usually for rappers. Rodney Smith has always been an exception, though. Nearing his 40th birthday, he has delivered an album that's contemplative, insightful and filled with a beleaguered sense of the hard-scrabble nature of contemporary life. Skid Valley, a sketch of life outside the bubble in 2011, ends with the couplet: "Low pay packets and high inflation/ And now they want to blame us for the end of the nation." Wha' Mek domesticises this insecurity: "What makes you sigh ... When I'm trying my hardest, it's the best that I can be." Even club banger Get the Get ends with an exasperated: "I am somebody." There's an impressive range of styles here – an overdose of maudlin strings, perhaps, but there would at least appear to be a reason for that.


Paul MacInnes

The GuardianTramp

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