Maneuvering the avant-garde through musical, political, emotional and spiritual expression, Roots Manuva delivers a second album, mostly self-produced. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Rodney Hylton Smith or Roots Manuva demonstrates hip-hop no longer just spans from Brooklyn to San Francisco, but around the globe.
Son of a Pentecostal Jamaican preacher, Manuva grew up listening to UK reggae and hip-hop behind his parent's back and against their wishes. The title of Manuva's first album, “Brand New Second Hand,” released in 1999, describes in his mother's words the already used reality of the financial struggles his family experienced while growing up.
“Brand New Second Hand,” was internationally received and considered by critics to be an acclaimed emerging UK sound. Manuva's thick, rugged mixture of British and Jamaican dialect clearly and distinctly entertains and mesmerizes the audience. Some tracks parallel unruly rebellion and others mirror a distinguished gentleman. Manuva portrays his personality throughout different stages of his life, despite hypocrisies and idiosyncrasies.
The boldness and brute honesty Manuva brings to the table on “Run Come Save Me” regarding his past, present and future, qualify the album as a sincere and laudable execution of talent. Although the focus and perspective change from his first album, the black and white album of Manuva with both feet off the ground, showcases lyrical versatility and original sounding melodic compositions.
“Dreaming Days,” the last song on the album, exposes the sensitive side of Manuva concealed throughout most of the album. Combining a deep philosophical introspection and love ballet, “Dreaming Days” gives listeners a warm-hearted, special love vibe.
“Bashment Boogie,” following “No String,” a string orchestrated interlude, kicks the album off with a positive tribal vibration, begging for “more pressure, more vibe.” With a soothing sung hook, self-proclaiming a champion sound, the album right from the start instills a deeply rooted reggae feel.
On “Witness the Fitness,” Manuva lets the world know that “Run Come Save Me” will be on an off key tip. Sharp shooting, futuristic sound effects, mystical ringing surges and reggae off beats allow Manuva to articulate rhymes, reasons and politics on a beautifully arranged symphonic landscape. Ranging from famine, self-reliance and successfully overcoming the struggles of reality, Manuva postulates robustly and unmatchable in comparison.
Featuring Jurassic 5 emcee Charli 2na, “Join the Dots” shines like an aged star, brighter than any other constellation on the album. 2na and Manuva humbly defy overzealous, elitist competition that floods the surrounding music industry. The duo flows on top of a solid bass beat accompanied with an eastern sounding flute. The track closes with a turntable roundup, rocking the rhythm.
“Run Come Save Me” debuted at number 33 on UK charts after the late August release. Big Dada Recordings is a branch of the UK Ninja Tune Label. As an import to America, “Run Come Save Me” offers an enriching cultural experience.
For more information on Roots Manuva or other Ninja Tune artists visit http://www.injatune.net