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Album Review: Roots Manuva – ’4everevolution’

The highly acclaimed Roots Manuva is back. His heavy-hitting lyrical rap combines once again with effective production and simple beats that allow emphasis on his vocals and trademark backdrops of warped sound.

‘Revelation’ stood out as a highlight track for me. Manuva’s traditional heavy backing and powerful lyrics are met with fantastic harmonies in between verses – comparable in style to that of high-budget gangster rap. (Minus the swearing and with slightly more inspiration and significant meaning – not to play against stereotypes or anything…) This is however, then followed by a highly mellow, chilled out tune. An album this size is perhaps always going to be expected to offer variety, and with Manuva firmly established into his career – why stop now?

I personally find the darker tracks more emotionally driven and significant. Roots Manuva has the experience and the ability to turn almost literally a simple beat into a hip-hop sensation. The livelier tracks still come through well however. They’re more upbeat and definitely add a vibrant edge to a varied record. The female backing vocals in ‘Beyond This World’ provide a garage-esque tone to an otherwise tropically-infused track – a truly wonderful and rare combination to be had, and like a lot of what Roots offers here – the style just works.

I don’t mean to review this album in a simple track-by-track manner, but the sheer length of the thing in addition to its variety puts me in a slightly helpless situation. ‘Go Champ’ runs on a Basment Jaxx inspired fuse. ‘Upbeat’ and effective drops on the vocals make this a song to groove to – whatever that actually means. ‘Get The Get’ actually follows suit and this continual flow of groovable beats brings a credible sense of continuity to the record.

I think I’m literally losing my mind here listening to it; I’m being thrown up and down, wall to wall within the opened gates of genre restriction. It’s refreshing to hear such a talented artist go beyond one style and produce not only an album of experimentation, but also one that offers deep exploration within this man’s world.

A truly talented musician deserves his credit and with credible assistance from the likes of Skunk Anansie, Ricky Rankin & DJ MK (the list goes on) it’s clear that great time and effort has gone into giving each track its value and worth – from a production side, you couldn’t really ask for much more.

4everevolution is in stores 26th September. For more head to RootsManuva.co.uk

-James Uden



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