Release Date: Apr 19, 2005
Record label: Big Dada
Roots Manuva has never lacked for critical respect from his British public -- a MOBO award for his debut, a Mercury nomination (and heavily favored to win) for his second -- but if he ever wished to crash the charts from Brooklyn to Bengal, 2005 was the year to do it. The success of British rap in general, and grime or Dizzee Rascal in particular, appeared to grant him the perfect point of entry into the greater world of pop music. The concept was even more perfect considering that the bashment style pioneered by Roots and his alter ego, producer Lord Gosh, was a natural fit for any Dizzee fans unaware of his hard-hitting, dubwise, digitalic work (which must have been an influence on a few grime producers).
Classic hip-hop moments in self-deprecation: Four years after the critically lauded Run Come Save Me, Rodney Smith’s third LP delves deeper into his own personal hell than ever before, battling paranoia and depression, being overhyped and underappreciated, and even considering retirement on possibly his best song ever, “Colossal Insight. ” An electro-blip dotted masterpiece with an ill descending bassline, it’s a lyrical mishmash of perspectives contradictory, yet oddly singular, with Smith confessing to God that, “I got nothin’ but my balls and my word. ” These shards of religion are scattered throughout the record: dub-inspired “Mind 2 Motion” captures Smith asking for forgiveness for his “sinny-sin-sins” before the hook calls party people to “shake away the hurt”; in the relentless “Awfully Deep,” he sees “the devil sit right before me” in a psychiatric hospital.