Root Manuva - Slime and Reason
Almost a decade after his debut album Brand New Second Hand appeared, Rodney Smith’s no longer at the head of a field of one. The popularisation of UK hip hop which he ushered in has since given way to garage and then grime, and while he’s stepped back from the cutting edge of British urban music, this fourth album shows he’s still an artist brimming with confidence and invention.
On ‘Let the Spirit’ he joins with Metronomy for a piece of warmly mellow soultronica, while the Toddla T production ‘Buff Nuff’ is a short blast of poppy drum & bass. Such team-ups are a bit of extra flavour rather than the record’s saving grace, however – songs like ‘I’m a New Man’ and the ghetto-epic ‘The Struggle’ add plenty to the Root’s oeuvre.