Jim Pinckney welcomes back the compelling rhymes of Roots Manuva.
Words like pioneer are too easily rattled off these days but in the case of South London hiphop artist Rodney Smith, better known as Roots Manuva, it’s hard to escape. Breaking the mould with his 2001 album Run Come Save Me, he has gone on to set a benchmark for the lyrical end of UK rap, that has rarely been challenged. Bleeds is by some margin, his most condensed and unswerving statement to date, and as ever Smiths seemingly irreverent wordplay takes absorption. and consideration, to fully decode and assimilate. There’s plenty of torment and soul searching but like the gospel music that Smith keeps returning to it’s almost always wrapped up in a sense of transcendence, the belief that things can and will get better, and all is not lost. The message seems to be doing the trick, because the ‘grown man’s vernacular’ and relentlessly inventive rhythms on Bleeds, really are the genuine article.
Songs played: Hard Bastards, Fighting For?, Me Up!, Stepping Hard, Facety 2:11, Don’t Breathe Out, Crying, Cargo