Roots Manuva- Awfully Deep

January 9th, 2005

Roots Manuva’s third album is a demonstration of consistency and class. Not one of the 14 numbers is weak, with even the heavy dub interludes sounding impressive. Highlights include lead single ‘Colossal Insight’ and the chilled ‘Thinking’ which is reminiscent of ‘Dreamy Days’ from the album before. However, this release is by far a ‘Run Come Save Me’ sequel and shows development in production, which is extremely polished and detailed. Lyrically, it’s everything fans of the artist have come to adore, from entertaining verses of loose topic, to politically natured verbals. The energy levels are great, varying in extents whilst the bass is constantly grand. This high quality demonstration of British black music is quite possibly his best yet.

Whilst there were moments on the classic Run Come Save me which seemed as if they didn’t need to be included, this new album feels a lot more compact. Although there’s a variety between the tracks, there is a certain atmosphere in the production which seems present through the entire release. Immense attention to detail is audible on every track, with many sounding very layered and showing that a great deal of time has been invested in its development. It’s hard to pick out specific examples of this as the consistency in quality is high, although ‘A Haunting’ on which Manuva provides loose rhyme over and ‘Chin High’ which sounds like the noises you’d expect to hear inside of a mad scientists brain are good representations of the albums flavour.

On several occasions, lyrics make reference to the past success of the artist with lines suggesting that labels of Manuva being the saviour of UK rap was nothing but media hype and that he’s often been the media darling, although both tags are easily justified with the release. There is perhaps no stand out single, like ‘Witness’ from the last LP, but that’s not to take anything from this musical excellence. Manuva soaks his material in originality and individualism which at times feels utterly non existent within the rest of the scene’s output.