Single Review – Roots Manuva – Facety 2:11

Veteran London rapper Roots Manuva is back with new single ‘Facety 2:11). Having began his music career over 20 years ago in the early 90’s, his first release coming in 1994 as part of IQ Procedure, debuting as Roots Manuva the same year on Blak Twangs ‘Queen’s Head’ single, before releasing his own single, ‘Next Time of Motion’. A veteran of the UK rap scene Roots Manuva has been an inspiration to many UK artists and has had such an impact in the music scene that The Times declared him ‘…the voice of urban Britain, encompassing dub, ragga, funk and hip hop…’. His lyrics are known for having a British edge and his ability to set gritty narratives against all manner of warped beats have brought about his legendary status within the scene. Alongside his own work Roots Manuva has featured on the tracks of many other artists most notably Gorillaz, DJ Shadow, and Fun Lovin Criminals alongside many others.

His latest single sees him returning to his own productions and has been produced by another well-known artist ‘Four Tet’. A blistering attack on the senses Roots Manuva does what he does best, working his lyrical magic over warped and distorted sounds. The deep low-slung drums underpinning the track, pushing the music forward, relentlessly pounding onto which Roots Manuva adds his typical lyric style. Glitched vocals add an unorthodox texture to the aesthetics of the song whilst simultaneously contributing to the weird and wonderful ambience. Sparse sounds take the listener further into a surreal world where the typical expectations of rap music are banished, the textbook ripped up and thrown away and replaced by Roots Manuva’s distorted vision. The mood of the track fits perfectly with Roots Manuva’s vocals, dark, deep and relentless, unrelenting in its approach and unapologetically aggressive. The uncompromising approach taken to the track allows Roots Manuva to push the boundaries of what is expected of him and the genre he works in, allowing the artist to showcase what he does best, the gritty atmospherics bringing the listener into a dark world underpinned by tribal-esque drums and rough rhetoric from Roots Manuva himself. The track represents an unorthodox creativity that can sometimes be missed by the more commercialized sounds and allows Roots Manuva to carry on doing what he does best.

Matthew Kay

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