Roots Manuva – Badmeaningood

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

The second in the BADMEANINGOOD series of retrospective compilations (after DJ Skitz) finds Stockwell’s Roots Manuva laying down some 17 tracks that form part of his diverse musical influences.

Given that he proclaims hip-hop to be “the universal language of sonics”, it should come as little surprise that this is an eclectic collection – from languid reggae (THE BEAT’s M’Mirror In The Bathroom’; SUGAR MINOT’s ‘Crazy Sound Boy’) to sassy r n’ b (CECILEs ‘Sweetest Feeling’; JUICY’s ‘Sugar Free’; LUCY PEARL’s ‘Can’t Stand Your Mother’.) and gritty drum & bass (BAD VIBES & POTENTAIL BAD BOY’s ‘Bad Boy’).

Of course, there’s plenty of hip-hop here too, particularly in the mid-section, where classics like ERIC B and RAKIM’s ‘Follow The Leaser’ and NWA’s blistering ‘Straight Outta Compton’ rub shoulders with contributions from Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Braintax. Perhaps even more amazing is that this record contrives to segue ‘Straight Outta Compton’ into SOUL II SOUL’s ‘Keep On Movin’.

Throw in impressive tracks from Outkast, Deckwrecka and up-and-coming talent Fallacy and Fusion, plus a brand new track from Mr Manuva himself (a brilliantly creepy cover of The Beatles’ YELLOW SUBMARINE) and you have a package that’s as diverse and interesting as the streets Rodney Smith grew up on.

4 stars