As an artist who’s made a career out of spinning gritty narratives with a dry, self-deprecating humour, the prospect of a Roots Manuva reaction to the recent riots is a tantalising one. But for now, at least, ‘4Everevolution’ is providing a mammoth, entertaining seventeen-track journey through the troubles. Here, we’ve got the full Rodney Smith repertoire of street spirit and characteristic wordplay working over binary-crushing grime beats, contemporary reggae-licks and clean, booming hip-hop. The production is crisp and varied; Roots’ warm vocal typically hits with soul without being too forcefully firebrand and constant changes in style and tempo gives ‘4Everevolution’ the energy to see it through.
Words by Reef Younis