It wasn’t that long ago that UK urban music was looked down upon from a vast height, near constantly viewed as an inferior cousin to its American variation and it’s safe to say that Rodney Smith aka Roots Manuva’s work and influence has played a vital part in any narrowing. Now viewed as an elder statesman of the UK urban scene, and despite regularly releasing high quality albums that have seen him gain Brit, Mobo and Mercury nominations to his mantle, he’s still largely looked upon as being an artist that comfortably resides on pop’s outer fringes. ‘4everevolution’ sees the benchmark maintained but can also proudly stand as a musically varied pop album that should see a more mainstream looking audience finally embrace him. Both musically and lyrically potent, his topical words skip over wonky reggae, straight up hip hop and on the death disco touched ‘Here We Go Again’ vibrating dubstep basslines. Not many albums this year will be so jaw droppingly good.

By Nathan Westley

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