Roots Manuva – Slime & Reason

Slime & Reason is the sixth studio album of original material by Roots Manuva. It was released on 1 September 2008 on the Big Dada label. Hip Hop Connection magazine named it Album Of The Year 2008. I picked up a copy at a record fair in Leamington Spa in the summer, which had a slightly damaged cover on the rear, although I didn’t notice it at the time, it’s one of those where the printed section has come away from the card beneath but inside a plastic cover it was barely noticeable, outside the plastic cover it looks a bit crap. The good news is that the vinyl itself is pretty nice and I didn’t pay too much for it.

I have no idea when I started listening to Roots, or why, but I do know that I like the Britishness of it, which is evident from the opening track. ‘Again & Again’ reminds me so much of what was happening in the Midlands back in the late 70’s with the Ska revival, it’s dancehall, reggae and an MC with a British voice and I think that link to the past, that sound, that feeling, is what drew me to it.

Again and again and again, we come fi improve ya
(Oh hear we, oh hear we!)
Again and again and again, we bust a big groove Manuva

A lot of people don’t know about Smith
How I came to the scene, and came to uplift!
Eradicatory sanctions of righteousness
Pentecostal son, coming from the heartlands
With every breath and every noun
We dare not stop burning Babylon down
With every penny, every pound
Reflective of the rebel heart and the rebel sound
Dedication to dem life and dem causes
I did dem tours and settled those scores now
I’m back at the drawing board
And I’m sketching out two plans with two crystal balls
I see the future and the culture looks corroded
Lose that chap, man. But them dudes are just posers
I don’t know where to show this
So I’m about to bring that back
Whether we chant, rap or sing that back
It go

[Chorus x2]

Anytime we chant that ting, you know we rap that ting!
We just might clap that ting, but
We ain’t on some boasting about
We gotta make moves, no loafing about!
He ain’t got no clout, she ain’t got no clout
Still they wanna come here, come run up their mouth!
They wanna know what Manuva’s about:
Check my catalogue, you’ll see with no doubt!
We don’t sell out, but we sell a tune or two
Beaten by a wooden spoon or two
But the pain that break me is the pain that make me
And the pain that take me is the pain that help me maintain
Life ting in the frame you know
We’re straight kicking the bin – it go
I don’t know where the soul is
So I’m about to bring that back
Whether we chant, rap or sing that back
It go

[Chorus x2]

Food? Well
And clothes? Well
His style? Well
His skin? well
His shoes? well
Manuv’s? And well
Well, baby, yeah baby
Oh yes, Roots Manuva, the talk of the town
So watch all the people ?sending come fi yuh the run?
Fi anywhere we go, we have the man and control
Roots Manuva is the star of the show
You know-oh

[Chorus x4]

I don’t often include lyrics, but I felt like it today. For me, that’s got hit single written all over it, but I don’t get to decide these things, unfortunately. If I were in charge I would have replaced any of the tracks in the below 2008 chart with ‘Let The Spirit’ from this album, I think it’s a better track than all of them. That’s one of the problems with singles charts in particular, it is not a gauge of quality but of how generically appealing something can be.


Here is ‘Let The Spirit’, Am I right?

There are a lot of styles across the tracks on this album, popping up here and there, and there are a lot of catchy numbers, top among them for me being ‘Let the Spirit’ which was a single but didn’t trouble the charts much, in fact, side A & B are chock-a-block with them. C & D are a little darker perhaps, but still really good tracks,

Hip Hop Connection magazine named it Album Of The Year 2008, and they know better than me.

A1 Again & Again
A2 C.R.U.F.F.
A3 Let The Spirit
B1 Do Nah Bodda Mi
B2 Kick Up Ya Foot
B3 A Man’s Talk
B4 Buff Nuff
C1 2 Much 2 Soon
C2 Do 4 Self
C3 The Show Must Go On
D1 It’s Me Oh Lord
D2 I’m A New Man
D3 Well Alright
D4 The Struggle

If you liked either of the tracks above then do seek out more, Roots Manuva is brilliant at what he does.



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