Roots Manuva - Run Come Save Me

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2001-08-13

Given Roots Manuva's higher profile this time around, it was always on the cards that a new album might be a more commercial affair. But while Run Come Save Me is more accessible, it manages to retain the rawness that made its predecessor so addictive. When his self-produced, leftfield hip-hop debut Brand New Second Hand appeared in 1998, it was a clarion call for UK MCs to give up emulating US styles and focus on home-grown vibes. Three years and several collaborations later the renegade rapper is back with another adventure into wayward lyricism and maverick beat-work. "Witness (One Hope)" is a perfect example: an undoubtedly energetic and catchy tune, it also features plenty of sci-fi bleeps and quirky Manuva-style subject matter. Likewise, tracks such as "Bashment Boogie", "Join the Dots" (featuring West Coast MC Charlie 2na), "Kicking the Cack" and "Swords in the Dirt" all combine plenty of Roots-Fireggae! boom-bap with idiosyncratic production. There's some grittier, darker, dubbed-out business here too, and some totally off-the-hook rhyming on tracks like "Ital", "Hol' It Up" and "Stone the Crows". For those who thought Roots would never top his debut, welcome to an album that's bigger, brasher and badder all round. --Paul Sullivan

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