Roots Manuva returns with a new single and it’s one of the standout cuts from the acclaimed 4everevolution, the brooding, magnificent “Here We Go Again”.
Over an intense, thunderous collision of hip hop, techno and dubstep, Rodney Smith aka Roots Manuva drops lyrics about an old friendship gone bad: “something in his life isn’t right with him/ He’s caught up in the hype and it bites within.” A clear-eyed, deadpan exposition of the dangers, temptations and, more cuttingly, childishness of “street life”, Smith is keen to emphasise he isn’t preaching. Everything he says applies to himself as much as anyone else and a fate he avoided more through luck than judgement. The tune is finished off perfectly by a pure, soulful chorus from Spikey Tee.
Spikey Tee was originally part of seminal British hip-hop-ragga-soul collective the Sindecut (Virgin Records), but these days is better well known for his work with Mr Scruff, Jah Wobble, Sola Rosa and Bomb The Bass. Now based in Australia he works on occasion with up and coming producer Dizz1. When Dizz1 played him the beat for “Here We Go Again” he immediately told him it was perfect for Roots Manuva. A few emails and phonecalls later and the tune began to come together, a mixture of menace and beauty which, in its grace and the urgency of its message, shows an artist as relevant as ever.
Remixes for the single come from UK Black Music veteran Dobie (two versions, aimed at the “Mosh Pit” and “Smoky Backroom”), hotly-tipped grime producer Preditah and man of the moment, FaltyDL. But as ever, it’s the calm authority and intelligence of Roots Manuva’s voice which will stay with the listener.