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ROOTS MANUVA

I have rarely come across a Hip Hop record where non black singers do it just as well as those who live in the land that gave birth to this type of music. Most European Hip Hop bands are normally lacking in the vocalist department, very few of them get to the NBA of Hip Hop. It's blatantly clear that this music is getting stronger in Europe and that more and more punters are being attracted to it. Nowadays you don't have to go to any great lengths to find Hip Hop records, concerts, magazines, radio shows or clothes that go with the music. Nobody doubts the importance of this musical movement. Leaving aside that short analysis on the Hip Hop boom, it's no coincidence that the singer Roots Manuva's first LP "Run Come Save Me" appeared in many of last year's "The Best Records of the Year" lists. Altough a bit difficult to listen to at first, this record just grows and grows on you. To start off with we have a string section introduction that bleeds into "Basement Boogie" which could hardly be described as a typical Hip Hop song. There's a great combination of Rodney Smith's beautiful voice and Ricky Rankin's ragga. Jamaican roots with touches of rock or trip hop constantly surface in the rest of the songs. The rythms, guite abstract at times, form the outstanding backbone of the record. Roots Manuva's healthy musical development maintains the standards of the innovative record label Big Dada Recordings' releases.

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MR. SCRUFF

This productive English music-maker and DJ, apart from the really original and eclectic records he has made with the Ninja Tune or the disappeared Cup pof Tea record labels, is well and truly capable of designing his own record sleeves. You can already find the animated versions of the zany characters he uses on the web page he recently set up. This time round Brighton's newly created Unfold Records-Tru Thoughts, who only release DJ compilations, has decided to back Mr. Scruff. They asked him to get something together for what would be their first release and he has answered with a mixture of ska, disco dub, reggae, ragga and break. One example is a lively work out in rock steady by the wailers The Wailers. The Japanese artist El Malo's dub-beat puts in an appearance as does Bjorn Torske with his Scandanavian dub. That's not to mention Reggie Stepa and Ninjaman & Flourgon's ragga-dancehall and the venomous dub of Dry & Heavy that brings the record to a close. This record is a perfect reflection of a rabid record collector and a good guide to someone who knows dub well but wantes to know it even better. We have always considered Mr Scruff to be one of the sassiest English music makers on the scene. This latest release also confirms his ability as a DJ and selector of music.