Rain pierces dark clouds above and spatters the cobblestone streets. You pull your hood up, and hang your head low to avoid the downpour. Is there a tinge of red in the flowing liquid? You trudge through oceanic puddles that soak your boots to their tender cores, and lift your head only to seek a sheltering alcove. You’re greeted with miles of solid concrete wall. Where did the doors go? A floating mouth descends from the sky, and speaks with a quickness . . .
After this past year, most of us were left asking ourselves, “where can hip-hop go from here?” The gamut was run, from the most hype-inducing trunk-rattlers to conceptual, cross-genre odysseys, and everything in between. Must we go backward? Nay, my good friends and listeners, there are undiscovered frontiers to explore still. Bleeds is the newest full-length from English rapper Rodney Smith, under the name Roots Manuva.
Smith has a unique way with words; a meticulous finesse that allows his lyrics to break free from the constrains of hyper-specificity, without sacrificing a drop of their potency. The charismatic MC dives in and out of varying hip-hop tempos, adorned with flavors of funk, classical, soul, and blues. Along with stellar production from disparate worlds of talent, these songs are stuffed with captivating ideas and earth-shaking energy.
It’s thrilling to witness the evolution of hip-hop, more so now than ever. The terminology is merely a vague descriptor of a certain vocal style now, but the heart of the word still thumps within all that have ever loved the genre. Bleeds slammed a cap on the stellar year of music we just had, and we should hold nothing but hope for the promising future ahead. If you’re seeking potent, expansive hip-hop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)