- Audio CD (March 23, 1999)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Big Dada Records
- ASIN: B00000ICLB
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,961 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Brand New Second Hand
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For a long time, it seemed like any sort of hip-hop that came from Great Britain was immediately labeled "trip-hop." But it's impossible to pigeonhole crews like Black Twang and London rapper Roots Manuva into that category--and sometimes it's tough to slot Roots Manuva into any category. Unfortunately, the production on this album is spotty, veering uncomfortably from the hopelessly fractured reggae of "Dem Phonies" to the live funk of "Fever." Roots Manuva's skills, though, are undeniable, and he maneuvers through tracks like "Big Things" and "Baptism" with a keen intellect and an impressive moral authority. His Brit-accented flow differs greatly from that of his American peers, though, and may prove to be an acquired taste for some. Flawed as it may be, Brand New Second Hand shows that international hip-hop need not mimic that of the States in order to compete--but it could take some lessons in the studio. --Justin Hampton
Manuva shifts from abstract to narrative with offhand skill, aiming toward a Euro-American hip-hop future full of deep, dubby possibilities. -- Spin
Top customer reviews
One of the main appeals of Roots Manuva's work, isn't just the swaggering beats or the distinctly original approach to production, which is a mixture of swaggering rhythms, hard-edged beats, syncopated percussion, a strong tendency toward dubwise beats, bottomless bass and reverberating vibes, or oddball squelches and aggressive sounds and energetic thumps. It's that it owes as much to: Ragga, Dancehall, Electronica, & Dub, as it does U.K. Hip-Hop, and although there's a strong element of bass heavy sounds, it's the diversity and ingenuity of production throughout the album that immediately impresses.
but as hugely impressive as the production sides of things are, it also equally as much to do with the fact that he is a distinctly impressive lyricist/Vocalist. One that sees things from a decidedly UK urban standpoint, throwing his thoughts, views, ideas over a great many social concerns / injustices / inequality, and yet is able to command a presence and strength in his persona, that transcends his contemporaries, and pushes him into a field of of his own. He is intelligent, humble but most of all conscious, pouring scour on: weak-minded individuals led into temptation ("Movements"), trying to make sense of life in general ("Juggle Tings"), The problem of the mind playing trick on you ("Strange Behaviour"), which are all delivered with a gritty and slightly gruff vocal delivery that cement the seriousness of his subject matter. His themes although resolutely embedded in a strong urban take on things, belie the fact that he is arguably one of the finest talents in the UK rap scene, and few (if any), come close to matching his production skills, style, voice and rhymes, as they are all so uniquely him, that nobody else seems to mimic quite the direction he seems intent on taking his music.
Roots Manuva may always seem to condemned to a cult audience, not because of a lack of quality control on his albums, but purely because it's far harder for UK acts to make waves internationally, and coupled with the fact that Roots Manuva's label (Big Dada) has seemingly lacked the marketing muscle to truly push him into the general public consciousness. Instead having the rely on Critical acclaim (of which he has had a great deal), and word of mouth, to draw people into his curious mixture of Dancehall inflected Hip-Hop. All Roots Manuva's albums demand investigation. yet each release, sees him finding his feet & confidence with each successive album, and for those that are yet to actually buy an album of his, and are undecided, I'll suggest that this album is the perfect primer, if you've heard some of his work, and are curious for more. And this will (hopefully) lead you onto his subsequent albums, which grow broader in sound and lyrical complexity, culminating in 2005's exceptional career best.
This album busts down that stereotype, and should be seen as a warning to the USA, that others are producing brilliant hiphop too. Roots Manuva has a distinctive style that takes some getting used to, and at first I only liked a few tracks. However the album has definately grown on me, as I kept going back again and again, discovering fresh tracks.
The lyrics are intelligent, and refreshingly free of the gangsta stereoypes of some US hiphop. The beats are hard and funky, but if you're looking for more "Dusted" (the track he did with leftfield), you may be disappointed, the feel here is much more hiphop.
Tracks such as "Baptism" "Soul Decay" and "Fever" all carry different feelings, and meanings. My favourite has to be "motion 5000" with its brilliant string arrangement perfectly complementing the rhymes..
All up, a mind blowing album that will renew your faith in hiphop.
Oh yeah, if you have the album and are looking for other tracks from Roots, I can recommend "jusjus" with Mr. Scruff, and "Starlight" with The Herbaliser.
Most recent customer reviews
"Extraordinary... a crucial release and a landmark for UK beats and rhymes"-Update, ALBUM OF THE WEEK