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|1. First Growth|
|2. Here We Go Again|
|3. Skid Valley|
|4. Who Goes There?|
|5. Watch Me Dance?|
|7. Wha' Mek?|
|8. Takes Time|
|9. Beyond This World|
|10. Go Champ|
|11. Get The Get|
|12. Crow Bars|
|13. The Throes Of It|
|15. Much Too Plush|
|16. The Path|
|17. Banana Skank|
|18. Snakebite *|
|19. Bust It *|
Thankfully, it turns out that 4everevolution is long because Smith seems, since relocating to Sheffield and working occasionally with South Yorkshire neighbour and mischievous dance producer Toddla T, to have hit the richest creative vein of his accomplished career. This outstanding long-player is, by some distance, his best yet, combining the squelchy beats and Brit-Jamaican humour he is known for with a musical eclecticism and experimental joy that is entirely new.
Unlike the traditional hip hop album, 4everevolution sees Smith plus various members of his Banana Klan crew swapping 'real' instruments, mixing them with Smith's trademark, bass-heavy electronics and building tracks that sound spontaneous, completely un-generic and packed with excitement, adventure and optimism. Amongst these tracks, there isn't one that feels superfluous. And Smith's refusal to follow any current trend in pop-rap or urban dance production ensures that every one is a sonic surprise.
There are guest spots - including Skin and Cass from Skunk Anansie on Skid Valley's punchy social commentary, Toddla T on Watch Me Dance, and Australian producers Dizz1 and Monkeymarc on the outstanding Here We Go Again and Who Goes There? respectively - but every collaborator here surrenders to Smith's freewheeling but entirely focused sonic vision. Highlights are the gothadelic The Throes of It; the loose, almost punk-funkish Noddy; the witty, loved-up G-funk of Much Too Plush; and the mutant dubstep of The Path, which showcases the deliciously weird female vocals of new discovery Elan Tamara. And in the synthetic steel-pan ballad Wha' Mek? - one of three tunes in which Smith proves that he's almost as good a singer as rapper - he has a post-Mike Skinner dysfunctional love song that could, perhaps, be the hit single that has proved so elusive to him.
The album also takes in prowling street-rap, upbeat disco throwbacks, reggae and dancehall ragamuffin anthems, Stevie Wonder and George Clinton references a-plenty and a feeling that you've been invited to an all-weekend party in a recording studio with several of the most talented people you'll ever meet. It's a pure, you're-only-as-old-as-you-feel joy to hear British hip hop's most original and inspiring voice hitting his peak as he approaches his 40th year.
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Anyone saying this album was good is lying, the production isn't bad but Roots has grown lazy in his rhymes, I would recommend a listen as they're are a few good tracks on it but... Read morePublished 20 months ago by eloquent
Not quite scaling similar heights in comparison to the very best of his back catalogue, but lyrically still consistently smarter & funnier than the rest and backed by the usual... Read morePublished on 15 Nov. 2012 by wj armstrong
i love his sincerity. he reminds me of Kate Bush is this sense. what a welcome in my life this album is. first growth is my favorite at the moment. Read morePublished on 16 Jun. 2012 by laaip
Yes, Mr. Manuva has done it again. A gem of an album, can't wait to see him on tour next year at the Roundhouse!Published on 2 Nov. 2011 by OJ
Firstly i'm not going to act like a know-it-all music critic, but my creative taste is impeccable ;) , so...
... Read more