is Roots Manuva's (aka Rodney Smith) most crafted, most accomplished album, an improvement that he attributes to deciding to think about what he wanted to make, rather than what other people want to hear. In the process, he's produced an album that pleases anyone who listens to it. Awfully Deep
includes the massive single, "Colossal Insight".
If you've read any of the speculation surrounding Awfully Deep
, you'll be aware that this is the down album from beleaguered Brit-Jamaican rapper Roots Manuva
, a troubled work where he battles with the twin demons of depression and mental illness. Luckily, hard times can't entirely keep a good man like Rodney Smith down: barely two minutes into the bashed-up dub-hop of "Mind 2 Motion", he's already exhorting his audience to "Swing your pants!/ Swing your skirt!/ Shake away the hurt!" in an effort to keep the black dog from his door.
And truly, this is a long dark night of the soul: on the excellent "Colossal Insight", Smith turns to God to save his sanity; on pitch-black soul number "The Falling", he's lost in an apocalyptic reverie, fantasising about smuggling hand-grenades onto an aeroplane. But luckily, Smith is agreeably incapable of presenting his predicament without moments of dark levity: see the title track, which recalls a stint at a mental hospital populated by "crooked doctors and kinky nurses". A man who dispatches the Reaper with a nudge and a wink, Roots Manuva remains one of British hip-hop's most potent forces. --Louis Pattison