Awfully Deep (Big Dada)
I fell for Rodney Smith upon screening the brilliant “Witness (1 hope)” video. Not only is the tune great, but watching the guy compete with the yung’uns at an elementary school field day is pure foolish fun. Though more serious, this album does not diminish my love for Mr. Manuva. Sure, no one in America is going to pay him any mind—Pitchfork’s already insisting that Roots Manuva has missed the grime boat—but why should you care? This is a great record. Moody, refreshingly intelligent and witty, this is a set of tracks that runs that gamut from the danceable (“Rebel Heart”, for example) to the introspective (“Awfully Deep” lives up to its title). Sure, it’s tough to categorize, but that’s what makes it so bloody interesting. It’s a mashed up mess of soulful R&B, heavy heavy dub beats, electro franticness, dancehall intensity, and, I’d argue, a dollop of grime for good measure. All the 50 Cent fans are so seriously missing out.