Roots of British Hip Hop

Life is a funny thing. One day you’re hold up in a council flat, the next you’re earning a living making records. Well, at least that’s true for Roots Manuva, British hip hop visionary and alternative gospel music maker.

Roots (aka Rodney Smith) was used to crime having grown up in the rough neighbourhood of Brixton, South London. He used to be on the dole, involved in petty crime and a weed smoker, which sounds none to fulfilling to me. Eventually he found his calling in music. Having more responsibility in his life prompted him to be more proactive and use his music to say something worthwhile. Honest to the point of admitting his sins, Roots has always been one to look out for the little guys. He’s not about glamour and he’s not about money – this is what real music is about.

In his time he has made several studio albums and worked with loads of other artists, including Gorillaz, The Herbaliser and Banana Klan.

In October 2008, DJ Transformer (aka Ben Rayner) interviewed Roots Manuva on Fly FM, Nottingham Trent’s student radio station. And only last year, BBC2’s Culture Show did a whole featurette about his life, music and influence on British hip hop.

At present, I only have his Run Come Save Me album, but I love his unorthodox sound and real-world-hip-hop lyrics. Plenty food for thought.

2 thoughts on “Roots of British Hip Hop”

  1. madtyger says:

    It's great to hear a story of how someone turned their life around and became successful. Music, film, and sports seem to be filled with the underdog and survival stories but you still rarely hear the media talk about them. More stories like this should be presented.

  2. DK33 says:

    I shall endeavour to dig up more human interest stories then for my own news reporting space, mad. Glad you found this of interest.