Roots Manuva, 'Slime & Reason' (Ninja Tune)

6
Slime & Reason
Critical Mass
Label: Ninja Tune

by Mosi Reeves

Roots Manuva has a wicked sense of gallows humor, but his sixth album may be the British hip-hop pioneer's heaviest since 1999's acclaimed debut, Brand New Second Hand. His keyboards-and-drums beats get uncomfortably dense like a smoky ganja haze, and when he raps, "Rebel youth with that brick in your hand / Fire blazing / Ready to burn Babylon" ("A Man's Talk"), it sounds like he's actually ready to torch your house. Describing his "revolutionary mind-set" and "evolutionary inklings" in razor- sharp detail, he cuts through Slime & Reason's rudeboy grime with poker-faced nerve.

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