Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Roots Manuva + Chali 2na: Troxy, London 27/10/17

Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com
Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Chali 2na: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Chali 2na: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Chali 2na: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Chali 2na: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Chali 2na: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Chali 2na: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Chali 2na: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Roots Manuva: Troxy, London 27/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com

The first time I saw Roots Manuva was at a festival way back in 2001, shortly after the seminal "Run Come Save Me" album came out. Since then I've been lucky to see him again at various points throughout his career, and it's been fascinating to see on of UK rap's groundbreakers evolve.

Now in his 40s, he's showing no sign of letting up, with his last album, "Bleeds", showing his skills haven't diminished with time. And the south Londoner can certainly draw a crowd, with the Troxy packed for his performance, part of his UK tour.

Before the main man took to the stage, Jurassic 5 rapper and frequent Roots Manuva collaborator Chali 2Na got the crowd going...he's got one of hip hop's most recognisable baritone voices, and steamed through decades worth of classic material.

Versions of J5 classics "What's Golden" and "Concrete Streets" had the audience jumping around, and he left the stage to triumphant applause.

Longtime Roots Manuva ally Ricky Ranking, one of UK hip hop's most underrated characters, took the microphone before the headliner himself strolled out, showing he can work a crowd expertly.

Early versions of "Facety 2.11" - an energetic track from "Bleeds" which was delivered with aplomb - and "Here We Go Again" got the performance off to a great start.

One of the challenges, when you have a back catalogue as expensive as Manuva's, is what to exclude. But it was nice to see some of his older tracks given an airing, with loud cheers greeting the opening bars of "Movement" from debut "Brand New Second Hand". It's been a long time since that record was released, and it showed when the rapper lost his track mid-verse.

It certainly wasn't the most cohesive performance, with the star often appearing unfocused and at one stage disappearing offstage as his band continued. But that was all forgotten as he unleashed "Join The Dots" with Chali 2Na returning to the stage.

The show finished with a triumphant "Witness (One Hope)", one of British hip hop's landmark tracks.

The crowd rapped back every word as the show finished on a high.

He's certainly performed better in the past, but there's no doubting that his place is secured as one of this country's biggest hip-hop stars.

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PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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