Music became central to Roots Manuva’s life when he was just a young boy living a tough life in South London. The barrage of bass he heard emanating from sound systems in Stockwell’s stake park compelled and absorbed him. Life giving bass that he said sounded “so good, so rich”.
He was hooked by those sounds and after early years of experimentation with various artists and labels, 1999 saw the release of debut album Brand New Second Hand on Big Dada. Beautifully penned and produced, with a mixture of peaced-out trip-hop alongside snappier beats, hints of jazzy playfulness and big bass sounds, lyrically and vocally the album felt real and candid; a poignant view on modern, urban life.
2001’s single Witness (1 Hope) from follow-up album Run Come Save Me became a huge hit right across the UK’s dance floors and to this day it remains one of the UK’s top rap anthems, that classic, grimy bass line still so distinct – and still so danceable!
Roots Manuva’s discography now stretches to nine studio albums and his last release, 2015’s Bleeds – a dark, brooding album that offers new, deeper soulful melodies alongside his already distinctive rapping style – demonstrates Roots Manuva’s continued artistic evolution and importance.
Vice Magazine described him as ‘one of the most influential artists in British music history’, and that’s a fair reflection of a man who’s always been at the pinnacle of the UK rap scene. We were delighted to welcome him to our main stage for what was to be a truly memorable and powerful headline show.