There was high anticipation for the concert of Roots Manuva in Paris, as it launched the band's French tour. It was Roots' first time playing at the new Alhambra Theater here and was probably also a first for a large part of the audience! Applied during the two first tracks, Roots was singing to an audience as proper and clean as the venue*... but that didn't last long. The crowd that came to listen to Rodney Smith and his crew were hit hard by the good vibes made in Manuva! the MC's turned the crowd with the backup help of the keys, flutes and turntables... giving Roots some great bouncy beats full of dub, dancehall, hip hop, reggae & electro... perfect combination to demo all the tracks from his latest album "Slime & Reason". Well produced, powerful sounds full of humor and casualness, in Roots' usual style (Roots also played some now legendary hip hop tracks from previous albums like "Too Cold").
A delight for the ears, hips and the feet. A musical slap in the face! Amazing.
Special thanks to the MK2 crew for their help on the production side.
* The Theater is brand-spanking-new! Roots' reaction to this: "It's the first time that I check a backstage so clean, no graffiti anywhere in sight!!"... The Alhambra has big-venue potential, status that will be earned over the years, once it gets a bit dirtier and when people will be able to think back on fond memories of the place!
Roots Manuva is an extraterrestrial in the UK music scene. His unique hip hop is full of so many influences: a little dub, some electro beats, a good amount of Dance Hall, a serious dose of hip hop and especially a personal delirious touch of humor. Add to this the fact that Rodney Smith (his name in real life) produces the majority of his tracks (often under aliases such as Lord Gosh or Smythe) ... respect! Raised in southern London by parents of Jamaiacan origins, he first made the headlines in 1999 with his LP "Brand New Second Hand" and made it big in 2001 with a second album that was hailed by the musical press: "Run Come And Save Me". The physically imposing MC with a "so british" look is signed to Big Dada Records (the hip hop spinoff of Ninja Tune) and has collaborated with the likes of Mr. Scruff, Coldcut and The Herbaliser. Wicked.more>>>
Big Dada Recordings is the Hip Hop imprint of London-based independent record label, Ninja Tune. It is best known for being the home of prominent British hip hop artist Roots Manuva. It was started by reputed hip hop journalist Will Ashon in February 1997. The label's first release was the Alpha Prhyme 12" Misanthropic's, a collaboration between Luke Vibert and Juice Aleem Over the following thirteen years the label has released over one hundred and fifty records and garnered considerable critical acclaim, being described by Observer Music Monthly as "the very best underground hip hop label".more>>>
In 2007 the label released the compilation 'Well Deep' to celebrate their tenth anniversary. NME said the label was "not only a platform for the British urban underground but also attracts some of the most progressive wordsmiths and beat-scientists in the whole world... Big Dada are still pushing things forward". As the quote suggests, Big Dada is not exclusively a label for British acts - their roster has also featured contributions from American hip hop artists including Saul Williams, Mike Ladd (Infesticons / Majesticons) and Daniel Dumile (MF Doom, King Geedorah), and French hip hop artists, TTC. They also released debut albums by both Diplo and Spank Rock, as well as the comeback album from grime legend Wiley, who was so pleased with the record deal they offered that he recorded a single, "50/50," in tribute.
On 8 September 2009 Big Dada artist Speech Debelle won the 2009 Barclaycard Mercury Prize for her debut album 'Speech Therapy.' It was the label's third nomination, after Roots Manuva and Ty. Less than two months later the artist claimed to have split from the label, allegedly because sales of her debut album, Speech Therapy, "suffered because of poor distribution by Big Dada records". While the label haven't commented on these allegations, much press reaction has suggested that the situation was not so clear cut, with Alexis Petridis of the Guardian stating that "She was a bit hasty, wasn't she? Don't we think? Made a bit of an error... I think it's just particularly unfortunate in the case of a label like Big Dada because whatever else you make of it, and obviously it probably doesn't have the ability to promote your records in the way a a major label would, it's clearly a label that's been run for all the right reasons by someone who absolutely puts their heart and soul into the relentlessly maligned genre of UK hip hop".
Perhaps the label's best known artist, Rodney Smith aka Roots Manuva, signed a new deal with the label after the release of "Run Come Save Me". In the documentary for the label's "Well Deep" DVD, he said, "It's been a lovely relationship over the years... Big Dada's unique and it will always be unique because it's a philosophy, y'know? It's unique because it dares to stick its neck out and it's run by people who genuinely love music. It's not just a record label, it's a movement."
The original Alhambra was a mythical music-hall from the 1950's. The place where the concert hall stands today is not the same as the original location, it is a building from the 30's belonging to the french national Railway company that required 6 mâ‚¬ to renovate... but the name was kept, in memory of the place where such acts as Sydney Bechet, Jacques Hélian, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington performed in the heyday of jazz. Today the Alhambra offers an eclectic selection of concerts in a unique space.more>>>
Founded early 1998 by Frédéric Elalouf to highten the french public's awareness of quality music, Ping Pong has represented the biggest and baddest indie labels such as Ninja Tune, Big Dada, BBE, Counter Records, Ekler'o'Shock, Kartel, Lizart King...more>>>
A few of Ninja Tune's artists (and sub-labels):
Roots Manuva, Mr Scruff, Diplo, Daedelus, Bonobo, The Heavy, Amon Tobin, Dj Vadim, The Cinematic Orchestra, Pop Levi, Fink, Coldcut, The Herbaliser, Ghislain Poirier, K-The-I??? Spank rock...
But also Santogold, John & Jehn, The Pierces, Data, Danger, Leonard De Leonard, Munk, Son of Dave, Golden Bug...
- Hip Hop
- Sounds like