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BBC New Music Shorts 2008

'C.R.U.F.F.' - Roots Manuva

'C.R.U.F.F.' - Roots Manuva [Ninja Tune/Big Dada]
Listen | Official Site

Roots Manuva "I was as a kid.. I was walking past Stockwell skateboard park and there was this sound being set up.. I was with my mum, holding my mum’s hand and I remember my mum being quite intimidated by the whole affair. Such a barrage of bass coming from it! It’s just a bass thing. A volume thing. I don’t know if I rose-tint the memories, but I remember it sounded so good, so rich. It’s not like today when we go to clubs and it hurts. It was more of a life-giving bass."

In this simple recollection it’s easy to locate the driving force of a whole lot of what Rodney Smith aka Roots Manuva is all about, what he remains all about right up until this very day. His fascination with and love of soundsystem culture informs not just his music and lyrics but his whole attitude towards life and goes some way to explain his popularity both as an artist and an individual.

Rodney Smith was born and grew up in Stockwell, South London. He made his recorded debut in 1994 as part of IQ Procedure through Suburban Base’s short-lived hip hop imprint Bluntly Speaking Vinyl. He debuted as Roots Manuva the same year on Blak Twang’s "Queen’s Head" single, before releasing his own single, "Next Type of Motion". In 1998 he joined Big Dada and released his fiercesome debut, "Brand New Second Hand". From an initial 3000 records put into the shops "BNSH" has now sold over 50,000 copies in the UK. Manuva was rewarded for his breakthrough with a MOBO as Best Hip Hop Act that year. As if to demonstrate the broad appeal of his style, he also featured on Leftfield’s "Dusted" from their "Rhythm & Stealth" album.

Smith's next album was 2001’s "Run Come Save Me", the record which gained him a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize and which has sold over 100,000 copies in the UK and spawned the all-time classic "Witness" (voted the greatest UK hip hop tune of all time by the readers of Hip Hop Connection). It is also the record which led the Guardian newspaper, in October 2003, to proclaim Manuva fifth in their "40 Best Bands In Britain" feature, proclaiming that "his influence is incalculable and he opened the doors for the Streets, Dizzee Rascal et al." After the success of his last records, "Awfully Deep" in 2005 and "Alternately Deep" in 2006, Mr Manuva has been working on a new album. "Slime and Reason" will be released August 25th 2008 on Big Dada.

Lyrics - 'C.R.U.F.F.'

According to Roots: "CRUFF is just a play on 'ruff' meaning 'good' "

C-R-U…Double F
How cruff thou art, we’re cruff in every breath
C-R-U…Double F
How cruff thou art, we’re cruff in every breath
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh

It’s the low-slung well-hung ‘bout to get this
Better for that nun’s * bringing the wetness
We get reckless, pee on the setlist
Triple latex ‘cos we gotta protect this
Nark side, dark side, something to spark side
Spoonful of cyanide, do you know that guy?
I don’t know nutt’n man, I’m cooling my sutt’n man
Viable glutton man, don’t push my button man
Magnified needs, magnified greed
Desperate, ‘cos we got seed to feed
Now, we don’t want no war things, let’s explore things
With the peace and the reasoning, we could get more things
It’s so simple but we just can’t work this
Way too much hurt and too much conflict
Seems to burn my bones these days
Got a big old yearn to stay home these days

C-R-U…Double F
How cruff thou art, we’re cruff in every breath
C-R-U…Double F
How cruff thou art, we’re cruff in every breath
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh

Chosen, living my life like it’s golden
I’m rolling, spinning my dice like I’m bowling,
Supposing, tip of my toe tips, a grown thing
Inspired, walking a bit more like Moses
The road is mean as it was then from way back
* the Government, you tell ‘em that I say that
I’m aimed at, phoney MPs and house *ers
*-ho token * and head figures
Obligatory ragamuff rag enuff manic
I’m mangling, strangling, him or her
That choose to concur that the works ain’t relevant
I’m telling ‘em, spelling it out in plain English
From nineteen ninety four, when a man’s been in this
Before before that, when * was worse
So what if I choose to kick up and curse
Expose the torture, expose the hurt

C-R-U…Double F
How cruff thou art, we’re cruff in every breath
C-R-U…Double F
How cruff thou art, we’re cruff in every breath
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh
Cruffer cruffer cruffer… oh-ah-oh

 

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