The term “difficult third album” is often bandied about as if no artists have more than 20 or so songs in them. It would be a truly ignorant person though, who failed to acknowledge the events that have shaped Roots Manuva’s third offering – most notably a near breakdown, which saw him placed in a recovery clinic by his management, something he touches on in the album’s title track and on Too Cold.
In the grand scheme of things, though, this stuff of tabloid headlines is not the main attraction to Awfully Deep. Aside from Manuva’s obvious skills as a rapper, the music stands out as some of the most carefully assembled in UK hip hop with much of the emphasis placed on melody rather than beats.
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Once you add on top of this a vocal style like no other, this turns frm a difficult third album to a triumph, one which may finally draw in the recognition Roots Manuva deserves.
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Release date: 31st January 2005