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Various - BadMeaninGood - Roots Manuva (Whoa Music)

This is a great idea, the BadMeaninGood series is about giving figures in the world of hip hop an opportunity to showcase their own musical influences. I'd love to see this project expanded beyond hip hop, as there are many different artists in a whole variety of styles who's influences would make a great compilation. When it comes to an artist like Roots Manuva, it should come as no surprise his list of influences is a varied and strong collection of music.

Kicking off with a vocal intro from Roots himself, it runs the gamut of music of black origin (as the award ceremony terms it). There's a whole load of different hip hop sounds, from the intense rage of NWA's 'Straight outta Compton' to the upbeat funky sound of Fallacy & Fusion on 'The Groundbreaker' or the unique sound of Outkast on 'Elevators (me & you)', taking in Ol' Dirty Bastard, Braintax, Eric B and Rakim and more along the way. There's some funky soul music from Willie Hutch ('I'm gonna hold on'); the uncompromising UK ska sound of the Beat ('Mirror in the bathroom'); some fairly accessible ragga from CeCile ('Sweetest feeling'); some drum n' bassy UK garage from Bad Vibes & Potential Bad Boy ('Bad boy DJ (remix)') and a bit of old style reggae from Sugar Minot ('Crazy sound boy').

If that wasn't enough, there's some ultra-smooth dancefloor sounds with Soul II Soul's 'Keep on movin'', Juicy's 'Sugar Free' and Lucy Pearl's 'Can't stand your mother' and, picking the tempo quite a bit, some electro disco sounds in Freeez' 'IOU'. It all wraps up with a typically eclectic track from Roots himself, a bizarre but cool version of the Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine' and, finally, a spacey dub instrumental 'Stimulation of Kaos' from Reachout.

This is a great run through of the kind of music that influenced not just Roots Manuva, but more than likely many UK artists making hip hop or even UK garage music. But beyond that, it's a great collection of classic tracks.

Donnacha DeLong

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