Roots Manuva meets Wrongtom Roots Manuva meets WrongtomDuppy Writer
Inflatable swimming pool filled with bodies. Clouds of cannabis floating over the garden. A Pitbull playing in the grass with a plastic bone. Six-packs of Heineken, shiny in the sun. Nachos floating in a bowl of guacamole. Ribs releasing their irresistible aroma at first contact with the grill. Chicken wings waiting in the fridge. A Tottenham game playing on the giant TV screen. Summer never left, my friends, and although we have already entered autumn and it’s only a matter of time before people start covering up, two lovers of the heat and summery relaxation have decided to put a soundtrack to these last days of sweat with a fresh shower of reggae, dancehall, rap and dub. Their names: Roots Manuva and Wrongtom. Their objective: to release a gust of Caribbean wind capable of lifting hairpieces and making a mess of any hairdo.
Silly remarks aside, let’s explain the origin of this peculiar project which, to make things clear from the start, is not a new Roots Manuva album, but rather a delicious re-fry of his tunes by someone else. This is how it goes: Roots Manuva likes to do dub versions of his albums – “Run Come Save Me” vs. “Dub Come Save Me”; “Awfully Deep” vs. “Alternately Deep”– and Big Dada says yes to everything he suggests. Before releasing the magnificent “Slime & Reason”, a guy who uses the alias Wrongtom reconstructs the track “Buff Nuff” which goes down very well at Big Dada HQ, so much so that they order various remixes of tracks off the album for the bonus disc of the CD. The fans wriggle with excitement over the man’s dubby reggae reinterpretations and the label decides to get the two together for real. In other words, because of the results of those little sparkles of production genius, “Duppy Writer” could get made, a record formed by versions of tunes from Roots Manuva’s whole career, all elaborated by the privileged brain of Wrongtom. That said, what is it we have in our hands, apart from a big fat spliff? Jamaican purrs, rasta electronica, reggae rarities and the addictive voice of Roots connecting the dots.
However, it’s funny how on a record which is 99% versions, the best track is the only previously unreleased tune (and logical single). “Jah Warriors”, with Roots and Ricky Ranking on the mic, is a Caribbean bite of melodic dub and crepuscular reggae with a pinch of robotic dancehall that will tickle your ears. It’s the real gem on an album that very freshly revisits Rodney Smith’s work. “Motion 500” turns into “Motion ‘82”, a piece of retro-reggae with ultra-violet sparkles. The aforementioned “Buff Nuff” becomes “Rebuff”, a calypso-freak party with futurist tendencies. “Juggled Tings Proper” is now “Proper Tings Juggled” and achieves a great digital smoked-out bounce like an afternoon at a Kingston bar (could it be more summery?). “Big Tings Gwidarn” turns into “Big Tings Redone” and leaves us a weird postcard with cybernetic weed leaves. Wrongtom goes for a cyber-Jamaican groove that revisits the different states of Dubland in a reggaetonic multiverse. “Duppy Writer” will definitely not change the history of music (and it might not even have an impact on Roots Manuva’s discography), but it’ll give you a very nice summery high. Damn, we’ll miss summer.
Roots Manuva meets Wrongtom - Jah Warriors