Roots Manuva Meets Wrongtom – Duppy Writer

January 01, 1970

(Big Dada)


Roots Manuva joins with the mysterious producer Wrongtom for
an album of roots-infused remixes of mostly older material. Roots Manuva, whose
combustible cocktail of hip hop, reggae, dancehall and dub helped originate
grime and dubstep, has long spliced street poetry and protest to slinky
backbeats. His collaboration with Wrongtom accentuates the island rhythms of
some of his best-known songs. “Tropical, shit, you know?  Like the juice that you drink in the
morning,” guest DJ Riddla observes, as the upbeated slouch of “Butterfly Crab
Walk,” creaks into organ bleating motion, and indeed, the whole album has the
heat of equatorial sun on urban sidewalks.   


Track titles are slightly altered versions of older song
names – so that “Chin Up” is a re-imagination of “Chin High” and “Proper Tings
Juggled” is a remixed “Juggle Tings Proper.” 
“Kick Up Your Foot”, originally from 2008’s Slime and Reason, becomes, somewhat amusingly, “Lick Up Ya Foot,”
in the process losing some of its futuristic gloss in favor of a warmer, more
organic vibe. A jazzy dialogue between piano and organ replaces the original’s
queasy, technologically sleek synthesizers, and the multi-voiced chorus turns
less militant and paranoid, more easy-going and relaxed. “Rebuff” the remixed
version of “Buff Nuff” which was the starting point for Manuva and Wrongtom’s
partnership, has a wonderful slackness to it, despite machine-gun rapid sprays
of syncopated verbiage. The highlight, though is “Motion 82”, a new take on
“Motion 5000”, which appeared on Manuva’s first full-length Brand New Second Hand. The 1999 version
is dense with strings, its twitchy beat warping this lushness into uneasy
shapes. “Motion 82”, by contrast, layers rickety offbeats of organ over the
slow swagger of bass and drums in an infectious reggae groove.


There’s only one original track on Duppy Writer, the Ricky Ranking DJ’d “Jah Warriors,” which sounds a
bit chillier and less organic than the re-made cuts, but otherwise fits into
the backbeat-heavy whole. Still these remixes veer far enough from the
originals that long-time fans will find new things to think about while
listening – and they’re strong enough that even new listeners can enjoy them on
their own, without knowing the material.


82” “Lick Up Your Foot” “Jah Warriors” JENNIFER KELLY






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