Rodney Smith is arguably the greatest rapper ever to emerge from British shores. Over five albums of sonic invention, which, like all great hip-hop records, ran the gamut between funky fun and sharp-eyed lyrical incision, he's carved out space for rappers in the UK, and become one the iconic voices in hip-hop from anywhere.
After two years locked in the studio brewing up brand new music, he returns now with Facety 2:11, a stunning single produced by fellow UK maverick Four Tet. 'Facety' is patois slang for someone being rude - a barefaced cheek referenced by the insistent, cockney rhyming lyrical snip - 'boat race' - that makes up the chorus. Over an infectious hip-hop drum, shuddering bass and simply effective melody, Manuva spits playful rhymes that bely a rallying call for musical passion.
Another of electronic music's most exciting voices, NYC producer Machinedrum, provides the beat for the B-Side, 'Like a Drum.' Urgent and reflective all at once, its percussion swings gorgeously behind a melody intricately weaved from jazz samples and warm pads, Smith's vocal ruminating on his past, future and present.
In his inimitable words, the single is 'a wee spring warmer in voodoo coptic dialect shape shifting: the remit the same as ever in awakening one's inner, modern-day Sun Ra, ODB and Kate Bush on an overdrive of "doing because we can't help ourselves...'