Rodney Smith has broken many a barrier during his double decade career-span, electrifying audience with his range of dub, electronica, experimental noise and beyond. Big Dada’s hip-hop all-star is back on his toes after a year of touring, and while fans always expect something new and innovative from Roots, as to whether or not he can keep up is yet to be seen on his new EP, Banana Skank.
Banana Skank blends together four tracks of Roots’ characteristic rapping with minimal electronica peppered on top . In fact, on the EP opener, “Natural,” the music is so minimal that there is little more than a drum machine playing in the background with sporadic sound effects. On top of that, the rapping isn’t even quality Roots and featured artist. Kope overshadows Rodney’s own lyricism.
At least the Wafa remix of the title track provides a moombahton beat that is danceable alongside Roots’ lyrics, which are also faded together in a deft and unique style. The title track sequel, “Banana Skank 2,” is the standout track and features prog house composition and one of Roots better written songs. The only real drawback here is that the song runs barely over 3 minutes, and the EP closer, “Part Time,” does nothing in the way of satisfying that itch for some old school Roots Manuva, even with Kope on the mic.
Coming from a Roots Manuva fan, Banana Skank was terribly disappointing. There is a very strong lust to enjoy this EP. but sadly, it simply falls short. The beats are terrible in the scheme of things and the rapping is sub par to the Roots Manuva standard. Pass on this EP, wait for the full album.