London’s most pioneering rapper terrorises the town in the video for his latest release Crying, taken from the new Switching Sides EP

Roots Manuva celebrates Record Store Day on 16 April with the release of his Switching Sides EP on Big Dada. The five-track vinyl features Crying and One Thing, both taken from his recently released sixth studio album Bleeds, plus new songs Iron Shirt, Body Hot and Watch - all produced by Switch and Daouda Leonard (With You).

The package sees Rodney Smith at his finest, delivering his sonic sermons with the honest emotion and oddball flow that have long earned him critical acclaim as one of Britain’s best lyricists. His music leads us on an idiosyncratic journey of retribution and renewal via hip hop, raga, dub and techno, or as Manuva puts it “the culture of Bass and Verb… liquid soul, the blood… that paints infinite sacred wonders in our dreams and unfold in our day-to-day.” Bleeds, perhaps his finest album since 2001’s Mercury Prize-nominated Run Come Save Me, muddies painful social commentary with hopeful wit that aims to be “a voice for those who have little or no voice.”

Manuva calls the EP’s lead track Crying “a very paranoid fidget affair,” while the tongue-in-cheek, Helmi-directed video casts the rapper as the menace to society the track laments. Wearing a silky dressing gown, he wanders through a London council estate as his neighbours flee from him in uncontrollable fear. 

Manuva often brings humour into his videos. For his iconic hit Witness he went back to his old primary school to compete in sports day and in Buff Nuff he plays a horny ice cream van man. Both the jester and Jesus, the sinner and the preacher, Crying is another classic slice of Roots Manuva ribaldry.  

The artist is currently completing a European tour and due to hit the festival circuit this summer. He’s also made an appearance on Massive Attack’s new Ritual Spirit EP alongside Young Fathers, Tricky and Azekel, so fingers crossed for some shared stage magic soon.

Switching Sides EP is out on 16 April on Big Dada

Photography Shamil Tanna