AOTY 2021
Roots Manuva - Bleeds
Critic Score
Based on 20 reviews
2015 Ratings: #94 / 977
User Score
Based on 38 ratings
October 30, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Big Dada / Label
Hip Hop, UK Hip Hop / Genres
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Loud and Quiet
As the beam of his creative torch falls, in turn, upon hip hop, grime, house and funk, he demonstrates a sonic sleight of hand that is unparalleled in modern UK music as a whole, never mind the narrow confines of hip hop.
The Line of Best Fit

Bleeds is a concise and heavily focused record that can proudly sit in and amongst his best.


In the press release for Bleeds, Smith says he called the album so because he is ready to bleed for his art. There is little doubt he has done that here, and that he holds this nation close to his heart – a heart so firmly on his sleeve we can see it there, beating. It’s what makes him so important to British music today.

The Skinny

Clocking in at less than 40 minutes, Bleeds is the shortest, but arguably most eclectic and intense Roots Manuva album to date, taking in everything from Four Tet-produced electronic jitterbugs (2:11), to morose retrospectives (I Know Your Face) and experimental soul (Don’t Breathe Out).

‘Bleeds’ isn’t a flawless album, but it is diverse and imaginative. As expected, Roots Manuva still manages to bring unique inventiveness to his work.
Patient, socially conscious audiences will not only find it compelling, but galvanizing too.
To borrow one of his old album titles, this is awfully deep.
‘Bleeds’ bends and twists genres into more combinations than are possible on a Rubix cube; splicing hip-hop, techno and even classical in ways that make it one of the most original and emotionally charged British albums of the year.
The Guardian
The best songs paint him as guardian of the apocalypse, pairing his world-weary soulfulness with murky, mutant beats. Hopefully for the next album he’ll hang up his top hat and focus on those instincts instead.
There was a time when I used to ignorantly dislike UK rap but now I absolutely adore it. Roots Manuva is legendary when it comes to the UK hip hop scene, this is a good introduction to his music. Really great album, with 10 tracks it clocks in with 41 minutes. It’s a wonderful mix of UK rap, Soul and a bit of experimental rap. I hope more people check this out, really good project!

Fav tracks: Fighting for?, Hard Bastards, Stepping Hard.

Strong Eight /8
Прекраснейшие 40 минут томного альтернативного хип-хопа от ветерана этого самого хип-хопа из Британии - Рутс Манувы. В своём последнем на данный момент альбоме он выдержал уровень атмосферности и насыщенности. Взяло за душу, будет на репите!
Easily one of the most underrated albums from the past decade
Rodney Hylton Smith remains a pretty unique voice in British and world music. Blending hip hop, rap, grime and more to create an intense brooding musical experience. Like all of his best work this feels like a deep meaningful insight into troubled minds and troubled lives - delivering real messages with righteous anger and an almost poetic purpose. Bleeds is right up there among his best work - watch out for Hard Bastards, Don't Breathe Out, Me Up and I Know Your Face.
A wonderful mix of themes on this album and I still come back to it even now.

Bleeds has jazz and acoustic styles in Don't Breathe Our and Fighting For, haunting Trip Hop styles in Cargo and Stepping Hard and some more straight forward danceable bangers in Facety 2:11 and One Thing (although the latter is perhaps a little too grating and is a candidate for the worst track on the LP).

It's a very enjoyable and dexterous album and although the range of themes makes it seem a little fickle at ... read more
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Track List

  1. Hard Bastards
  2. Crying
  3. Facety 2:11
  4. Don’t Breathe Out
  5. Cargo
  6. Stepping Hard
  7. Me Up!
  8. One Thing
  9. I Know Your Face
  10. Fighting For?

Year End Lists

#29/Loud and Quiet
#94/The Quietus
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Added on: October 6, 2015