The Riddim Killa is back. Rodney P, the original rap rude boy, has put out a UK hip hop gem; melding hip hop, reggae and the urban British experience with great panache.
MC Rodney P's influence on the local scene is immense. His CV starts in the late 80s, whenhe waspart of the London Posse, one of the UK's first home-grown hip hop acts. More recently he became (along with long time collaborator, Skitz) a BBC radio presenter on 1xtra, one of the hottest urban music stations on the block. We've been waiting for this, his first solo album, for some time.
His street stories are vivid and clear. In title track "The Future", he paints the picture of a young black male, dealing drugs and falling in with gang culture. He calls for this symbolic character to 'read a book, read Malcolm or Martin Luther or Marcus.' The sort of conscious rap his reggae forebears would most definitely approve of.
It's not all serious stuff. On theparty track "I dont care (Time to Party)" he is joined by Mysto,the bass heavy beats providing a challenge to any speaker stack. He brags a little as the raggamuffin who jus' don't care, discusses his female preferences and suggests he's a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor.
Rodney exposes just a little soft-underbelly on the superbly produced "Fading", yet another reggae-infused beauty which tells the story of living up to one's potential, and trying so desperately hard not to fade away in the face of adversity. 'and you know we aint promised tomorrow', he wisely proncounces.
The rapping is sometimes let down by pedestrian production, but not enough to colour the album badly. Rodney is clearly the star of the show, andhis skills and integrity shine out in a musical landscape littered with production line crap. Let's hope we don't have to wait over a decade for the next album!