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4everevolution

Every year we have the predictable furore surrounding the purpose of the MOBOs - that's the Music of Black Origin Awards to those who don't take too kindly to acronyms. The whole point of the awards is called into question as the complexion of most of those nominated slides towards the paler end of the spectrum and more of the music gets the club pop overhaul courtesy of Calvin Harris, David Guetta and fellow audio prostitute Pitbull. I'm not averse to a bit of latino reggaeton and some Daddy Yankee, but this euro club chart invasion has got to stop somewhere. I digress.

Far be it for anyone to complain about the purity of 'black culture' or the supposed evolution of music of black origin as opposed to the dilution of it. Does the term really have any relevance at all if the folks making this music are all the colours of the rainbow? Again, I digress.

Rodney Smith's latest gift to the world is a mish-mash of electro, 'wonky reggae', garage, hip hop and funk, which despite this description doesn't really slot into what one's neatly-formed preconceptions of black and British music might be.

Having confessed to being more about the subtleties in his music these days, his 'Witness the Fitness' on this album comes in the guise of a nonetoo- subtle dancefloor number. Those who haven't heard the radio edit of the Toddla T collab 'Watch Me Dance' have obviously been living under a very accommodating rock this summer. Working some 80s synths and syncopated claps, the track fits well with Smiths's off-key and purposefully lazy delivery. 'Skid Valley' is the antithesis of 'Watch Me Dance'. Bleak, overcast broken Britain - "Birth place of the gentleman / Who ain't gentle when / He wants to gentrify" - is dissected as Smith discusses the perils of gastric bands and the irony of immigration: "Get off the boat and chase the dream". The climatic, string-accompanied chorus is provided by Skin from angsty 90s group Skunk Anansie, who I think once won a Kerrang award.

'Wha Mek' is a sombre ballad about the frustration of not living up to the expectations of others. The upbeat, distorted steel drum effects offset Ricki Rankin's evangelical warblings quite nicely. My personal favourite 'Here We Go Again' features a pulsating, ominous bassline that nods towards George Clinton's 'Atomic Dog' and remains on the right side of wob wob, without a drop. Phew.

Smith's deep and (for want of a better word) creamy tones provide a distinctive stamp on his own and other's releases without any sign of waning or irritating. Banana Klan member Ricki Rankin can also be heard all over the shop, while 'The Path' features youthful Gamelan mistress and fellow Big Dadaist Elan Tamara. The album plays host to a number of disparate elements in terms of guest appearances and influences, all of which come together to create a very British commonwealth dish, one that is itself deep and creamy. I digress. Just give him the Mercury music prize or something.