So… July 23rd sees the UK State Of Mind CD hit record stores nationwide and I've recently received my preview copy courtesy of DJ Vokal and Park Street PR. This is a really strong CD and I want to break down what you're getting here if you part with cash for a copy when it drops.
The tunes span the spectrum from previously released tunes from acts such as Braintax ("Last Tenner") and TY through spots by HHB affiliates including UK Runnings (Late, Conman and Jai-Boo's "Open Your Eyes"), Evil Ed ("BBQ"), Izzy G and The Petebox, on to stuff sourced from the OYM (Occupy Your Mind) label / collective headed by Vokal and Lunatrix. A lot of the production is handled by in-house talent – Kroscene, Kid Radikal, Luna and Vokal – and there are several welcome vocal appearances from Reload plus Kid Rad's solo debut single "Signs". There are indicators here that Reload's forthcoming album in particular is going to be well worth looking out for – his voice and flow are instantly recognisable and he holds his own well on tracks at each end of the set plus a couple of appearances alongside Suparnova.
The overall feel of "UK State Of Mind" is of a thoroughly eclectic and well-constructed compilation of tunes put together by an organisation with real roots in the UK scene. Track selection is excellent… for example, the Last Skeptik B-side "March" featuring Verb T, Sway and Kyza is a killer combination of three well-known MCs who you might not have heard together on a track before and the Elementz remix of Shameless' "Fast Life" sits better with the other tunes here than the original would have, great though the first version was. HHB have a large repertoire of contacts and collaborators to pick from and have the good taste and ability to make the best of it all.
I should mention that it's great to hear Joe Gutta (host of the HHB Mix CD Volume 2) show up alongside Bigga on "64 Bars". There are also unexpected pleasures such as Late explaining the origins of his interest in "Chopped & Screwed"… this is from a guy who's been into Southern US Hip-Hop before even Outkast and Ludacris were well known and long before the whole "Dirty South" thing became painfully fashionable / ubiquitous. Follow up on this if you will by checking out the two different versions of "Swangin' & Bangin'" by ESG and DJ Screw. On this CD, we get HHB's own take on the Screw sound in terms of a slowed-up, double-beated mainpulation of "Open You Eyes".
The mood and feel of the CD move smoothly through all points thanks to astute sequencing and tight but unobtrusive mixing by Vokal. Humour, energy, agression, intelligence, melancholy… there's tracks on here to cover most moods and (as should be the case with any good album) you're led from one to another seamlessly.
This is going to be your go-to if you want a taste of what's currently going down in the Midlands or if you simply fancy a new take on the UK sound. Distribution will take in HMV, Virgin, Amazon and itunes so if you're interested you shouldn't have any trouble getting hold of it.
More info available from the links below:
Check out the station itself at HHB Radio Dot Com.