The H.Q. collectively comprises long time UK Hip Hop MC legends the Ice Pick, Shaka Shazzam and Grizzly as well as DJ Supreme, J. One and Brix Brown handling things on the production side. The Dutty South are Matt Chrome, Ranks, Bully Cat and Duffcott.
The H.Q. have been around now as a crew since the earliest days of UK acts getting out on wax and made their way under the tutelage of one of the biggest UK Hip Hop acts to date – Hijack. The H.Q. even featured on Hijack’s exemplary LP – The Horns Of Jericho. Dutty South have also had a long affiliation with Hijack and have been working closely with the H.Q. for getting on for three years now. Together these guys form a formidable team.
Previous to this release the crew dropped the Radio Vol. 1 CD which was distributed in limited numbers around South London, but never the less garnered some critical acclaim. Now they have dropped Volume 2 and we have to say that it is a heavy tomb of work weighing in at 26 tracks.
The CD kicks off with a dark call for the listeners to bear witness. A cockney chappie lets loose with some fantastical and comedic lines. The beat sounds basic like one of those DJ tools. The CD is presented like a radio show with a presenter taking us through the tracks. The Anthem shouts out to all South London Heads. The first introduction to Dutty South is Just To Get By which recognises all the things various people do to get by, whether on the level, or totally underhanded.
The CD feels like a specially put together project as many of the tracks reference the tape its self rather than being stand alone tracks. Keep It Real follows with an intelligent dissection of what the phrase really means and why they hate the fake usage of the term. There is some seriously heavy tracks on here and they just follow one after another.
Agent Orange is the same. A heavy beat and some lyrics which have obviously taken a bit more thought with regard to the consequences of what the words really mean and how they will be received by the listener. These artists are consummate professionals and are aware of the impact that they can have as role models and mentors.
Different tastes are catered for, Six Feet Deep upping the tempo with double paced flows and gun talk. A few of the tracks have production that sounds a bit dated with electro type sounds, but others like Ready To Bust have really catch riffs as their basis, or Skrilla which has extra added bounce.
Other club tracks would include Get Sh*t Clear, the bouncy Lay Low and the horn riddled penultimate Showdown. There is a bit of an R’n’B selection with Hate It Or Love It and The One For Me, but as you might have expected me to say, these MCs have the ability to make it sound good.
Throughout the CD an MC competition is advertised and when it finally drops it is a bit of a filler really as the MCs take this as an excuse to piss about as they pretend to be someone else. Coming after the MC Competition the Proper Badman track really hits and sounds extra hardcore. The use of the horns on this is epic. The Witness riddim gets re-flexed with another set of South London MCs. I’m afraid to say the beat is sounding a bit tired for me, but still it is good to hear these guys get busy and express themselves.
The CD is 113 minutes long, and really, they way it is put together with adverts and jingles and stuff makes it flow and although some of the lyrics are deep, there are humourous touches as well which lighten the feel. Make sure you cop this, old skool heads showing they can still do it.
Currently the crews are working together on another joint venture which should take the form of an album featuring original material from all of the artists who have featured on the mixtapes.