Artist: VariousTitle: State of The WorldRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Brolin Winning
The second full-length from Brooklyn’s Tableturns label/collective (following Rob Swift’s excellent Sound Event,) State of the World gives shine to some of the game’s nicest deck destroyers, as well as a few choice emcees. Thirteen tracks deep, the compilation is definitely DJ-centric, though you don’t have to be a scratch-a-holic to get into it.
The contributing artist listing reads like a who’s who of Technics technicians, featuring the likes of Total Eclipse (X-ecutioners,) Roli Rho (5th Platoon), Rob Swift, and Bay Area OG, DJ Quest. New York’s Supa Dave kicks things off on the introductory track “Get Prepared,” a triumphant banger laced with lightning fast cuts, menacing vocal samples, eerie flutes and rugged drum crashes. He also gets nice on “Wake Up!” reconfiguring a grip of KRS clips set to sparse rimshots and Asian strings. Roli Rho goes off on the furiously fresh “Bring It Back,” while Swift and Quest join forces on the dope tag-team closer “The Pledge.”
Rhyme-wise, we get treats from Invisible, an up-and-coming Brooklyn cat who struts his stuff on a pair of joints, most notably “Streets Be Testin’ You,” an instantly likeable jam built on smooth horns and some seriously funked-out bass action. Keep an eye out for his debut LP, dropping later this year. Harlem heroes Cannibal Ox represent on the spaced-out “Cosmos,” while J-Live drops gems a plenty on “Don’t Get It Backwards,” flipping slick basketball metaphors over backwards boom-baps and sharp cuts. Also key is “Uplift,” with Manifest and Mondee, as well as the political and thought-provoking “Freedom???” which uses assorted dialogue clips, equating the notoriously racist U.S. prison system with modern-day slavery.
Balancing positive and insightful wordplay with quality production and all-star DJ throw-downs, the album is a solid mix, ideal for heads who shy away from the lyrically vacant, iced-out party rap that dominates the airwaves. Intelligent without sacrificing the funk, State of the World is an impressive collection well worth checking out.