Mindstate Mix: Volume 1

Sunday, December 5, 2010

If Baltimore’s Hip Hop and spoken word scene continues on the path that it is, it’s well on its way to becoming the new Brooklyn for under-the-radar artists and producers.

One of the groups at the helm of Baltimore’s music scene is the Mindstate Mix collective, with their first release, Mindstate Mix: Volume 1. The first seedlings of this record were planted back in Summer 2008 when Jamaal Collier aka Black Root, also one half of the creative duo Axiom, and Jasmine “J Pope” decided to showcase the many un-heard or un-signed, but deeply talented artists on the Baltimore music scene. Local D.C, Maryland, and Virginia favorites Wordslave, J-pope, Simba, Phoenix Soul, Blackroot, LOVE the Poet, Ab Rock and others pepper the album with their lyrics.

Mindstate Mix brings a perfect balance of well-tempered and hard-hitting beats that respectively work to spotlight the lyrics on each track. Black Root and J Pope were executive producers on the album and were in good hands with a host of other Baltimore-producers such as DJ Supastar, DJ J-Who? Worldwise, DJ Excel, The Other Guys, Ms. Tris Beats,  not to mention a cameo appearance by The Last Poets legend Umar Bin Hassan. But built on top of an of already focused production crew behind the scenes, the poets, MC, and singers themselves delivered the album's key message of awakening one’s knowledge and enlightenment by chanting “Mind Freedom!” interspersedly.
Mindstate Mix co-creator J-Pope sounds like the long-awaited re-birth of the female MC taking cues from the likes of Mc-Lyte, Queen Latifah, and Jean Grae It’s evident that the producers are vinyl fiends, bred in the basements where Golden-era Hip Hop albums and samples met and fell in love. That comes across clearly on tracks like “Principle 11” or “Weight with Words”, where the faint crackling of a spinning record. Tracks like “Libation” add a bit of a Caribbean breeze reminiscent of Reggae love king Alton Ellis.

Local artists could always use more love. Visit Mindstate Mix.com to find out where you can buy the album. And feel free to hit up the site to find out where you can see members of the collective perform at Mindstate Mix UNPLUGGED events across the DMV.

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