Sunday 19 February 2017



Well it’s been a long time coming but, finally I have been able to review the full album, and from the promo tracks I reviewed a while back this time could not come soon enough.

What made reviewing this so cool was the fact that I picked up the vinyl from the man himself. On a bloody freezing cold Saturday afternoon in January, My brother and I made are way to the Grapes Public Drinking establishment in Oxford Street Southampton. A Pub that has not changed that much from the years of my youth pissing it on the weekends, only the excessive price of a pint has changed.
As we sat down with our Pints, I spotted Mr Mic Nitro heading toward the Pub, Vinyl in hand, and we all greeted each other and were about to sit down when someone shouted “Shut the Fuckin’ door” many of the other blokes in the pub know him well and this pretty much set the tone for next couple of hours of Hip Hop related jovial banter and the like. Having a laugh over a pint like we had been mates for years!
What was apparent from talking to UMN was that this guy knows his stuff. Not just about Hip Hop But, also about the business behind the scenes. He knows the industry, knows what he likes and what he wants. With plenty of those crazy life stories to pull out and kick it to you, straight up, no bullshit. Some to make to laugh and some to make you sit back and think ‘Damn, Fuck’, The sort of shit that crafts a boy to man. Made all the more appropriate as we all grew up in the same city around the same time and often did the same crazy shit and probably rubbed shoulders over the years and never realised.

Mic Nitro has been perfecting his craft for years. Previously a member of the Dark Craftsmen those years had an important impact on him. Something he said stuck with me, as he spoke about the process of bringing Mind State Krakatoa to its release. He said about how those listening rarely think about the music past the length of the 10 tracks. They don’t realise that an album is 15 – 20 tracks and hours of hard work. Putting the tracks together, writing, getting the beats, getting the guests to feature on the tracks, it’s all about deciding which tracks don’t make the cut. Mind State could easily have been a double album. Don’t forget the hard work of the production, design work and everything else behind the scenes that has to be done before you get the chance to the wax in your hand. The reason this stuck with me was the day’s long past when I would have similar conversations with a friend who was also a legend in the UK scene.

It took me nearly a month or more to get from then till now. Work, holiday and personal stuff had to come first but, finally I put the Needle to the Groove and Damn! I ain’t disappointed!
This album hits from all sides the moment it explodes into your eardrums. I AM VOLCANO erupts, just like a musical Volcano, hitting you full on and letting you just who the fuck he is, and just as you are about to recover the EYE OF THE STORM looms and casts a huge shadow over you, letting you know we all struggle through our own Dark Times. You realise that the ferocity is only just beginning when FUKUSHIMA bursts forth with UMN’s former Dark Craftsman partner featuring unleashing molten magma of lyrical heat that begins to cook you from the head down. Then you’re in for lull, as WORK IT OUT issues forth and UMN explores social media and just what is true friendship. But, just when you thought it was safe the legendary CED GEE schools you to some Hip Hop history and then UMN, Chrome and Curoc, hit you with the pyroclastic cloud that is BACK TO BASICS, knocking you into the middle of next week.  

The only point it lets up is when you flip the record over But, and once that needle is back in the groove the molten magma onslaught continues with BOBBY FISCHER, everything about him is fresher than fresh. COOKED floats in as you float along the river of lyrical magma and draws on a true life story of friendship and death. Suddenly you are brought back to life the BOMERMAN EXPERT telling just how it is, reminding you you’re on the edge and letting you fall. As you’re FALLING you’re reminded that it’s fucking hard living this life when you’re told what’s right n’ wrong. As you fall something hits you? It’s the MIND STATE KRAKATOA and you realise that UMN with Cappo and Phill Most Chill, have just awakened you to the fact your now caught up in the UMN Lyrical Mind State, floating endlessly till the pressure builds and erupts again and you are left wondering what the fuck just happened.

For me this album displays the work of someone waiting till the time was right to drop lyrical versatility that comes from experience and knowledge. It demonstrates a mixture of a hardcore true life, open mic battle vibe but, tinged with a poetic side that allows you to experience the emotions to the core.

Overall, I really can’t find anything negative to say about the album. I have played through a few times and as a debut Album this eclipses the ‘Now that’s what I call Music’ Rappers, keeping them in permanent shadow. 
This Album is straight up, hard core UK Hip Hop. I’m not a favourite of the Britcore monocle But, However you look at it and label it, this is just what the scene needs and what I remember about the days of old. Small labels releasing hard core underground artists who made music for the love of what they did and not for the love of money! 

Bournemouth based B-Line Recordings are certainly bringing back the Hard Core. Bringing artists with a passion for a scene and sound that is taking the mould and beating the shit out of it and re-crafting it in their own unique style!  The South Coast of England is most definately in Full Effect Boyee...

Production on MSK comes from Ryan Mac, DJ Eyre, Speaks and Ollie Knight. With these guys adding a much needed production talent, I can see an exceptional future in store for the UK Hip Hop scene.
The awesome Art design on MSK was by the skilled John Dyer bringing a visual dopeness to the whole package. Showing hidden delights that have inspired UMN along the way! Some have a link to the lyrics of the album. While some have a link to things to come, perhaps?

All in all this is wicked package and If, for whatever reason, you don’t have this, Get It! Plain and simple, cos you won’t be disappointed.
Oh! I suggest you try and get the vinyl, because that is how hip hop should be played. There is nothing like the crackle as the record spins and needle flows through the groove. Brings back good memories of the golden age!

Steve Rider, February 2017.

12” Red Vinyl with full colour sleeve and insert.
Released by B-Line Recordings –
Now available, digitally mastered (so good to play in the car or on your walkman J) from: