UK Hip Hop: International
Mecca 2 Medina - Seeing Through The Smoke EP [Behind The Groove]
Mecca 2 Medina
Mecca 2 Medina
After quite a time away from putting out tunes the Mecca 2 Medina crew are back with a release on the new Behind The Groove Records label. Mecca 2 Medina's members have a great pedigree in UK Hip Hop and this for some will be their third, or more reincarnation. Members have graduated from the Cash Crew who were putting out records 15 years ago and were signed to Virgin, whilst others came from the Strictly Business Crew and West London's Black Magic Sound System. The main thing that binds this crew together is their Islamic faith and they all use their music to spread the words of Allah. Since they burst onto the scene in 1996 with their Life After Death Ep, they were hot for a while, worked with loads of people and had several TV slots, but then went underground again for whatever reasons.

So, what do we get with Seeing Through The Smoke then? Four well put together tracks, that show these guys are not playing at this. As with their music so many years ago the quality and experience shines through, and if they play their cards right this time, their success could be bigger than they have had before. The Ep opens with a meaningful instruction to Stop The Violence, which is produced in-house by Rakin. It opens with a fanfare and a mock up radio news show which is focusing on gun crime in North West London. Interviewees explain how they are frightened to go out and how guns are accessible. When the track gets going a deep tale of ghetto yutes shooting each other for gold rings and estate gang life is described. The chanted chorus urges us to "stop the violence it's unconstructive". In the third verse they point out that the reality is that people die, members of peoples families and contrast this with the glorification of violence and how these tragic sides aren't really shown in films. The beat is just solid rather than outstanding. 

It is track two, Telly Addicts, where the EP really gets moving. This time the production is by up and coming Zaki. He has his finger on the pulse and hooks up a true banger of a backing full of bounce, utilising stabs, faint guitar strumming and at the same time keeping the sequence simple, allowing the right amount of room for the MCs to get busy. This time the crew are pointing out to us that we shouldn't believe everything we see on the old goggle box. They explain that there are loads of conspiracy theories and that the press are just as bad. You have to explore things for yourself and if you just get your info from the telly you'll get a warped view of the world. Their answer comes from the Koran, whilst I might not agree with that, I full agree with them that you have to read behind the lines and not just be spoon fed by the medias that have their own agendas. This is the sort of track I like.

Seeing Through The Smoke is again produced by Rakin and this time is a more laid back, rather than intense feel and is permeated with some old skool drum machine snare and a more abstract bass and occasional high wibbly effect. There is a RnB female vocalist who gets busy singing on the chorus, asking if MCs know their history and if they know who they want to be. 

The final track, Hypocrites is produced by another old timer - DJ Biziness and is just straight up Hip Hop. The drum break gives the groove an older feel, but the lyrics and Synth riff give a thoroughly jumping track. As usual there is much more to the lyrics than simple blinging or gangsta play, there is a message and modern day parable to discover.

Overall this is a strong comeback record which flips a variety of styles, but at its core has intelligence and education. Both of these commodities are becoming increasingly scarce with the younger generations and I for one think it is about time people got a bit more realistic about their responsibilities within society and stopped being so apathetic and taking everything that is thrown at them. For this reason alone I hope that Mecca 2 Medina get a fair go this time, but that isn't the only reason. The crew have skills and a lot to offer, and certainly have the desire to make it work. Get out and help them make it happen this time.

Visit Mecca 2 Medina on the web: www.mecca2m.com

Intro Early Doors:
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Underground Years:
The Renaissance:
1995- 2000
The Future:
2000 & Beyond
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