Various Artists - Raw Materials 2      
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written by Hugo Lunny    
'Raw Materials' was received very well by many. It exposed a lot of people to UK rappers that ordinarily they wouldn't have noticed or checked had they not heard them on 'Raw Materials.' Seeing as that compilation was well received, Stonegroove put out a sequel to it, with some artists added to the compilation roster and some removed from it(where's Apollo????)...

The compilation kicks off with something fairly alike the Last Emperor's 'Secret Wars' by the Last Man Standing. The title of the track is 'Call To Arms,' it features rhymes talking about the artists from the UK uniting so that they can get the music out. L.M.S. states names of groups and artists, involving them within the track and in doing so get their names heard of which is a nice form of promoting them.

We then are lead into the track, which was released to promote this compilation. 'I'll Try' by The Nextmen and Rodney P is a definite winner. The US underground has had The Nextmen on their lips recently due to the release of their LP (they're a production group), and Rodney P should be the next thing to be talked about by them due to his performance here. He basically talks about how he wants a girl who will be dedicated and understanding towards him, and how he'll always try to be perfect, but never will achieve it. Now, before your opinion of this track becomes one where you believe it's a soppy love song, think again, this is done very well with smooth rhymes beginning with "I want a honey with a tight hymen to buy me diamonds." Plain and simply dope. This, however, is not my favourite track on the compilation. No, the one which most captivates me is 'The Last Days' by Mystro and Blufoot. Mystro is awesome on the mic, there's no doubt about that. Both flow-wise and lyrically he comes off excellently. On this track he rhymes with the main subject being "I'm gonna go for what I want now, I'm not gonna just talk about it, I'm gonna do it." Blufoot laced some intense beats to sit beneath Mystro and it works wonders. Definitely check for Mystro now and in the future.

'Exodust' by Braintax is another track worthy of mentioning in a high regard. It's another one of my choice cuts on 'Raw Materials 2.' Braintax rhymes with depth on air pollution. He not only created a track which actually had a worthy subject, but he rhymes well within it, improving it further. Truly dope.

There are a variety of enjoyable tracks on here; for instance, 'One Plan' by Doc Brown has some cool rhymes and a hook consisting of a Large Professor sample. Doc comes off with some amusing lines such as "I ain't your average rapper rhyming nigga with nigga" and "My mum said never be a quitter, and never be outdone by someone who comes shitter." Also, there's 'Don Gramma' by Karl Hinds is a cool cut. It's the UK version of Big L's 'Ebonics' - literally, and he states so. Anyone from the UK should understand all the words he mentions without needing Hinds' explanation, however it may be pretty helpful to anyone outside of there. Initially I wasn't really feeling this cut, but it really did grow on me immensely, well worth checking this track. Another cool joint worth mentioning is 'Music From The Corner' by Task Force - a dope effort produced by Chester P.

'As The World Turns,' a track by my boys The Planets is disappointing. It's not one of their best, however it's still pretty dope. Nomadic laced a nice, relaxed beat, and though the rhymes are pretty well done, I'm really not feeling the hook. I feel if it were removed, I'd enjoy it a whole lot more.

The only track which I'm not feeling is 'Other Side Of The Mountain' by Krispy. I'm not feeling Krispy much on this at all. The beat isn't too great and what Krispy provides on the hook and on the actual track isn't what I would really call quality. Without a doubt, this is my least favourite cut on the compilation.

'Raw Materials 2' finishes on a somber note with 'A New Beginning' by Beyond There featuring David Badjah. The track is well constructed and though the lyrics aren't amazing, the beat envelops you so much that it doesn't matter. The track actually makes you feel involved somewhat.

Stonegroove seem intent on exposing the UK Hip Hop scene, and I for one am glad of that. This is the second compilation by the label comprising of tracks from artists hailing from the UK alone. There are group cuts, solo tracks and collaborations geared towards exposing the talent that the UK has. I'd suggest you pick this up to find out exactly what you're missing out on.

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