This is the full-length debut from Midwest underground collective United Grind. Consisting of Ohio duo Play Havoc alongside Detroit quartet GameChangers, the crew initially formed about a decade ago with all 6 members putting in work throughout the independent hip hop scene both individually & as a unit. So in order for the crew to take their profile up to the next level, the sextet is getting together for an official full-length debut collectively.
“Step Lively” opens the album with some kicks, snares & pianos as HiJinks, Lee Harvey & R.E.D. all belittle anyone who dares to step up to them on the mic whereas “Give It Back” finds everybody over some dusty boom bap production obliterating all wack emcees. Vice Souletric & GameChangers stick around for “Got Somethin’” talking about being the illest spitting without even trying to front over a sample-based instrumental, but then “Ambush Ballad” by HiJinks & Lena Jackson says it all very well down to the cavernous boom bap beat as well as the warmongering lyrics.
Moving on to “Similar”, we have Play Havoc on top of a trap instrumental with a vocal loop delivering that signature O State tempature just before the GameChangers shine on their own with “Doin’ This All Night” returning to the boom bap with his mood being treating every single joint he hops on as food leading into the aptly titled Juggernaut June solo cut “Cut Throat” fusing some horns & keys. The energizing “M.A.M.N. (Me & My Neighbors)” by Benny the Butcher, G. Huff & HiJinks makes it clear you don’t want issue with them while the Vice Souletric solo cut “Real Wild” aggressively let’s y’all in on how they keep it.
“Grimey Love” by GameChangers has a more vibrant tone getting on his fly shit while “The Order” by Play Havoc, G. Huff, Che Noir weave some more pianos talking about how it be like another hobby bar for bar. The penultimate track “Undercover Goons” HiJinks & Juggernaut June keeps the well-flipped samples going declaring themselves to be such with HiJinks ending the album on his own throughout “Body Bag” making it clear that United Grind be a problem.
Being a midwesterner myself, the United Grind really got something going on with this debut album here & to see the outfit continuing to elevate musically from here is definitely worth keeping an eye on. It’s really fresh to hear every single member getting a chance to shine as they each have something that makes them stand out in their own unique ways & make it clear that they’re living proof of hip hop always evolving over tight production.