Various Artists

Dare it be said that the idea of a turntable-driven album lay dead in the conceptual pine box of hip-hop. But don't let the disc jocks from the NYC DJ collective Tableturns hear that, for they've attempted to create a bold statement on the mutating "state of the world," a running societal commentary made when the DJ and the MC speak in unison. Roping in guest MCs like Slug (Atmosphere), Cannibal Ox, and J-Live, not to mention spin doctors like Rob Swift, DJ Quest, and Total Eclipse, doesn't hurt much either.

State of the World bills itself as an example of craftsmanship and predictability. Its cuts run deep with both basic and technically advanced scratches and songs focused on overcoming life's more difficult moments (Slug's "Keep Steppin'," J-Live's well-written story "Don't Get It Backwards"). Roli Rho's "Bring It Back" packs a punch as the DJ pieces together a supple dedication to the elder statesmen of rap with sliced-up chops from Boogie Down Productions' tracks as the paint.

As the album's chief architects, the Tableturns production team of Supa Dave and beatsmith BT makes good with the "K.I.S.S." (Keep It Simple Stupid) work ethic. But BT's simple drum patterns make for a sleepy and at times dull environment, one not completely devoid of soul but definitely lacking in spots. State of the World's heartily mixed bag of scratches, societal commentary, and top-notch guest stars is hardly unique but will undoubtedly appeal to turntablism devotees. Besides, another round never hurt anyone, now did it?

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Peter Agoston