After arriving back in April with sunshine-soaked track ‘Blowin Steam (Open Up Your Mind)’, Mr Jukes and Barney Artist have been delivering captivating track after track, and they have now shared their eagerly-awaited collaborative album ‘The Locket’ with the world.
Described by us as a “fantastic collection of tunes that encompass everything from bangers to slow-jams” (more about what we thought here!), we got the pair to give us a track-by-track run through of the album and tell us all the goss on how it came to being. (Spoiler: It was a convo over pints of “we should probably do that thing that we do… you know… music.”)
So pop the album on, and check out the track-by-track below!
Jack: This song samples a song off one of my favourite albums - ‘Hang On In There’ by Mike James Kirkland. It’s one of my most played records and we were so happy when Mike gave us his blessing to use his music. It was one of the last tracks to be made for the album and in a way it sums up the whole project. We wrote the album during lockdown and it was a time when many of us looked inward and reflected on what truly mattered to us - the people, places and memories that you would put in a locket.
Blowin Steam (Open Up Your Mind)
Jack: This was the first song Barney and I worked on for this record. We met a few years ago when he did a guest verse on the first Mr Jukes album ‘God First’. We became super close but didn’t really make any music for a while. Then one day in the pub we turned to each other and said “we should probably do that thing that we do… you know… music.” I played him this beat and he wrote the two verses in an hour or two. The next thing we knew we had our first proper song together.
Barney: Jack sent me the beat for ‘Poems’ on a late Tuesday night. Immediately I got the chorus stuck in my head and the verses followed as it reminded me of a girl in secondary school that liked me for my lyrics and not my looks.
Jack: Definitely a J Dilla/Tribe inspired beat and one for a warm summer evening. This was the first song that Barney got me to sing on properly - our first duet.
Jack: This samples a fantastic record called ‘To The Establishment’ by Lou Bond. Barney heard the beat and asked me what kind of vibe I had in my head for the song. I told him to write about those journeys home you have in London after a night out… when everything feels a bit hazy. There’s definitely a Kendrick vibe going on with his delivery which I love.
Barney: I really wanted to depict scenes of London late at night including the trains, landmarks and people. I wanted the song to feel immersive. Even though we are influenced by a lot of American hip hop we wanted to bring a London feel to the album as that is where we both grew up.
Barney: Vibrate was the last song we made for the album. I told Jack he wasn’t allowed to use any samples for this one because we had run out of money clearing all the others. He went away and actually played some instruments and it became one of our favourite songs. We were inspired by a lyric in ‘Check the Rhyme’ by A Tribe Called Quest, ‘industry rule number 4080, record company people are shady.’ I was fascinated by their ability to place deep messages within catchy songs. It was like putting the medicine in the sweets.
Jack: I thought of Lex Amor as soon as I finished making the beat for this one. The album really needed a tender, intimate moment and her voice was just perfect for it. Barney had just introduced me to her album and I had it on repeat while we were making ‘The Locket’.
Barney: The song is about memories of past relationships and how painful they can be but finding freedom in accepting that they are over. Autumn is synonymous with change and making space for something new but it also seems to bring back memories of previous years.
All For You
Jack: This is a song where we swapped roles and I sang while Barney helped me with the music. We always wanted a ballad on the album to be a counterpoint to all the boom bap stuff. It’s a simple love song.
Barney: With every song that we’ve done I would always send my lyrics to Jack and we’d go through them together. Usually Jack would take out a few words from my verses so I had the pleasure of writing this song with Jack and doing the same thing to him. This is definitely one of my favourite songs on the album as I love how Jack conveys emotion with his voice.
Check The Pulse (feat. Kofi Stone)
Jack: I’ve always been a huge fan of cyphers where MCs go back to back and you get these contrasting voices like different instruments soloing in a jazz quintet. This was my favourite moment of making the album when Kofi showed up and I got to watch him and Barney go at it together. Their voices compliment each other perfectly and they just have a really natural chemistry.
Barney: We wanted all the artists featured on the album to be people we knew - an album called ‘The Locket’ should be a family affair. Kofi supported me on tour in 2019 and he was amazing. It was a pleasure to go back and forth with him on the track.
Leaving Us In Light
Barney: During the making of the album my Uncle had a Covid scare where he was hospitalised. Thankfully he’s fine now but I wrote this verse during the uncertain times and viewing death as something that is difficult but something we all have to come to terms with. We hope that this is one that helps people through any difficult times they’ve had over the last eighteen months.
Jack: What better way to end an album than with a huge gospel sample. The incredible Pastor TL Barrett and his choir lead the chorus of this track, and the message is one that permeates through the whole album - feeling grateful for what you have.
Barney: I was struggling to find the right words for this one as I knew it was super important. Jack told me to take a walk around the churchyard opposite the studio and have some quiet time. As I walked around the church the lyrics hit me and I knew exactly what to write about. This past year and a half has taught us to not take things for granted but treasure everything that we hold dear.
‘The Locket’ is out now via Locket.