Canadian Hip Hop, Eh?

[rating:8.5/10]

Abdominal

Canadian MC, Abdominal, has quickly risen from “some rapper I’ve never heard of” to “a guy who has one song I really like” to “staple in my musical diet”. To the best of my knowledge Escape from the Pigeon Hole is his only solo project, but when an album is this solid who needs another?

Toronto native, Andy Bernstein, entered the rap game in 1998, but truly hit his groove in 2003 when he teamed up with DJ Format… I can’t lie… I basically learned anything I know about Abdominal from wikipedia, so I’ll just leave my introduction at that. However, what I don’t know about Abdominal, I can make up in praise for his music.

Escape from the Pigeon Hole was first introduced to me when I mistakenly wiped out my entire music library of 6,000 or so tracks on my old PC. A friend happened to be visiting the next day and decided to get me started with repopulating my computer, he’d log into his FTP and let me grab whatever I want. I didn’t know who Abdominal was, but he said to me, “Oh, trust me, you’ll dig him,” and highlight his album as one I’d be copying. Since that time I have purchased a copy as I learned from “Walk Left/Stand Right” that telling him you download a bootleg of his CD is one of his pet peeves… I digress. After a few months, I had been digging on “Radio Friendly” and put it on a few mixes for driving and such… I figured it was time to give Abs a full shot and put the album on my hand-me-down iPod Shuffle before I headed out to the gym. A nice workout later, I was hooked.

So, what does Abs sound like? Good question… the music is very funky. Produced by the team of DJ Format, Cut Chemist, and Young Einstein, the beats are hot throughout. Vocally, his delivery is unique… powerful, fast-paced, slick, and incredibly smooth. I can’t describe exactly what I love about his flow, but I can say that I certainly do love it. The lyrics are witty, entertaining, and (at-times) well-informed. I’d have put money on the fact that he was black before I saw a picture of him, not sure why but he just sounds black. (DISCLAIMER: “Sounding Black” is not a good or bad thing, just something that seems to occur solely in Hip Hop and other “urban” genres. While my favorite MC’s range in ethnicity from black (Mos Def) to Hispanic (CookBook) to mixed (Pigeon John), vocals often present a picture of what the MC looks like… and when I close my eyes, Abs is a black dude!)

Now that I’ve taken a few paragraphs to tell you very little about anything worthwhile, let me highlight my favorite tracks in 10 in 10 fashion, along with a 1 to 5 rating of how much I dig the track. It’s hard to decide which tracks to leave out, but I hate to bore you by going on and on for 15 tracks…

“Escape”
[rating:3.5/5]
Spoken word track in tradition of the beatniks. Snap Snap!

“Breathe Later”
[rating:4/5]
Funky bass line thumps while Abdominal display his lung capacity.

“T Ode – Abdominal & Notes To Self”
[rating:3.5/5]
Ode to Abdominal’s hometown, Toronto, complete with mayoral endorsement.

“Radio Friendly”
[rating:5/5]
Misleading title, but “I don’t give a fuck.”

“Pedal Pusher”
[rating:4/5]
Abs waxes contemplative over another funk-laden beat.

“Walk Left/Stand Right”
[rating:4.5/5]
Abs expresses pet peeves over toe-tapping guitar driven backtrack.

Overall, the album can be summed up in noting the cleverness of Abdominal as an MC and the fantastic production and beats lent to Abs from Cut Chemist, Format, and Einstein. I can’t imagine too many Hip Hop fans that wouldn’t dig this LP. Check it out, I doubt you’ll be sorry.

~ by thepaintedman on August 12, 2009.

3 Responses to “Canadian Hip Hop, Eh?”

  1. yo you go Andy! you’re THE SHIT! i got a hole bunch of people talking about you at my school. I hope I can help you nad your music hit the top of the canadian hip-hop charts and then some. I hope we can jam out at the next Raps game :P and get some Harveys before.. just like old times:). Don’t give up and keep comming out with new material! ill be lesting to every song you put out their.

    Gabriel “ur cuz” Munro ( from Ottawa:P)

  2. […] like old school hip hop, bands like The Roots, underground hip hop like Sage Francis, The Coup, and Abdominal, or are a big fan of the nerdcore standouts like Front, YTC, and Beefy, then this is a must for […]

  3. […] Abdominal is awesome. Now he raps books. Check it out on this Saturday’s early edition of Free Music Monday! […]

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