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Album Review

Following the release of Code Name: Scorpion, a collaboration with fellow Battle Axe artist Moka Only, Abstract Rude's first legitimate solo LP gathers other prominent underground MCs for this solid autumn 2001 release. After singles for Grand Royal and Big Dada, much anticipation has built for a showing of what the deep-voiced rapper can do over an entire record, and the results prove mixed. With a baritone voice most similar to Chali 2Na and lyrical content ranging from the hip-hop game to the spirit of industry independence, AR's vocal delivery is laid-back and seems most comfortable bouncing off syncopated beats from the mid-bpm funk palette. Highlights include "Birds of a Feather," with its kinky beat and clean production; "Dawning of the A.G.E.," on which AR flows over down-home B3 organ samples and features Grouch and Eligh; and most notably, a standout collaboration with Atmosphere's Slug and Eyedea along with Busdriver and LMNO on "Frisbee," a blue-collar salute to musical liberation. Conclusively, Abstract Rule illustrates his voice's niche in hip-hop, though whether or not it can stand alone without a strong supporting cast is yet to be seen.

P.A.I.N.T., Tribe Unique
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