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About Abdominal

Toronto rapper Abdominal (aka Abs) was the very definition of old-skool and the antithesis of gangsta rap. With his smooth, easygoing, gently humorous flow, mad freestyling skills, and unique, loveable persona, he charmed listeners with his offbeat tales of everyday life. Born Andy Bernstein on February 7, 1974 to middle-class Jewish parents with a lifelong love of words (his mother was an English teacher and librarian) who encouraged him to do what he loved, he grew up in the Greektown neighborhood of Toronto and attended the prestigious Northern Secondary School, where he gained a reputation as a talented cartoonist and graphic designer. After he left school, he was part of the hip-hop crew Rushholme before teaming up with DJ Fase, with whom he released his first album, Flowtation Device, in 2001. Their single "Vinyl Frontier" caught the attention of British DJ Format, who featured Abdominal on his 2003 debut album, Music for the Mature B-Boy, and its 2005 follow-up, If You Can't Join 'Em… Beat 'Em. Abdominal's debut solo album, Escape from the Pigeon Hole, dropped in 2007. The 2012 follow-up, Sitting Music, sidestepped traditional hip-hop entirely: a collaboration with acoustic duo the Obliques, it saw him rapping (and singing) over a sparse backing of guitar and percussion and featured a song, "Courage," co-written and co-performed by his then-61-year-old mother. In 2015, they gave a TED talk together about the experience entitled "Courage: Why I Wrote a Rap Song with My Mom." Abdominal returned to "proper" hip-hop in his 2017 album with DJ Format, Still Hungry, the first on which the pair shared equal billing. ~ John D. Buchanan

Toronto, Canada
7 Feb 1974

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