People familiar with the Leeds hip hop scene will have heard ABD in earlier incarnations as part of Alphabetix and 30 Tonne Slug. Over the last 12 months or so he’s dropped a few beats on social media that have had me pricking up my ears and bombarding him with requests for MP3 files. So I was excited when he pinged me a link for a first listen to his new mixtape. Excited and a tiny bit apprehensive because, full disclosure, living in Leeds I generally try to avoid reviewing material from people who I am likely to bump into queuing at the bar on a night out. It can get kinda awkward. Here at Rhyme and Reason towers we’ve a policy of only promoting things we love, and ignoring the stuff that we don’t (or offering feedback privately if we’re asked for it). What’s the point of spreading negativity with a poor review? Who does that help? We just want to point you in the direction of the good stuff and spread some love.
Happily, this review poses no quandaries for me because this is a great mixtape that showcases ABD’s sharp lyrical skills, and his musical sensibilities that are firmly based in the boom-bap camp, with a keen ear for a soulful sample: check out I.O.U. Doo Doo.
The lyrical content here traverses the personal (Wonky-Tonk Sonnet, Gemini Tiger), the political (Black Lives Matter), the observational (Copper Choppers) and good old fashioned battle raps alongside fellow local heroes Jack Danz and Versatile (As Tech). Of course I can’t hand on heart say that I love every track: “Bitch Friend” isn’t for me, and though I can appreciate the skills the reggae tinged “More Loyalty” isn’t really my bag.
But these quibbles are MORE than balanced out by two tracks towards the end of the mixtape that have been on solid repeat in my headphones. The insistent bell-like percussion and inspired use of a Louis Theroux sample on “Leave the Beef Alone” sounds genuinely fresh, and “Maybe” is a beautiful and uplifting song that will raise the saddest of spirits in the darkest of times.
Nice work. Go show the man some love and loosen up your purse strings over at Bandcamp!
Words by Vicky T