February 10, 2013

Record Reaction: AB – Bombarded With Barrs

There’s not much information out there about UK-based rapper AB, although I do know that he hails from Liverpool, England. One thing that is certain about him is he is decidedly underground. And whether by choice or not, that aspect to his situation characterizes his sound — everything is dusty, loose, and endearing, just like the old school classic hip-hop that we all love so dearly.

AB would probably like for his work to be considered cinematic. His record opens up with the well-known 20th Century Fox fanfare, and from there, every track is energized, engaging, and produced with an eye to detail.

What I like most about this record is its vibe. From the opening track, and its jazzy piano trills, the whole record is remarkably relaxed and laid back. In an age where the most consistent trend in hip-hop is to yell and yell louder, it’s refreshing to have an emcee who is strong and engaging but also restrained. I can see myself throwing on this record for a kickback with friends, or simply to decompress after a long day. This might not be the soundtrack for your raging party night, but as a result it might provide you with a much more rewarding and engaging listening experience.

The production on this record is standout. It drives the record, keeping it on track, and keeping the listener engaged when our faithful emcee might falter, or his vocal stylings briefly reduce to monotony. And additionally, a skit here and there doesn’t hurt at all.

This record features less boasting and punch lines and more wordplay than the typical rap release that we’ve become accustomed to. It seems AB doesn’t look up to the A$AP Rockys and Drakes of the world, as much as he values the work of artists like People Under the Stairs, Binary Stars, and Blue Scholars. This is heard especially on the title track and album closer, where he goes off for a full 5 minutes with conscious flows that are all substance. But don’t mistake AB for a purely conscious rapper. He has more than enough personality, some hypnotizing beats, and mostly universal concepts to be able to make it in the pop scene in addition to the underground.

In the end, AB has crafted an interesting debut record. I’m impressed with a lot of his rapping, his choice in beats and production, and most of all, his vibe and his style. AB has the tools to go to work. All that’s left for him to do is craft sound even further.

What we have here is a truly talented rapper in training – left at a crossroads in the maturation of his sound. He can really go anywhere from here. I don’t care what he ends up doing, but I do know one thing. I want more.

All in all, this is a very solid debut from a unique, solid rapper. Rap fans, check it out.

You can download this record for free at his Bandcamp page. Give an up and coming artist some love!


Image Credit: AB

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