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Ab Rude is deserving of a release of this caliber. He’s grown well into his character. Dues have been paid, now it’s time to recuperate. A framework has been built from the lofty esotericisms of seminal Project Blowed landmarks a la the timeless narrative “Maskaraid” and the revered Underground Fossils EP. Onto Mood Pieces (a release in which rapper Sole was once heard proclaiming be to one of ‘the best albums ever’) and the more indistinguishable, yet arguably memorable South Central Thynk Taynk. He’s set precedence within his music, garnering adoring fanfare vastly throughout the Left Hand Side. Ragga vibrations reverberating from the ever-lengthening dreadlocks only to be caught and delivered with an empowered charisma wholly unique to the Abstract Rude sound.

P.A.I.N.T. was to be released a few years back, I’m unsure if it was set to drop on the now defunct Ocean Floor Records (whom housed his last LP and re-releases of the first two) but regardless there is a noticeable musical growth found within the time span of recording amidst the18 or so track-rundown. Perhaps the Battle Axe allegiance could be the cause of the seemingly more focalized song writing found on P.A.I.N.T., that and the extensive and at times excessive collaboration efforts (30 and counting collabos from outside emcees and deejays). Though a bridge seems to be built as the listener progresses through the LP, from the Blowdian days of yesteryear (“Owls and Roosters”) to the more integrated connections (a la “Frisbee” featuring Slug , Eyedea , Busdriver , O.D.  and LMNO).

“Stop Biting”, the album’s lead single, marks a new sound and scope for the rude boy which is revisited often and variously throughout. All familiar singsong meandering is thrown quickly out of the window with a tenacious grip never heard from Ab before (think 10x’s “Ohh Imma Git Cha” – the white-label version). It’s an interesting and worthwhile change-up, yet the hazy fans of his sleepy-eyed rhythm heavy past may find it a touch jarring. If you’ve followed his music you’ll find it a natural progression. Tracks like “Yep!” (with it’s unfuckwidable bump), “Sun Sets On ‘Em” and the very memorable “She’s Always Right” (featuring fellow Scorpion Moka Only) speed along with a revitalized zip and twinkle of Battle Axe shininess.

Although, that’s not to say he’s traded in his ATUisms and Fatjack symphonies for radio spins and Rob The Viking beats. All bases are covered – “Heavyweights Round 4″ is huge (17 heads deep) even atop of faltered beat. “Brothers Forever” is succulent as a memoir of ATU’s come-up and “M-A-double S” lingers with the buzz of Mood Pieces alongside some other affiliates, Mass Men (featuring here, AWOL One , DK Toon and the forgotten I Smooth 7).

P.A.I.N.T. is multi-dimensional much like Abstract Rude’s music has been over the years. From the organic to the metallic he succeeds with the help of an army, yet never outshined or overlooked, if not leaving the listener in need of more alone-time with the man. He’s inspired numerous before the underground was considered the underground, how weary he must of grown, oh what a coat of paint might do.

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