The AbSoulJah – Dim The Light (2014)

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Artist: The AbSoulJah

Album: Dim The Light

Tracklisting:

1. Fork in the Road (Beat by JFX Productions)
2. World Don’t Love ft. Streets Goon & HalfaBrick (Beat by Shaolin Beatmaker)
3. In Motion (Beat by DJ Simsima)
4. Lost in a Moment (Prod. by I.N.C.H)
5. Nighttime Dwelling ft. Spicco (Prod. by DJ Low Cut)
6. The Real Type (Prod. by Soulslicers)
7. No Plans (Beat by NoyZ)
8. Stand Strong (Prod. by Machine Gun Funk)
9. Grand Goon (Beat by H.Lava)
10. The Marriage (Beat by Keko Beats)
11. In My Element
12. Next Life
13. No Serenity (Beat by Keko Beats)
14. How It Is ft. Angry Man (Beat by Manu Beats)
15. Get Well Soon (Beat by Ugly Tony)

Note:

I have been waiting and waiting for Ab to drop this album (and I took forever to do the review so I can’t talk much).  I will say I have been checking for this release for about two years.  I got an unofficial listen last year sometime, and after a lot of prodding I thought the project was just going to be shelved.  Needless to say, I am glad that it saw the light of day.  In discussing the album with some heads a couple of weeks ago, someone made the comment that they wished this was the type of music that Mobb Deep still made.   I concur.   The AbSoulJah has made a career of dropping that street realism with wordplay that keeps things continuously interesting.   He never gets monotonous and keeps the listener engaged constantly.

The much respected DJ Low Cut creates a very mellow banger in Nighttime Dwelling for Ab to rock over.   The production consists of  cascading keys that almost sound like a xylophone.  The track is all about the lifestyle that The AbSoulJah is living.   The track also features the Team Thoro team member, Spicco, making this joint more of a family affair.    This is the type of cut you ride to on a late night out in the city.  So set your speed to creep and put the radio on blast when this track comes on.

One of my favorite cuts is Stand Strong which features production from Machine Gun Funk.  This is a solemn banger that utilizes strings and guitar over a banging beat.   This is also the track where The AbSoulJah sounds resolute in fighting on his own two feet rather than living on his knees for the whims of others.  It’s a really tough track.

Literally, one tough track seems to lead right into another on Dim The Light, because after Stand Strong, comes Grand Goon.   The beat by H.Lava is simplistic yet rich simultaneously.  I love the subtle vocal sample that he uses with the orchestral string sample.   You hear great wordplay across the spectrum of the album, but here is one small sample so you can get the gist of what is going:

…Every page / Another way out the deadly maze /   Son hold tears drown in Henny waves / Set it straight / Straight liquor / Straight thinker / Page flipper / Gauge gripper / Same struggle but our pains differ / Suffering hardships at a life speed / Grand Goon, hold a tool and you might bleed…

There are no  tracks in which you should skip on this album, but for the sake of the review,  I want to jump down to the last track, Get Well Soon.  The track is a dedication to the health of French producer, Ugly Tony.    The AbSoulJah put me onto the production of Ugly Tony in 2011 when he dropped his album, At Nightfall.  I actually wound up doing a review of the album, and the man is an incredible beatsmith.   This particular production has a lot of bounce but also is deep in soul.   And what better way for an emcee to pay homage to a producer than slaying one of his creations?  None better.  We too wish you good health, Ugly Tony.

The AbSoulJah take his time with his craft.  Nothing seems rushed or compromised with Dim The Light.   The album is quintessential New York, with rhymes and beats that carry you back to some of the city’s finest artists from the mid 1990s.   But this isn’t your older brother’s hip hop.  Ab is a truly gifted emcee whose lyricism is far more advanced than that era.  The words and phrases come in abundance and he stays away from the typical simile and metaphor style.  He brings a unique writing element to all of his releases which is embellished on Dim The Light, undoubtedly making this release a staple in the 2014 rotation.

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