Review: Abstract Soundz – Abstract Archives

For fans of golden era boom-bap, jazzy samples, and raw, technical lyricism, here is an underground gem that will leave your head nodding and your mind liberated. While boom-bap emcees are seemingly harder to find in contemporary rap circles, multinational producer Abstract Soundz has pulled together some top-tier lyricists from around the world on his first collaboration album Abstract Archives. Born in the UK, Abstract Soundz moved to Vietnam in 2016, where he continued to work with the artists he built relationships with in the US, UK, and South Africa. Over the last several years, he has collaborated and developed the Abstract Archives album with names like Sus Bully, Lady Sanity, Louis Vines, Ak Doja, Optic, Cosmic Rayne, Blaise, and Woar2. Abstract Archives combines the elements of great emceeing with the dusty, gritty sounds and styles we admire from 90s producers like Large Professor, Lord Finesse, etc.

“You’ll reach your potential through these instrumentals 
They sound like the guides to our lives” Optic - Substance

Each emcee on Abstract Archives brings unique rhythm and content to the project. Many of the songs on the albums deal with the elements of hip-hop culture. For example, the verses from AK Doja focus on the art of emceeing, with more introspective rhymes that are just as deep as they are technical. UK emcees like Sus Bully and Lady Sanity speak more on conscious topics, reflecting on the pandemic, poverty in the inner cities, violence, outdated social constructs, and government corruption. Thematically, Abstract Archives takes place in a concrete jungle, where, ironically, many metaphors are connecting to nature amidst the well-populated urban areas described by each emcee. In many ways, Abstract Soundz produces an album that lyrically and sonically is reminiscent of the golden era, as the albums featured emcees detail the hardships of the streets and the perseverance of hip-hop culture.

“The sunset causes shadows on the ceiling 
You dim your voice you can hear the city breathing You stand still, you can feel it in your chest 
And I know I'll still feel it even when I've flown the nest” Louis Vines - Hear The City Breathe

The variations of British, American, and South African accents give Abstract Archives a unique flavor behind the bass-heavy snare snaps of Abstract Soundz production. This album is cohesive sonically, with consistent rhythms and quality. The cuts from Risk 1 and DJ Stav also give Abstract Archives that extra layer of authenticity that will take you all the way back to when you first fell in love with hip-hop! Abstract Archives is available now on all platforms, including Spotify, YouTube, and is available for download on Bandcamp.

“The music diffuses tension for relief 
It could be surreal or unique 
It's a dark world - look at the brighter side of things Please I don't associate with disbelief” Ak Doja - Diffuse

Favorite Songs: Wander, Fly Love Lingo, Escape


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