Monday, July 11, 2016

ABK takes a lighter look at the spiritual world

10-28-10 Originally published on Examiner.com by Tracy Heck



Detroit underground rapper Anybody Killa (ABK) recently released his fourth album Medicine Bag, which is his third album on the Psychopathic Records label led by horrorcore rappers Insane Clown Posse (ICP).

ABK's music stands out on the Psychopathic roster not only because of his unique delivery due to his distinctive lisp but also because of the fact that he is one of only a few Native American rappers.

ABK has brought his Native American heritage and influences into many of his past songs and on Medicine Bag, his tribal hip hop sound comes through loud and clear.

In the past, his music has been similar in style to most of the dark "wicked" music that all of the artists on Psychopathic Records are known for and he originally began work on a new album set in this style that he planned to call Possessed.

However, midway through the recording of the album he decided to switch directions after being inspired by his culture and people that he met while out on the road.

Medicine Bag began as a way to uplift spirits and a way to project a happier vibe that harkens back to the early hip hop sound.

In Native American culture a medicine bag is a satchel full of magical items to increase a person's skills and abilities.

The items are intended to aid someone during a "vision quest" where sacrifice like fasting, prayer and isolation occur for the purpose of making contact with spirits to guide a person to reach their full potential.

ABK's Medicine Bag album takes this central idea and runs with it creating a listening journey that brings together a mix of rock, rap and pop that leaves the listener craving more.

The album features a cover sporting a tribal painting courtesy of ABK himself.

The album comes in three different versions: red, green and blue. Each version has two different bonus tracks that were originally intended for the Possessed album plus each album insert fits together to make one big poster.

The album opens with a spoken track called "The Meaning". ABK uses the track as a way to explain what the album is all about, "The music on this cd is recognized as having various supernatural abilities."

The opener leads into the album's title track "Medicine Bag", which instantly lets the listener know that this is a party album and immediately brings forth the old school hip hop feel, "There's a song that you play when you ain't feeling right because it's bad to be stressed out and all uptight."

The next track "Get Down" is all about being at the top of your game and features a soundtrack straight out of a cowboy and Indian western complete with gun shots and horses, "Breathe. Tell me how you feel. You looking winded I suggest you chill."

"I'm Comin' Swingin'" is a head banging/low riding track that turns into a powerful track aimed at his Juggalo fans. At times the track moves seamlessly between rap, rock and dance, "Tell everybody you know. This time I'm comin' swingin'." The song also features a nice nod to ABK's old track "Stick and Move".

The album's first single is the ballad "Last Chance", which is a song dedicated to the loved ones he has had to say goodbye to and to those loved ones he is unable to see that often due to his lifestyle. The song should appeal to anyone who has found themselves with regrets and wishing they could let someone know what they are thinking, "If I had one last chance to say hey I would be alright."

Next up is a track with Axe Murder Boyz (AMB) who are signed to the Psychopathic Records' susidiary Hatchet House. The song "Brace Yo Self" features one of the best lyrics on the album delivered by ABK, "Paranormal music with a rhythm you can boogie too." The sentence is the perfect description of the entire album and ABK's discography in general. His own interest in the spiritual world combined with his love of old school MC's is on full display. Unfortunately, the song is taken down a bit with the appearance of AMB who are continuously a weak point on the label.

"Nervous" is a entirely different feel to the rest of the album as it is almost devoid of any background music and just features one continuous beat and some snapping. ABK's low delivery also helps set it's feel as he cooly talks about his emotions before going on stage and urges people to deal with their uneasiness and to just go out and get it done, "There's still no other place that I'd rather be."

"Lose Control" is probably the closest song to the "old" ABK sound as the song is built as a high speed chase and is delivered with a strong punch, "Now I'm mad at the world and I'm showing it."

"That Sh*t U On" features ABK's longtime friend, labelmate and collaborator Blaze Ya Dead Homie and is easily one of the highlight tracks of the album. The song is the most eighties sounding single on the album and puts forth the party vibe in a big way, "A little hip inside your hop...Back up man you're about to make the needle jump."

"Super Killa Fragilistic" is the most hilarious moment of the album as ABK sits everyone down to tell a story about his own attributes, "ABK the dopest...Everbody knows this." However, the song is also aimed at up and coming rappers as a way to get them to go out and work as hard as they can and not sit back and expect things to happen for them.

Next up is the track "Tired of Asking" which is a typical track about getting what you want, "Tired of searching for help. Don't want these cards I was dealt." The song features another reference as ABK refers to his song "Hated Me".

"That's Enough 4 Me" is all about appreciating what you have, "Mind over matter means a lot if you're part of the streets." The track is another heavy fast paced song.

"Keep It Wicked" features a appearance by ICP and changes the sound of the album up a bit. The track is similar in sound to most of ICP's music and features a soundtrack of carnival and "wicked" sounds that the band is known for. The song takes listeners on a ride that seems to be spinning out of control, "I keeps it wicked like a Hendrix guitar." ABK also pays homage to his hometown Detroit as he calls himself a "Motown rap star" and a "Detroit beast".

The album closes with the track "On My Way", which begins as a slow ballad and then explodes into a rock guitar driven track that becomes a Hatchet family anthem complete with the "Juggalos!" and "Family!" chants. The track is a beautiful layered song that sets out to inspire people to take a chance and follow their dreams, "Can't nobody change me or what I believe. So I make it a need to go out and achieve."