Album Review: Abstract Mindset – Dreams Continue to Inspire

Album Review: Abstract Mindset - Dreams Continue to Inspire

The duo reunite for the debut of YZY SND

In 2020, Kanye West was gearing up for what would become his new label, YEEZY SOUND (later changed to just YZY SND). Among that list was Abstract Mindstate, the Chicago hip-hop duo with whom Kanye had worked early in his career. Composed of the EP Da Hellcat and Olskool Ice-Gre, the duo had two projects, We paid let us in! and Always paying; the latter was ultimately never released. With the group seeking their own separate careers soon after, it seemed like it was really the end of Abstract Mindstate. Still, it only took a 2018 phone call from Kanye himself to bring the two together. The product of this phone call is Dreams always inspire, the return of the group and the debut of YZY SND.

After a successful marathon of album releases composed of Pusha T’s Daytona, Teyana taylor KTSE, his album in collaboration with Kid Cudi and his own project, it seemed that Kanye wanted to maintain that momentum. He called the two MCs and brought them into the studio, where, for three years, they had been recording over and over again. With Kanye taking control of the production, it sounds like a refreshed sound from the time the trio worked together in the early 2000s. Between lyrical content and production, this sound is what YZY SND calls “Adult Contemporary Hip Hop.” .

Kicking off the album is the intro track, “Greetings (Intro),” which stars Jonquia Rose. The triumphant production is like an introduction to who they are. They remind everyone that they are not new to this business and that they are not like everyone else right now. Hellcat says, “We speak clearly, never mumble over there” and “we’re culture shock and we’re the opposite of how vultures tip over, so get us well.”

“A Wise Tale” is the single from the LP. The funky production is the main focus as a sampled voice echoes, “I love you”. MC flows push the story and float to the beat effortlessly. “Elevation” is a call to action. Neighborhoods are deteriorating, social networks have done more harm than good and we have the impression that it is becoming difficult to want better. Olskool tells people his wishes on the chorus with, “My goal is to climb higher… we talk about it mentally, spiritually, we have to be more than the eye can see.”

“Move Yo Body” has a pretty basic drum line with an emphasis on snares. The bassline is really weak but it has a funky melody. Both Olskool and Hellcat have great rhyme schemes in this track, making it a fun track to listen to. With Tony Williams’ gritty voice on the chorus, it gets a lot more groovy. Another track with a good rhyme scheme is “Expository Mode”. There is such an old-fashioned hip-hop atmosphere that the MCs are once again talking about being different. They say they’ve been reunited, how Kanye helped, and what they’re doing is real music. “Because being back in the cabin is like reliving my youth.”

“My Reality” is a chance for the two to talk about their careers outside of Abstract Mindstate and how they’ve handled both at the same time. Hellcat says, “Despite commuting, I still run the biz” and “my nine to five at the stand”. Meanwhile, Olskool is looking forward to paying his bills worry-free. “I have finished making up for the accumulated bills. I reduced my debt to zero, I promise I’m thrilled. You can’t help but be happy that they are both able to keep up with their day-to-day jobs while being back in the studio together. Kanye himself jumps on a track from “The Brenda Song”. The production on this track is incredible; it’s like something is wrong Graduation. The mix of high-pitched synths, accentuated crash cymbal, jubilant horns, and buzzing keyboard notes make this such a great song to listen to. It’s appropriate for a song that mentions and praises God.

“I know you” is an opportunity for them to share the lessons they have learned. They encourage people to be smarter with money, not to let fame get the best of them and humiliate themselves. MCs recognize the success of their interlocutors; that’s why they give them this advice. They want them to be better and have this knowledge now before it’s too late.

The Abstract Mindstate reunion is one that hip-hop fans can enjoy. Dreams always inspire brings back memories of the magic that could be done when Olskool, Hellcat and Kanye West come together. With YZY SND now up and running, people can only hope that Abstract Mindstate continues its journey as the legendary duo from Chicago.


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