Review Summary: Technically excellent rapping, preachy storytelling, and questionably dated production.
It's difficult to proclaim mediocrity here; likewise, it's hard to be contrary with lofty hyperbole. Abstract Rude means well in his first record since 2003, yet maintains a proclivity for Haiku d'Etat circa 1999 west-coast trappings. The title here is puzzling - rejuvenation is the antonym of what this record truly is - an exercise in conscious storytelling, jazz-influenced production, and melodic vocal arrangements. Familiar? It should be to any current hip-hop head; this could easily be confused for a recent release by another Haiku d'Etat alumnus - Myka 9's latest, 1969
The very same rapper pretends to emulate the essence of jazz/scat in his one hundred mile-an-hour rhymes, and this melodic style is also ubiquitous throughout Rejuvenation
. While not as technical (or ridiculous) as Myka 9, Abstract Rude's flow approaches a more ideal compromise between this style, soul, and spoken word. Preachy in his approach towards street life, self-empowerment, and social issues, a lot of the content here comes off as excessive; a lot of these subjects are played well past their respective expiration dates. Regardless of any slight vocal and lyrical issues, the questionable production further dates Rejuvenation
. A hodgepodge of 1969
-ish (sure, the time period too) samples and a processed-feeling, typical west coast beats (chill vibes and organs galore) combine with oatmeal consistency and flavor characteristics.
This isn't surprising: Minnesota label Rhymesayers (see Atmosphere, Brother Ali, POS) typically acts as a bridge between the east and west - with many artists combining the best (or worst) of both worlds. What is surprising: Rhymesayers allowed a product with Relic-status production to ship. For a clinic on technically excellent rapping, Rejuvenation
delivers. But for a truly cohesive effort, look elsewhere.