A rarely touched upon subgenre of hip hop is the style that weaves traditional Native American instrumentation and lyrics into its music. While there are many rappers that are at least partially of Native American descent, no rapper goes further with this influence than ABK, a Lumbee tribe member enticed by the sounds of Detroit's underground hip hop scene. Even without the traditional instrumentation and Native American-inspired lyrics, ABK would be a unique musician - the non-Native American-oriented tracks are original enough to stand out, and are entertaining and solid, but it is the Native American influence that adds yet another layer to a rapper who's already interesting to begin with.
Putting aside the gangsta rap inclinations of Dirty History
, there are several spots on this album that are actually quite peaceful, if this is the correct way to describe these moments. "Hey Y'all" is quiet and reflective, while "Trees and Woods" is more menacing in its low decibels. The album also succeeds in hardcore rap mode, with beats by Mike P., Fritz the Cat, Esham
and ABK himself. Much of the album's instrumentation relies more on live instrumentation than samples, aiding and abetting a old-school-meets-new-school-meet-underground-funk-hip-hop sound that hits more often than it misses.
constructs a concept of ABK as being possessed by the spirit of a Native American warrior. The lyrics vary from the usual hip hop targets - like partying (this time, in a liquor store where a robbery eventually goes down and someone gets shot) and smoking weed (hopefully not from Charlie Brown, whose pot is "doo-doo brown") to more spiritually themed concepts stemming from the Native American influence, such as "Hey Y'all", which urges unity between mankind and opposition to prejudice. ABK also openly states against participating in hip hop feuds, despite a few cuts which involve shots at "haters".
After one record carried mostly by guest spots, ABK proves himself as an artist in his own right and produces a solid LP that earns more than just a cursory glance.