The title may convey grandiosity, but on his latest EP Bad Luck Ab gets straight to the point.
Long Island rapper Bad Luck Ab is elastic on his recent EP, the eloquently titled “Bad Luck Scriptures: Essence of Earth”. Whilst the title seems dead set on divine aspirations, the content of the album is more concentrated and grounded, reflecting the struggles of city life through a mythologised lens. One thing refuses to stay level, however – Ab’s voice. Throughout the tape Ab’s wild, stretched, and rearranged inflections keep everything bonded, and lend needed fluctuation to lyrics that tend to stay on the repetitive side.
First track “Life’s A ##Battle” proves this point; Ab’s cries of “Ready for battle” are accented and followed by long-held notes in the verses and ad libs that keep everything in motion against the barebones instrumental. Ab doesn’t falter, his crooning is a constant source of energy. Second track “Thunderdome” steps things up a gear; Ab sounds contorted on a multi-layered hook, full of stories of “top floors” and the aforementioned “thunderdome” his life represents. “Thunderdome” is also home to one of FXLLEN’s best verses of the year; the UK artist doesn’t stick around for too long but manages to offer a contrast to Ab’s airborne flow with a verse that overflows with fittingly flashy ambitions; “seeing all stars, chilling with Spa’s, in the penthouse with the foreign cars”. FXLLEN – like Ab – thrives thanks to his delivery. Ab is weightless in the mix like a spirit, whereas FXLLEN is anchored to reality.
On the final track Ab too comes down to street level. The beat plays out like a world of alleyways and shortcuts, evolving through various states but never changing too much. Ab runs through these, his flow less rigid than ever, with total fluidity. “I need the chips, the ring, the medal, the belt, what else” he sings, over and over, the lines trailing and falling apart. Ab’s ability to express himself beyond words is key to this song, “C+R+M+B !”, and “Scriptures” as a whole. His lyrics become visual, as if he paints with sound, drawing in unforeseeable directions with every syllable. If you can keep up, he’s one to watch.
Listen to “Bad Luck Scriptures: Essence of Earth” here.
– Jamie (@youngjade1216)