The list of adjectives used to describe today's youth is generally rather unsavory, with everything from "self-absorbed" to "irresponsible" being thrown into the pot. But if there is any genre of music that might serve to deflate these notions of entitlement in excess, let it be hip-hop. Let it be music that usually tells you to shut the $%&# up, but also isn't afraid to be incredibly honest about working hard, providing for your family and recognizing your roots.
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What does any of this have to do with Kevin Abstract? For starters, the kid isn't even old enough to vote in the US--one of his songs captures him talking about choosing to stay at home to work on music (as he calls it, "my future") rather than attend his high school prom. But where he lacks age in numbers he makes up for in speaking on seriously touching areas of life: the foster child system, the absence of his dad, and the general hustle that is life.
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Abstract is from the multi-talented collective AliveSinceForever (ASF), a young gang of producers and emcees who hail from Atlanta, Texas, Florida and Connecticut. Finding common ground in creating music, the group first started making waves on EARMILK when we covered the work of ASF producer-emcee Sage. On September 14, Abstract dropped his five-track self-titled EP, produced by Boston singer-producer HoraceTheGiant. Each track carries substantial weight, giving the overall project major production value. Horace does a fine job mixing ambient-style instrumentals with trap and indie-influenced percussions while Abstract's storytelling orbits around childhood interludes and the consequential feelings of someone coming into his own--subjects that seem far from self-absorption.
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The ASF crew has been noted for their ability to piece together EPs and singles that introduce a new sound for hip hop. It's impressive considering most of their projects are being developed apart from one another with the group's members scattered throughout the US. It also speaks to the crew's collective youthful yet diligent work ethic to produce solid music with depth and heart. The work of Kevin Abstract and the ASF crew is a good reminder that sometimes age really is just a number. Check out Abstract's entire EP on Soundcloud here.