Product Review: The Abraham Linkin Mixtape

Abraham Linkin is a renegade hip-hop group. Two dope boys in a Cadillac slinging comedy. In the hip-hop realm of mouthpiece and bathing apes, they rapped about being broke and masturbation. In the politically correct wasteland of Bay Area comedy, they made the word “bitch” fashionable again. They wielded social networks like guns and axes. They hit up every worthwhile open microphone and showcase. They made shirts, catchphrases, tell-all videologs, music videos, press materials, and most importantly, great music rife with clever, crisp, absurd, offensive, endearing, relatable comedy. They generated a buzz in the one place you’re not allowed to. From the muck of Bay Area supercoolness, the light of Abraham Linkin rose to the clouds of record deals and sponsorships. And then, with a sharp pang of microphone feedback, it was gone.

I can’t tell you why the two broke up because I don’t know. I can express my sincere despondency about the rise and demise of Abraham Linkin.

Abraham Linkin, composed of Larrell Tyler and Will Hatcher, resonated for a few reasons. Musically they were smart, polished, stylish, and socially conscious without being pretentious or disingenuous. The group had the dope factor. Every successful hip-hop act has the dope factor: some genuine, some fabricated, some long-lasting, some fleeting, some eternal, some flavor-of-the-month. It’s what separates the corny hobbyist stringing words together through a plastic microphone from the rhyme marshal spitting through a condenser microphone in the booth with a movement on their back.

Comically the group took two forms of comedy and created their own voice. Within the constructs of satire (lampooning hip-hop swaggerists) and musical comedy Abraham Linkin were able to take everyday things and drill them into the minds as catchphrases and hooks. Facebook, homeless people, fat black women, and a slew of other topics are definitively illuminated within the group’s repertoire.

Finding Abraham Linkin was finding a new favorite band; the ones you’ll take your friends to go see, the ones you buy their self-release EP from the source, the ones you write blogs about and cover songs of. The ones you know each member on a first name basis, or go road tripping to their first tour gig. The ones whom you demand acceptance of from your significant other or the ones you claim in elitist musical conversations. The ones you’ll dislike as they become popular and say “they peaked with their second album”. The ones you tell whoever will listen that you knew them from the beginning, the ones you reminisce about when you’re forty. Could Abraham Linkin have become that cult-crossover band like Metallica or Modest Mouse? We’ll never know; they left too soon.

Before they left, the group dropped a promotional mixtape. For a mere $5 I received the Abraham Linkin infused compact-disc from an extremely high Larrell at the Brainwash. Thusly, I present a review for “Abraham Linkin: Bitch What Ya Thinkin Vol. 1”

Note: this product is ghetto approved. ID3 Tags are ghostly. Names/information herein are either from deductions or assumptions. I reserve the right to be wrong.

Track One

The jawn opens fittingly with “Swine Flu”, the initial track performed at 800 Larkin that brought Abe Linkin to my attention. Originally the song contained a section of discussion upon the origins of a friend’s swine flu infection. The official version of this “Miss You” hood ballad maintains a high pork diet as the culprit for swine flu. That’s right, Porky Pig is not to be trusted. Master P’s “I Miss My Homies” or Bone Thug’s “Crossroads” are outmatched in sentimentally: “When you died it really hurt/ [be]cause they buried you… in my favorite t-shirt!” Damn you swine flu.

Get Lower Than Your Self Esteem

The C.D. includes other Abraham Linkin originals: “Facebook”, “Homeless and Sexy”, “Spend the Night” and “Go Precious”. These sultry sexified jams are more Teddy than Riley, more Jagged than Edge, more Black than street. The kind of music you massage feet to (perhaps even rub amputee nubs if you’re into that). These songs stand out as charmingly ironic and passively raunchy while speaking on the frustrations of being single.

"I met her on Facebook and I invited her to my place

But when she showed up, man you should have seen my face

When I looked at her face, I could believe it

Cause she looked like my nigga

I said ‘Devin?’

She said ‘Who?’

'Nevermind, come on in'”

“Spend the Night” features hilarious off-meter rhyme schemes as it speaks of the ultimate male safety net with confidence and gusto. “Why you bust in my room, I told you I was sleeping/ and then they would reply/ If you were sleeping, what were you doing with your hand?” It’s a devilish disappointment when others get in the middle of the business of pleasure.

“Homeless and Sexy” is a smorgasbord of street living references pandering to panhandlers without a secretion of sadness. It’s certainly noble to want to fuck bottom feeders. It makes me wonder if Camilla Belle sat in the Tenderloin with smudges of ash on her face and fingerless gloves, would she receive more money due to America’s affair with vanity. And would she cheat on me with crack head Tony? And would the actress-turned-hoba (female bum = hoba) be a “freak in the sheets [while] she sleeps in the street [?]” Great syntactic line.

“Go Precious”, while not the best song based on the movie based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire (that honor belongs to Garfunkle and Oates), the song raises an interesting debate. Is it time to lose the obsession of thin start coveting curvaceous women? As proven by Gabourey Sidibe, Susan Boyle, and those Dove ads: big girls are on the rise. Kaseem Bentley once instructed: “Get with these big girls while the premium is low”. Mr. Bentley can make these claims, as he is one of the premier pussy stockbrokers in the country.

The hallmark calling card for Abraham Linkin is undeniably “Got it @ Ross”. A perfect anthem for the recession, the group spit braggadocios rhymes about jeans, wicker chairs, yoga DVDs, and Christmas CDs. To see a bunch of people hyped and chanting about being bargain shoppers is a ridiculously beautiful scene. Video is better than words.

Zero Balance Flips (The Parodies)

Abe Linkin takes being starving artists seriously. Of the five parody songs on the mixtape, three explicitly deal with the turmoil of being poor. Migraines, water-vodka (wakka wakka), maternity cases, Dutch dating and gas prices are contrastingly augmented by instrumentals from flashy rappers like T.I. and 50 Cent. While other rappers of the poverty position would lyrically aim at future revenue, A.L. stay grounded in the present. The general theme of these zero balance flips is “I’m poor, that’s normal, don’t gas yourself up, and deal with it.” I wonder what happens when Will or Larrell receive the riches they’re due? Will the content of their musical production differ? Future blog I guess.

Dogs, Dookie, and Pubics

The mixtape is rounded out by crank calls and Indian accents. While not the greatest highlights of the group’s abilities, the sketches do provide moderation and range. In fact, at the risk of contradiction, the first prank may provide the C.D.’s collection’s largest reactions and loudest laughs. Larrell gets his Jerky Boys on in a phone call to an undisclosed fried chicken restaurant chain claiming pubic hair in his mashed potatoes. The skit spirals out of control like “Alice in Dixieland” with Larrell playing “The Mad Hooder”. In one burst of anguish Larrell screams, “A nigger killed my mother!” with such gusto that one could imagine the origin of a racist superhero (The Inkredible Klansman perhaps). Depending on who you are that’s either hilarious or horrifying, my paradigm rests on the former.

The mixtape has fluctuating quality. Some songs resolutions and bit rates are lower than others. Likewise certain topics seem oversaturated. For instance, the songs “Go Precious” and “Addicted to Food” are both odes to overweight girls. Arguably “Addicted to Food” is a reprise of “Go Precious”, containing the same lyrical content towards the end of the song. This isn’t necessarily a problem besides the fact they’re only a song away from each other on the set list. And some songs, like “Becky”, lack the same Abraham Linkin flair for winking and nudging expressed in instant classics like “Ross” and “Baby By Me”. The song is fun and laughs are continually had but fails in the pursuit of the group’s mission statement: to emancipate minds.

Criticisms aside, the mixtape is still amazing. The talent featured is immense and glaring. I deeply cherish supporting artists like Will Hatcher and Larrell Tyler, and I’m still mad that my friend lost my CD to his ex-girlfriend.

Abraham Linkin. Bitch What Ya Thinkin. Emancipating Minds from Mainstream Bullshit. 2009-2010.

Thank You For Reading

-O.J.