Abstract Mindstate

We Paid Let Us In!

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Even if this Chicago duo's moniker doesn't clue you into the fact that they're coming on the conscious hip-hop tip, it should at least make it clear that this is not your typical bling-bling, bitches, and gangsta crap. Instead, you get progressive, positive songs like "Equiponderance," which blends jazzy beats and slinky string samples with clever lyrics that present the duo as "the underground masters of twisted wordplay and delivery." Even when the group takes a more tough, street-minded approach on songs like "Wonder Twins," it's just to take on wack MCs and "ten hoes with no flows, all rockin' Timbos." For an underground hip-hop group, the production on We Paid Let Us In is both impressively tight and diverse, ranging from the soulful groove of "The Storm" to the stripped-down minimalist funk of "Taoism." And though the group needs to master the art of crafting memorable vocal hooks, their crafty blend of intelligent rhymes and colorful samples places Abstract Mindstate the M.O.D., alongside artists like Common, among the best Chicago's urban scene has to offer.

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