Main

Fly From The 518: Abs01ute and Shyste Pack Style and Substance Into Debut Concept Album

Travel 150 miles north of the Big Apple on I-87 and you’ll hit New York’s Capital City, Albany. Amongst the…

Travel 150 miles north of the Big Apple on I-87 and you’ll hit New York’s Capital City, Albany. Amongst the city’s blue collar herds of hard workers and packs of drunk, stumbling college kids, you’ll find Abs01ute and Shyste, a producer and MC whose hard-nosed sound is the lovechild of the hustle and grit the city is known for. It’s easy to get lost between Albany’s bars, but it’s those same dark alleys where Abs01te and Shyste’s Lord of the Flys had time to incubate.

Like the boys from the 1954 novel by William Golding, Shyste and Abs01ute were left to govern themselves over the past four years, crafting and fine tuning a project that mirrors the social and political shit storm we’re currently living in. The result is a standout project featuring Abs01ute’s carefully complex production and Shyste’s menacing bars.

The duo took a few minutes to discuss the project’s origins, life in Albany, and what it would be like to smash Bea Arthur.

How did you two link up and craft the idea for Lord of the Flys?

Abs01ute: We have known each other for years prior to collaborating. After talking at a few shows here and there, I sent Shyste some beats. Recording a few songs was all we were aiming to do at first, but after recording them we agreed we should move forward with a full length. Shyste came up with the idea for the title, and I went ahead and dug into the sample stash to craft a sound I thought would reflect the vision. The 1990 Lord of the Flies film provided the backdrop, and I sprinkled in movie clips to add a cinematic angle. We would send each other verses and beats until we piled up 17 tracks. The collaborative process was seamless. We both let each other tackle our respective roles, and the final product is something we are both very proud of.

Explain the hip hop dynamic in the 518. Does art imitate life in the capital city?

Shyste: Albany is a blue collar city.  I think that reflects in the art on many levels.  From the process of creating and performing the music, to marketing yourself and trying to stay in everyone’s focus, it’s a grind.  It’s time, energy, money, stress.  A little less time, a little less energy, a little more money, a little more stress. It’s a serious grind, like grinding down stone into sand for others to walk on (laughs). And it’s not just Albany, it’s the entire 518.  There are a lot of people putting in work out here.  If you want to make some noise, you have to be consistent; you have to be your own union, your own promoter, and so on.  Hip hop, and music in general in the 518, is definitely a blue collar grind. 

 
The record samples from Japanese pop records from the 60s. Where does an idea like that grow roots?

Abs01ute: The Japanese pop stuff came to me randomly. I tend to search anywhere to find samples. Over the years it has changed. I sample literally anything I hear and think I can flip. I found the bulk of the samples used on LOTF online. One source led me to another and before I knew it I was deep into obscure records from overseas. LOTF is about half sampled from those records, I also added other beats I thought fit nice. Without indulging too much about the samples, it was a mix of records from movie soundtracks, video games, and even Game of Thrones.

The album mirrors the themes of William Golding’s original book. Explain those ties.

Shyste: The album loosely mirrors Golding’s themes from the book.  There’s a variety of concepts like chaos, abandonment, ego, and the power struggle.  These are all presented from different perspectives.  The story line of the book is a solid reflection of what’s going on in society right now.  There are many different personality archetypes struggling for some kind of power, freedom, war or peace.  This is how factions are created and people begin to choose sides.  All these different concepts are presented in a hip hop format. All off the cuff.

There’s plenty of people out there who love full length releases; people who devour entire projects from end to end. What can we expect from Lord of the Flys?

Shyste: In an industry of cookie cutter artists and artists who rely on gimmicks, we are giving the listening audience an actual experience.  It’s best to listen to the album from beginning to end.  The movie clips are placed in a way that gives the project a linear feel. The album definitely has its own particular sound and vibe in order to give it a more dramatic or theatrical feel. The lyrics, the production, the mixing and mastering, are clean and professional.  It’s not just music, it’s an experience.

 
Speaking of an experience… Fuck, Kill, Marry: Hillary Clinton, Bea Arthur, and Mariah Carey?

Shyste: Fuck Mariah Carey, because I’m assuming that’s a given and everybody else has (laughs). Kill Hillary Clinton because she’s awful; one of the worst. And marry Bea Arthur because she’ll kick the bucket way before me and then I gets me some of that “Golden Girls” money.

Upcoming shows? Where can people buy or stream the album?

Abs01ute: Our release party is at Lost & Found in Albany, New York on December 16th at 9:30 pm. You can find our album on all digital outlets including Spotify, iTunes, Tidal, Amazon, and YouTube. Or you can check out https://lordoftheflys.bandcamp.com/ for hard copies that will ship with a signed poster and two artist stickers.


Big thanks for to Shyste and Abs01ute for talking with us. Be sure to check out Lord of the Flys, available now on all streaming platforms.

My name is J.D, the music fanatic, writer, blogger, and educator. I've been in love with hip hop since Bishop got too close to the ledge. If it moves me, I'll cover it. I've written an unpublished novel, created Shiny Glass Houses, and had my work featured on the Bloglin for Mishka NYC. I'm lurking in the shadows on twitter @ThexGlassxHouse. Read. Comment. Get money.
Related Articles
Uncategorized

You Should Be Excited About Rich the Kid’s Debut Album

Whatever title Rich settles on, you can rest assured that this album is going to be good

Atlanta via New York City rapper and Rich Forever Music founder Rich the Kid is set to drop his solo debut full-length in 2018.

After years of mixtapes and collaborations with artists such as Migos, Young Thug, and 21 Savage, Rich invested in himself and founded his label, Rich Forever Music, in the early spring of 2016. The first artists to hop on board were Chicago rapper Famous Dex and producer The Lab Cook, with whom Rich collaborated on the label’s first two tapes, Rich Forever Music and Rich Forever 2. In the fall of 2016, fellow New York City spitter Jay Critch signed to Rich Forever and, less than a year later, appeared with Rich and Dex on Rich Forever 3 – one of the best mixtapes of 2017, in my opinion.

https://twitter.com/richthekid/status/949364231475834880

Concerning his solo work, Rich signed to Interscope Records last summer and got to work on his full-length debut. The hype only grew in September when Rich dropped one hell of a single, “New Freezer,” with Kendrick Lamar. The landmark track rides an icy trap beat and showcases Rich’s talent as a hook-writer. Oh, and Kendrick snaps. Hard.

Only a few days into the new year, Rich announced via Twitter that Rich Forever 4 is on the way, featuring the same trio as its predecessor. On January 7, he posted an Instagram video of himself rapping along to an unreleased track with the caption “Finished my album last night now what should I call it?”

Whatever title Rich settles on, you can rest assured that this album is going to be good.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdqhQ33hcgR/

Continue Reading
Uncategorized

Migos Announce “Culture II” Release Date + Cover Art

One year after Migos “changed the culture” with their sophomore album, they plan to do it once more. Migos announced…

One year after Migos “changed the culture” with their sophomore album, they plan to do it once more. Migos announced Culture II via Instagram on Monday night, with a release date of January 26, almost one year after Culture (now certified platinum), took the world by storm, moving 131,000 copies in its first week. The announcement comes after a late 2017 interview with Montreality, where Quavo was vocal about the group’s new sound.

“We’re creating a whole new sound [with this album.] Hip-Hop has changed in a big way, so you could mark this down as we changing.” –Quavo (to Montreality)

The album is led by the Pharrell-produced single “Stir Fry,” and the Cardi-B assisted “Motorsport” — both of which are tearing up the Billboard Hot 100. While little is known about the project, Quavo promises top quality production. “CULTURE II WAIT TILL U C WHO EXECUTIVE PRODUCED IT” the rapper tweeted back in October. Check out the announcement below, and pray the trio release the tracklist soon.

C U L T U R E II

A post shared by Migos (@migos) on

Continue Reading
Uncategorized

Lil Pump’s Team Finesses Their Way Out Of WB Deal

With a successful debut album under his belt and a “xan-free” 2018 ahead, Lil Pump is now entering the new…

With a successful debut album under his belt and a “xan-free” 2018 ahead, Lil Pump is now entering the new year as an independent artist. According to Billboard, The “Designer” rapper recently terminated his contract with Warner Bros., stating he was only 16 when he signed.

Famed entertainment attorney John Branca wrote a letter to the label on Pump’s behalf, reaffirming the age issue, and further arguing the contract was “never certified by the court,” Billboard states. Warner Bros. Larry Mattera, the labels VP of commerce and marketing, said:

“We, as a company and as a label, needed to build and establish more of a presence in the urban space. They (clearly) had insights and relationships on the urban side of the business in the network landscape.”

The “Gucci Gang” rapper is well positioned as an independent artist and is rumored to be fielding offers anywhere from $8 to $12 million, according to Complex. The young Soundcloud breakout is already a high-paid sensation. In December, TMZ reported that Pump received a $345,000 advance on his debut album, in addition to 15% royalties. The album moved 46,000 copies its opening week, and its lead single “Gucci Gang” is still moving. Former Warner Bros. CEO Cameron Stang Praised the rappers business savvy, telling Billboard: “They’re innovative spirits, and they don’t take no for an answer. Pump is an incredible artist; he’s got fantastic charisma and a huge personality, with lots of talent and no fear.”

Lil Pump isn’t the only one making serious moves in 2018. Fellow Soundcloud rapper and childhood friend Smokepurpp recently signed to Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack Records and is finishing up a highly-anticipated collab album with Murda Beatz. Pump recently released his latest track “Trap Jumpin” featuring Juicy J, which you can find below.

Continue Reading
Uncategorized

“Money Power Respect” Turns 20

It’s a glimmering artifact that marked the end of Bad Boy’s golden era.

1996, I’m up at 2 am on a Friday dubbing College radio — as was the routine at the time — and then I hear it, “You’ll See” by The LOX featuring the Notorious B.I.G. Over the repurposed instrumental of Faith Evan’s “Used To Love Me,” the trio (though obviously younger) had that signature chemistry that we’ve always collectively loved them for, and of course a flame emoji Biggie verse. The song was dubbed off that original tape so many times the tape popped.

“Money Power Respect” Turns 20

The following year, we became even better versed with the Yonkers trio, as they made incredibly high profile appearances; first on Puffy’s “All About The Benjamins,” Ma$e’s “24 Hours To Live” and then on Mariah Carey’s “Honey” remix. By the time “If You Think I’m Jiggy” dropped on white label samplers, the hype for their debut album Money Power Respect was tremendous.

20 years later, it remains one of those albums that has stuck with me; though dipped in elements from the grandiose height of Jiggy” era, which was stamped with big budget videos and shiny suits, the album holds up with its incredible production and (timeless) street-hop lyricism.

When I call an album timeless, I base that title on the ability to rock an album all these years later and still have the same impact as it did the first time I rocked it. To put that statement into perspective, playing the debut album by Das Efx today likely doesn’t create the same charm as it did back in the day.

The title track of this album can still be played anywhere — at any time — and garner a positive reaction. The shit is a classic. But, apparent hits aside, it’s B-sides like the Carl Thomas “Let’s Start Rap Over,” which is an homage to rap legends of the 80s, or the spacey “All For The Love” instrumental that genuinely carry this project.

Ending with the touching “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa,” a tribute to Biggie, the album ultimately stands up as the end of the golden era of Bad Bay Entertainment. With Ma$e’s eventual departure from the game, Biggie returning to the essence, and Puff’s solo career taking on a new life of its own — on top of The Lox’s campaign to be released from the label — shit was never really the same. The label had hits and had a more than a few new “superstars” on its ever-changing roster, but nothing felt as powerful and impactful as their original run.

Money Power Respect is a classic album. Plain and simple. Whether you’re a Young head wondering how The Lox came to be so revered, or an old head who hasn’t bumped this album since your teens, It’s worth revisiting — in fact, here it is. Press play and let it run.

Continue Reading
More in Main
Check It Out: Rap Caviar Sent Money Phone Cases To Its Top Listeners

Writers like me, A&Rs, and label executives used to be the ultimate gatekeepers to this industry; that was then, this...

Close