Ah, The Good Life. For Los Angeles Hip Hop, no café is more significant. After all, the Good Life Café gave birth to some of the most beloved underground acts in Los Angeles Hip Hop to date. will.i.am, Freestyle Fellowship, Medusa, Dilated Peoples, Pigeon John and many in between visited and performed at this iconic health food spot when it was the place to be. Among those inspired by the atmosphere, Abstract Rude came out and blessed the stage. Many crews and albums later, Ab Rude became the newest member of indie powerhouse Rhymesayers Entertainment, a label that may just rejuvenate his career and quite fittingly, his first release on RSE is titled Rejuvenation.
Abstract‘s flow has always been a high point of his emceeing capabilities and this album highlights this. Rude‘s vocal delivery, be it while singing or rapping, is consistently sharp. His harmony not only allows hooks to sound melodious, but also creates a soothing backdrop behind rhymes at times (“Hip Hop Ryde”). Sometimes, the combination of singing and rapping just adds to the overall sound of the tracks (“Rejuvenation”). His story telling skills illuminate awareness and social commentary (“Sadly Ever After”) and his clever wit is also showcased (“TV Show”, “Parables”). Even after years between album releases, Ab shows he is as comfortable as ever behind a mic.
The sounds behind Rejuvenation are potent at times. While taking inspiration from various genres, Vitamin D‘s overall instrumentation mostly backs Ab‘s lyrics properly. The strings on “The Conch” create a mellow vibe contrasted by the more upbeat soul in “Thynk Eye Can (Haiku D’etat Mix).” The organs and drum patterns are often west coast-inspired, as heard on “Nuff Fire” and “Man Down.” While some may not appreciate the more nostalgic sounding west coast tracks crafted by Vitamin D, fans of Ab Rude will definitely enjoy the instrumentation if only for the fact that he rarely ventures away from his comfort zone.
Overall, this proves to be a strong effort. His vitality intact, Rude delivers what he always has. Dropping consistent material for longtime fans, this album will at least appease those who have been waiting for this album desperately. He may or may not gain many new fans in the process, but this CD shows that Ab definitely has staying power and resilience after taking some time off, making his RSE debut rejuvenating one.