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Abstract Mindstate ends 16-year drought with ‘Dreams Still Inspire’

Seasoned Chicago hip-hop duo drops comeback album organized and produced by YZY SND’s Kanye West.

When hip-hop discussion lands on the topic of “old-heads,” it is usually met with a dismissive attitude, wanting to leave the 1990s and early 2000s style of rap in the past.

However, spearheaded by Kanye West‘s belief and a second wind for their career, Abstract Mindstate is a duo of “old-heads” that are virtual up-and-comers.

Kanye West is known for putting lesser known artists on a pedestal. It seems that each of his albums feature a guest appearance from an artist nobody has really heard before.

For 2015’s The Life of Pablo, it was Desiigner. 2018’s ye, it was 070 Shake. For his upcoming DONDA record — if it ever releases — it appears to be KayCyy and Vory. Now, West aims to steer YZY SND on the same path — spotlighting lesser known artists, and incidentally, from his hometown of Chicago.

Abstract Mindstate cuts the ceremonial ribbon for the label, with their “giant scissors” album Dreams Still Inspire.

Released on Aug. 6, the group’s debut album has certainly been a long time coming. Since dissolving due to lack of success and momentum in the mid-2000s, Ebony Poetess Da Hellcat of Abstract Mindstate found a day job, and the duo’s other half Olskool Ice-Gre became a hip-hop A&R.

Ice-Gre eventually landed a role on the team for G.O.O.D. Music, and whIle Ye was working on ye in 2018, he found himself contemplating his next moves as an executive rather than a musician. After hearing some of his A&R’s old music, he decided right then and there that he wanted Abstract Mindstate to usher in Kanye’s new record label YZY SND as his inaugural artist.

Fast-forward three years later, the record is here. Dreams Still Inspire, executively produced by Kanye, is a revival of many of the trends that were at the forefront of hip-hop decades ago, but delivered by two fresh voices.

The 14-song, 32 minute album is chock full of soulful drum beats, potent lyricism, wise takes on current social trends and a vintage record scratch every now and then. Ice-Gre opens the intro track by re-introducing the listener to this particular sound.

We know you waited a while to get thе feeling back

We protected thе vibe, it’s still intact

That Yeezy sound is like a welcome mat

So you could live well, welcome back

To you ladies and gentlemen, I tip my hat

I’m Olskool Ice-Gre, E.P. is Da Hellcat

Call it the strong hello, nothing more than that

“Salutations (Intro)” — Abstract Mindstate featuring Jonquia Rose

Later in the record, Kanye West actually makes a vocal appearance, singing the spiritual hook on “The Brenda Song.” Over the piano-infused instrumental, the duo raps with a poetic violence on verses between West’s mellow hook.

Overall, the album is a refreshing look back on hip-hop’s earlier stages, as it’s easy to tell why Kanye felt so passionate about this sound. Check out Abstract Mindstate’s new boom-bap album Dreams Still Inspire below.