ABD has been on the West Yorkshire Hip Hop scene for a while now and dues are beginning to be paid. Without fail he rocks the show and gets the crowd involved and partying without resorting to nonesense. He has dope flows, a very likeable timbre and he's taken time to answer some questions for me:
Certified Banger: Yo ABD, congratulations on the Golden Mic Challenge win! Before we get into this, let us know about yourself, give us all the info we need:
ABD: Ok I'm 23 and been rhyming since I was 14, so 9 years at some point this year. My main crew is Alphabetix, I'm also in Northern Hostility, and I usually have the odd live band side project here and there (not at the mo!) I come from York but I've been living in Leeds about 4 years. Alphabetix have our own label – 30Tonne Slug on which we plan to release our own stuff. We put out a 12" of my old crew 118SoundSystem in 2006.
CB: What were your prizes for winning the GMC?
ABD: I got the mic (a gold Shure SM58), £150, some LRG tees, Jumbo Records tees, and supposedly a Mr Thing beat and a support gig (watch this space!)
CB: How important to you was it that you won? Did you feel like it was deserved recognition for your time on the Leeds scene?
ABD: I didn't actually feel I deserved it! Not cos of time on the scene – that's irrelevant compared to skill, but just cos I choked in some of the battles, which no one else did.
CB: What did you think of your adversaries? Were you confident?
ABD: All sick. If I had judged it I reckon Jack Dans would have won and Fourney P would have been runner up. I had a feeling Fourney had pre-written a lot of his battle rhymes, and I'd like to hear Jester Jacobs in more of his own style than Orifice Vulgatron's, but they were all heavy. I was pretty confident though.
CB: Which line against you in the battles did you like best?
ABD: I thought it was well spotted when Fourney P likened me to Jurassic Five – a lot of my own mates haven't clocked that similarity, and it makes a nice change from Bob Marley jokes and ripping my dreads out or strangling me with them (yawn!).
CB: Tell us about your pre-written track, that went down really well. What's it all about? Will it be recorded and released?
ABD: I'm not a Bible basher or nothin'! Haha! It's about how all the different religions are saying the same thing and praising the same God. Separation is an illusion. Everything is everything; God is part of everything and everything is part of God. God isn't the owner of the planet who tells us what to do and punishes us for disobedience. It's the creative force that keeps life going. Doesn't matter if you're a Christian, Muslim, Rasta or Jedi, you naturally have an awareness of ultimate truth whatever your culture. We have to start believing in ourselves! Yeah I'm planning to put it out there.
CB: You really pulled the crowd into your performance and they reacted with a great show of support. How do you make sure you get that?
ABD: Eye contact, getting down with the people, trying to maintain a good vibe, believing in myself (how can you expect others to if you don't?). I visualize light too and imagine everyone getting hyped and having a mint time.
CB: Are you working on any recorded material at the moment? Will we see an ABD or Alphabetix LP anytime soon? What's next for you?
ABD: The Alphabetix EP Alphabetix Anonymous is pretty much finished and coming this summer. Me and Jack Dans are collaborating on a little EP, plus I've started planning out my first solo EP. That's gonna be strictly conscious tracks – I'm sick to death of rappers who only rap about rapping!
CB: How does performing live differ to recording music for you? Which do you prefer?
ABD: Well you don't get two bites of the cherry on stage! It's all about the live thing. I take ages to record cos a take's never quite perfect, but in front of a crowd you have to just rock it! And once it's gone it's gone – it doesn't matter how well a performance went cos it served a purpose at the time and hopefully at least someone had a good time! I like how no one owns live music – the last note sounds and it vanishes leaving just the vibe.
CB: Who are your influences musically and who would you recommend to people? Who on the Leeds / UK Hip Hop scene do you rate?
ABD: My influences include Phi Life Cypher, Mos Def, Talib Kwali, Canibus, Jurassic Five, Blak Twang, Sage Francis. I would recommend Pep Love from Hieroglyphics and Pumpkinhead. Matter's the one to watch in Leeds. I actually believe he's gonna revolutionize the whole scene one day! Also D.S. Fam rep hard and deserve all the success they get. And obviously Mr Ris and Angelesk from Alphabetix – both massively inspiring MCs.
CB: Thanks for taking the time to do this, any closing / self-promotional / wise words?
ABD: Yeah everyone should read these three books: Conversations with God by Neal Donald Walsh, The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield, The Holographic Universe by Michael Tablot. You can get them all for pennies from the 2nd hand section on Amazon, and I reckon if everyone reads them it'll improve the state of affairs on the planet.
Read more at: Certified Banger Interviews