The Abstract Pack is back with a new LP entitled Ear-Responsible. They’ve managed to resist all urges to go more mainstream with their sound, and create a “popular” record by staying true to themselves and the original philosophy that the group set out with 12 years ago; to create their own lane and have the mainstream drive in that.
And why should they conform to the auto-tune and pop tracks of their peers? They are grown men, who are married with children. To put out tracks about being on the block or up in the club would be to advocate lifestyles that don’t really align with their beliefs or situations. And while that may be fine and dandy for some people in the game (ahem Rick Ross), The Pack is about more than that. There is a sense of responsibility that goes into their music. Not so much a responsibility to provide a social commentary or critique of some kind (although they do), but more a sense of making music that is true to their community, to their kids, and to themselves.
But where does this come from? Minnesota may be the cause. MSP had this to say:
Minnesota is a place where originality exudes. We were able to appreciate the region’s influence on our music yet generate our own sound. There wasn’t any pressure placed upon us to “represent Minnesota” like there are for artists coming out of the East, West, or South. The downside to that is that there aren’t many resources available to hip hop artists coming out of the Twin Cities. That makes getting national/international attention a bit more difficult to attain.
Indeed, it seems to be a decision that most hip hop artists have to make at some point in their careers: Go for big money and mainstream success or do something completely different and original and take whatever comes along with that. The Pack was coming up in the “golden era” of hip hop, when the way to gain notoriety was to do something completely different and creative, and add something new to the culture. Rastar spoke on this, as well as the way the industry has changed from then to now.
Our agenda was always to form our own lane and to do whatever we wanted to do artistically. Today is seems that you have to sound like so-and-so in order for the masses to gravitate toward your music. Also, the digital age wasn’t as prevalent either. Today’s artists can establish their own careers using the internet. Computer programs have made it easy for virtually anyone to create a home demo that sounds almost studio-like in quality. The good thing about it is that artists no longer have to rely on label deals to be successful.
The Pack seems to have caught some of that DIY attitude themselves. Their two latest videos, for the singles Attraction and Ideas of Grandeur were both shot using 3G iphones: “We wanted to stay away from producing something that had too much of an HD feel. The majority of videos out today all have very similar imagery and they look homogenous. We wanted to showcase our creative side by offering a different visual conception and feel. Each videos was an experimental project. In “Attraction” we wanted to create a video that was grown and sexy without being trashy and misogynistic. It’s all about flirtation in this video. For “Ideas of Grandeur”, we simply wanted to showcase who we are as artists; our energy, how we get down at live shows, lyrical range, etc.”
In the past 12 years since their debut LP Bousta Set It (For the Record), The Abstract Pack has gone through ups and downs, highs and lows. The decision to ultimately reform the group, start their own indie label, Pack Material LLC, and put out Ear-Responsible was in part due to popular demand from their fans. But regardless of fights, break ups, and everything else that’s happened along the way, one overwhelming notion remains: At the end of the day they are a family first, and that is what matters most.
Eklipz further elaborates on this: “We are, first and foremost, brothers. The music is the common bond we share. We’ve lived together, fought together, helped raise each others kids, helped raise one another (most of us come from single parent homes where Mom served as both parents), we even had to bury one of our original members (RIP Herbert Ford Foster IV aka Sess). The truth is that we’ve broken up several times since founding the group, but the spiritual bond we share cannot be unlinked regardless of how much we disagree, argue, or fight. That’s what you see within any family structure. At the end of the day music is music but family is forever.”
Make sure to check out the new album when it drops, because it will definitely be worth a listen. The Pack will be providing fans with a free copy of Ear-Responsible. All you need to do is join their Fans List by emailing your email to email@example.com and you’ll be sent a link to a free download!