Written By: Fletcher Bonin
When the topic of Atlanta’s music scene comes up, your mind probably instantly goes to the lords of trap such as Future, Migos, Young Thug and Gucci. If you’re really into music, maybe you’ll think of the Atlanta based collective Awful Records. While this group is comprised almost entirely of male rappers, one voice stands out. This would be ABRA, the group’s only female and its only singer. With roots in New York and London, Atlanta only adds to her unique sound. Her music is soulful R&B played over ethereal electro-beats. This makes for a simultaneously mellow and complex sound, the vulnerability of R&B belied by the upbeat, tessellating electronica instrumentals.
Her latest EP is entitled PRINCESS. True to the title, all six tracks are regal in sound, thanks in large part to her heart stopping vocal range. There is something intrinsically retro about her music, the simplicity of the beats lending themselves to a familiar 80’s sound that is then deepened by the quality of her lyrical performance. ABRA is fiercely independent and wildly talented, channeling intensity and passion into each song. The EP runs like an internal monologue, ABRA figuring things out for herself and taking we lucky listeners along for the ride. She holds nothing back and each song exposes a new emotion that she seems to be processing via the music itself.
This makes for truly moving and intriguing music, and also makes it hard to choose a favorite track. On the track ‘Big Boi’ which features Tommy Genesis, she slides into a trippy, languid rap flow. She raps, “you’re buying bottle after bottle and you’re trying to feel on me, didn’t know I got them shooters and they waiting in the cut, you must be looking for hooters because I am not the one.” With the help of some vocal editing, this becomes a haunting and dangerous sounding track. ABRA makes it pretty clear here that you shouldn’t cross her, and she can rep Atlanta’s hardcore scene with the best of them.
My favorite track, however, features her singing in her signature post-modern R&B style. The track is ‘Come 4 Me’ and it is irreverently independent. Her voice soars over simple bass-heavy instrumentals. She sings, “I’m ‘bout to dive in my honey, then flip that band and make more money.” Her voice rises and falls, releasing these sharp lyrics with confidence and control. PRINCESS is ABRA’s arrival onto music’s mainstream, shunning the mainstream in favor of her own, personalized sound.