Chillman’s debut LP is the first full release from In The Balance Records, a new label bringing some quality hip-hop to the table. It’s no surprise really, considering the label was started by veteran MC and producer Verb T, and he provides all of the beats on here, as well as appearing on a number of tracks. Chillman is a Hereford based artist, and his name suits the music; the mellow vibe and introspective lyricism is executed masterfully throughout, and there’s also features from Leaf Dog, Moreone and Chillman’s Verbal Highz crew.
‘Say’ is a fantastic opener; the glossy synthesizers and thumping, filtered drums are great production choices and Chillman demonstrates his silky flow, and for those previously unfamiliar with his music this is guaranteed to get you vibing with the positivity and mellow lyricism. ‘Defeat Stress’, previously released on the EP of the same name follows, and it’s chilled, professionally executed aesthetic still sounds as fresh now as when it first dropped. ‘Get Live’ features Leaf Dog, and the subtle joint is another dope, calmly delivered track; the consistent sonic theme and raw, introspective lyricism keeps coming with each cut from the LP, and Chillman doesn’t stop impressing for a second.
‘Royale With Cheese’ is a great, witty cut, and ‘Funky Drifiting’s infectious bassline and dusty drums are authentic and memorable. The majority of the tracks on ‘Abstract Patterns’ have a short run-time, and the concise nature of the LP works very much in the MC’s favour, as the diverse collection of songs serves as a great introduction to the various styles that Chillman can operate in. Verb T and fellow In The Balance signee Moreone appear on the authentic, boom bap banger ‘Step Into The Unknown’, and the energetic, charismatic verses are convincing and flowed with passion and skill over the smooth instrumental.
The quirky, upbeat ‘You Are You’ is a standout, with it’s groovy bassline and phased drums. Verb T appears once again, and the chemistry between his beats and Chillman’s writing is fantastically enjoyable; you’d have thought that this was a project deep in their catalogue, not the first collaborative release from the pair. The double-time spitting on ”Drop Degrees’ is well executed, and it’s a dope change from his usual style found across the majority of the ‘Abstract Patterns’ LP; the simplistic, spacious instrumental complements the vocals brilliantly, and it’s not the stereotypical vibe you’d instantly think of working with the rapid flows found on the track. The LP closes out with ‘Funk Dialect’, a superb posse-cut featuring the other members of Verbal Highz, alongside Joe Publik.
‘Abstract Patterns’ is never stale, and it’s forward-thinking too. Chillman and Verb T have a natural chemistry, and both the beats and the bars are original, unique and distinguishable. The cohesive sound and the concise length make for a great introduction to Chillman as an MC, and also to start to carve out a niche for In The Balance Records as an entity. This is the first thing to drop from the label, and with plenty more talented artists in the roster, things are looking very exciting over at ITB. Go cop this one, it’s available now.
By Sam Bennett