Abhi the Nomad, known for his innovative rapping style and buoyant tracks, has dropped his first project in two years and fourth studio album, Abhi vs The Universe. With back-to-back upbeat jams, it's perfect for uplifting any mood and simply having a good time. A perfect blend of hip-hop, funk, and R&B, there's something for everyone in this 13 track collection of bangers.
Abhi vs The Universe takes sonic cohesion to the next level. Every song feels connected, purposeful, and complimentary of one another. This is largely due to the outros on each track that serve as cliffhangers, leaving listeners curious for more. With this project, Abhi is navigating and adding to the current '70s sound revival, where we're seeing acts like Silk Sonic bringing a smoother sound to mainstream music. Although there are heavy themes discussed and lyrics worth dissecting, the album is all about the feel-good flow and energy that it channels.
"Extra Life" does what any great intro track should do, setting the tone perfectly. Abhi invites listeners in with a groovy, deep bass and optimistic lyricism. The retro outro also gives a taste of what to expect, an album rife with homages to classic R&B and funk. In "Good Luck," Abhi's cheekiness, an attitude that is apparent throughout the project, is introduced. He sings about superstition in an engaging, fresh way and incorporates memorable production elements like the vibrant trumpet.
Another standout track is "Bag," which embraces its simple, euphoric vibe, exuding a fearless confidence. With clever lyrics like "I got a salary from posting 30 second videos" (very indicative of our time), Abhi showcases his smart pen and sharp delivery effortlessly. The vibes continue in "Flowerbby," a song with a gorgeous saxophone moment and a humorous outro that brings insight into Abhi's personality.
The middle of the album flies by, with standout moments like Brian McCaslin's feature on "Reason." Although there are multiple solid features throughout the project, McCaslin's addition elevates the track to new heights. We also hear the first significant trap influence in "Rockstar," which invites listeners deeper into Abhi's world with it's personal lyricism and storytelling. More of an indie rock sound is explored in "Cable Car," which is a romantic, beachy track that uses vintage analogies to bring us the first "love song" on the project.
The last portion of Abhi vs The Universe explores darker sounds and themes, with tracks like "Wasted" and "Close To You." They're smooth, sexy, and impossible not to bop your head to. Abhi explores a theme that we can all relate to on "Mexico," pure escapism. It has indie rock elements that channel bands known for their laid-back nature like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but with an Abhi The Nomad twist in the form of an impressive flow during the latter half of the track.
"Circle" is the ultimate album closer and could certainly not be placed anywhere else in the journey that is Abhi vs The Universe. The beginning clip, of what sounds like a moment from a session, breaks the fourth wall in an extremely grounding way. It's one of the more serious tracks on the album and shows Abhi getting vulnerable about his life and the struggles of being an artist. He sings, "You feel my anxiety upon ya / Don't know if you've heard it but it's right there in the chorus," a powerful statement for musicians and listeners alike. It provides an introspective ending that juxtaposes the bulk of the album and leaves you questioning everything you just heard, in the best way.
Abhi vs The Universe is just what you need to shake off the end of summer blues. Although the album isn't all sunshine and rainbows lyricially, it's optimistic energy is impossible to deny.
Listen to Abhi vs The Universe below: