“Look at god!” Father raps lazily in front of his computer, as he swivels in his chair. It’s the video for Father’s breakthrough record “Look At Wrist,” a four-minute-long drug-induced track that welcomed us to Father and Awful Records’ eccentricities. From that moment, Father and his crew have used their off-brand approach to rap to help re-energize the scene in their hometown of Atlanta.
Through Father, we met the entirety of Awful, including KeithCharlesSpacebar, Richposlim, Archibald Slim and Abra, among others. As the group’s reigning first lady and self-proclaimed Darkwave Duchess, Abra is the most intriguing member. She looms over the rest, in part because she skates on the outskirts of the group’s claimed genre, rap. Indeed, there are moments where she does something akin to rapping—see “Unwise”—but she’s really a crooner.
Early last year, Abra released her debut BLQ Velvet, a six-track project that guided us through her alluringly minimal variety of R&B. A few months later, she dropped the more moderately uptempo offering Rose, and this July, she gave us Princess, an EP that pulled her back to her BLQ Velvet roots.
While her aesthetic is sparse and stripped-down, and her catalog stays true to that principle, Princess is more lush and deeper in sound than her previous projects. Textured, multi-layered '80s synth-pop encapsulates the record; overall, Princess is edged by a mysterious quality. That’s wholly intentional—The FADER revealed in an interview that Abra won’t divulge her real name or age—and something that adds to her music’s ethereality.
Today (November 2), Abra released the video for the Princess cut “Pull Up,” one of the EP’s standout tracks. The self-directed and FADER-produced video draws us into her imaginative world; in the beginning, for about a minute and a half, all we hear are a collection of odd sounds: Crickets chirping, cats meowing, glass breaking, voices talking, and even a horse neighing.
Finally, after Abra and her friend get into a car, the track plays, its beat lax but bouncy. We’re taken on an otherworldly adventure throughout the video, acting as voyeurs as the Awful Records songstress plays without restraint: Pouring back with a couple of friends, freely and perilously riding on four-wheelers.
Certainly, the same earnestness from BLQ Velvet and Rose is reflected in Princess. But in just over a year, the singer has visibly matured; through Princess, she’s crafted a visionary type of pop-laden R&B that may take you places you’ve never been.
For the uninitiated, allow "Pull Up" to be your introduction to Abra before streaming her Princess EP below, via Spotify.
By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.
Photo Credit: The FADER