Gensu Dean & Planet Asia:
Beatmaker Gensu Dean and Planet Asia (Fresno, California-based Jason Green) pool their respective talents for the hour-long Abrasions, seventeen tracks of hip-hop fire. Making good on the Gensu title, crate-digger Dean's production skills and imagination are evident throughout in the dense, SP1200-based backings that loop repeatedly behind Green's lethal raps. Check out “Bar Mitzvah,” whose descending line makes for a brain-addling counterpart to the MC's verbal fire—though it's the soulful bass line popping up that's the track's real coup de grace.
The set features no small number of ear-catching moments: Philly strings add an urgent backdrop to the insistent bass pulse powering “Cochise”; bucolic bird chirps add to a minimal, old-school funk groove on “Aura”; and electric guitars and organ add creamy noise to the Dilla-fied swirl of “Chichi, Get The Yayo.” Dean's resourceful in the samples used (he's apparently got 7,000-plus pieces in his vinyl collection), many of them dusty and suggesting origins in soul and jazz (would that be a snippet of “Bootylicious” powering “Tough”?).
The album features a generous number of guests, with Twin Gambino, Killa Kali, David Banner, Tristate, Tragedy Khadafi, Shawn Pen, Gold Chain Military, and Rogue Venom among the contributors. That strategy works well in bringing vocal contrast to a cut such as “Dignity,” where the voices of Asia and Tristate both blend smoothly and clearly separate; Asia's attack is also captured nicely on “Faces On the Dollar,” where his Doom-laden, NC-17 flow unspools against a trippy downtempo backing, and on “Do What I Want,” whose harpsichord-driven lope receives a fresh boost from the presence of female voices (LarIna & Washey Choir). Be forewarned: lyrically, the material is uncompromisingly adult and in-your-face so be sure to send the kids outside to play when a raw jam like “Chuck Berry” fills the room.