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Despite Abdominal stating “hip-hop, we need some time apart” on opening track “Inoutro,” an autobiographical history of his relationship with hip-hop, the Toronto rapper best known for his extraordinary breath control and fun raps doesn’t so much divorce himself from hip-hop as attempt an open relationship. A mix of folk, blues and country replaces the sampling and boom bap beats. Revitalized by a backing band — guitarist Andrew Frost and percussionist Colin Kingsmore — Abs is still rapping but with a smoother flow that sometimes becomes singing, while his band provide backing harmonies and hooks. Abs delivers a diverse selection of subjects ranging from songs about a crazy ex-girlfriend to his own mental state (“Sock Hop,” on which he uses his sock drawer as a jump off point to discuss his OCD), from a hunger-inducing history of his favourite food to the bravery of his mom, which she proves with a rap of her own. Sitting Music might not be your typical hip-hop album — Abs describes it as blues-hop and “middle-aged hip-hop” — but it’s great to see an artist striving to stretch his boundaries.

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