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Gabriel Teodros: Lovework (Massline Media).

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Seattle, Washington, emcee Gabriel Teodros brings a litany of international influences and concerns to his music--so many it seems that an attempt to address all he's chosen to speak on would make for a weighty, pedantic record. Gratefully, Teodros is possessed of skill beyond his years and a refreshing lack of self-importance that is the bane of so-called "conscious" or "message-minded" hip-hop.


First coming to attention as half of the Northwest U.S.-based duo Abyssinian Creole (and releasing a six-song EP in 2005), Teodros has honed his craft since the mid-1990s, as evidenced by the approach to his subject matter and immensely talented group of performers. Lovework was produced largely by keyboardist Amos Miller, and Teodros' breathy, intense, low-voiced delivery rides, sails and torpedoes through a sea of burbling jazz keyboards, fuzz guitar, underwater bass and rattling snare hits. Most MCs would be well-advised to leave their friends home when recording an album; Teodros proves the exception to this rule, bringing a bunch of his own friends along for the ride, including his rhyme partner, Khings Makhoma, Seattle underground star Toni Hill ("Don't Cry For Us," "Lovework Reprise") and numerous others who provide absolutely gorgeous backing vocal arrangements. Clear-eyed about the consequences of his displacement as a child of the post-colonial world, Teodros produces lyricism that comes off as a pleading and imploring friend from around the way as opposed to the typical more-revolutionary-than-thou shtick. Young and romantic and imbued with the spirit of possibility, Lovework is the soul of an old man.
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Author:Kalamka, Juba
Publication:Colorlines Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 2007
Previous Article:Susan Tedeschi: Hope and Desire (Verve Forecast).
Next Article:Omara Portuondo: Sentimento (Escondido Music).

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