featured REVIEW


Gabriel Teodros Lovework Massline Media • 2007

Love and work is not difficult to match for an artist like Gabriel Teodros. Coming from Seattle, Washington and being one half of the group Abyssinian Creole, his music is determined by a social consciousness that tackles issues such as sexism, racism and homophobia, with constant references to his engagement towards third world issues, a.o., due to his Ethiopian background.

'Work is love made visible', we read on Teodros' Myspace page, a quote (by Khalil Gibran) that emphasizes the underlying idea of the album's concept. An album made with love for music, his African peoples and women. In the opening song 'Sacred Text' it goes 'If you never heard of us that's fine, I've been vibin since Tribe was marauding through' further more namedropping groups of influence such as Freestyle Fellowship, Common Sense, BDP, PE in a creatively way; 'I remember when the resurrection saved me, my sense wasn't common', matching some albums with his biography. Also mentioned among his influences; Roy Ayers and Bob Marley, and indeed this album has a high Rastafarian percentage, not in music, but in philosophy, but then again not really surprising when you've got roots in Ethiopia.

In 'East Afrika' we're introduced to Teodros' background and view on the unjustfull differences between Africa and America while the Western supremacy over Africa, with a colonization mindstate as a result ('span class="revquote">We may not have come in chains but (we're) still enslaved in the mind), is assaulted in the vibefull, acoustic guitar-infested 'In This Together' with Teodros singing along the Mobb Deep sample 'We in this together, son, your beef is mine'.

Unconditional love for women is displayed in 'Sexcapism', a song that graces the power of women with lines such as 'Why we scared of women that could be our teachers?'. That same admiration is linked with music in 'The Dirty 6' where female emcees get props ('Little girls could rip mics with the best of em') over an up-tempo, organ break-filled production, mentioning Mystic, Eternia, Apani B Fly and Jean Grae a.o.

Most of the beats are crafted by Amos Miller displaying a range of jazzy breaks, remaining true to the in-house style of Massline Media (think Blue Scholars and Common Market albums). From Canada, Moka Only came through and produced the excellent 'No Label', where Teodros calls his music 'indefinable', not underground, not conscious, not backpack-music, just Gabriel Teodros, no gimmicks, no smoke and mirrors.

POSTED ON 02|14|2007 by cpf

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