Abdominal Escape From The Pigeon Hole

While you’d still be hard-pressed in 2007 to convincingly outline an exportable representation of a unified Toronto hip-hop scene, it’s always comforting to know that this city is quietly turning out some serious heat. Indelible T-dot MC Abdominal, never a slouch on the mic, returns in pristine form with his latest disc, Escape From The Pigeon Hole, a cover to cover lesson in vocal diversity from a man who attacks his tracks from every angle. The record opens with Abs chronicling his great escape over a shuffling jazz snippet before breaking into a clever respiratory exercise in "Breathe Later.” Toronto mayor David Miller intros an elegy to every stretch of his temporary kingdom on "T-ode,” while the tireless MC truly flexes his muscle on "Abdominal Workout,” delivering his always effortless flow with spitfire ferocity over a high-paced cut cooked up by DJ Format. Ugly Duckling producer Young Einstein tosses up a slick old school break topped with a funky keyboard loop and bass lick for lead single "Pedal Pusher,” keeping him in good stead alongside fellow beat smiths Cut Chemist and DJ Fase, among others. Abdominal shows a more revealing side on the groovy, laidback "Open Relationship,” with jazz singer Elizabeth Shepherd playing the other half of a relationship of convenience on the hook before reappearing with some tight piano work on record closer "Flyer Antics,” a showstopper that features everything from Abs rhyming out a bass line to quirky Akai breakdowns and intricate Brazilian tambourine acrobatics. Be careful, you might hurt yourself with this one! (Handcuts)