BandHip HopAlternative

A man's man and a true MC for any hip-hop connoisseur. Abdominal leaves microphones in shreds with his razor sharp flow and keeps the heads noddin with his diverse lyrical observations. Peep the tracks and video at www.myspace.com/mcabdominal


Andy Bernstein grew up in Greektown, East End Toronto on a steady diet of skateboarding, souvlaki, art, punk rock and hip hop. Rocking the name MC Abdominal, he formed his first rap crew with the now legendary DJ Serious as a teenager, and started recording, honing his freestyle chops, building an astounding lung capacity, and developing into one of the most lyrically gifted and charismatic performers ever to grace the shores of Lake Ontario.

A chance meeting in 1998 at a downtown party lead him to first cross paths with DJ Fase. The two hit it off immediately, and once the rest of the club had emptied out, Fase pulled out a tape and showed Abdominal some of his own material. “It turned out he had a beat that he had made that day,” he reminisces, “which ended up being the beat to “Vinyl Frontier”, our first single. So when everyone cleared out of the bar, he played me the beat off this little cassette player he had. I was like, oh shit, I need to write to this!”

Like puzzle pieces clicking into place, they paired up as Abs & Fase, began recording together, and a limited run of Vinyl Frontier records (with “Fly Antics” holding up the B-side) made its way into the hot hands of DJs, radio hosts, and record collectors around the globe. One of them was picked up by UK producer DJ Format, who was floored by this unknown Canadian emcee, and invited him to England to collaborate.

Abdominal’s raps became a standout feature on Format’s first two full-length releases—Music for the Mature B-Boy and If You can’t Join ‘Em…Beat ‘Em—selling upwards of 65,000 copies in total worldwide, and spinning off into several highly acclaimed international singles and video releases (“The Hit Song”, “Vicious Battle Raps”, and “3-Feet Deep” featuring fellow Canuck D-Sisive). The duo hit the road for three years, and from 2003 to 2005 they toured as part of Jurassic 5’s European tour, toured with Ugly Duckling, spent a month touring Australia with the Good Vibrations Festival (alongside Lyrics Born and Handsome Boy Modeling School), opened for Roy Ayers, De La Soul and Blackalicious, and rocked the revered stages of the world famous Glastonbury Festival, Leeds Festival, and Reading Festival twice.

The Jurassic 5 tour, and his subsequent experiences on the road with Format, were major turning points in Abdominal’s growing, globe-trotting career. “Sleeping on a tour bus, a show every night, thousands of people. It was my first proper taste of what it was like to be an international musician. It rejuvenated my love for the form.”

Abdominal’s various collaborations and versatile playbook of approaches to the art of emceeing has allowed him to avoid too much type-casting—though, as with any artist, some labels can be hard to shake. On tracks like “Ill Culinary Behaviour” or “Fast Food”, his ode to all things fried on the Abs & Fase full length, people might try to slip him into an easy role—“Oh, he’s the food rapper.” Paired with DJ Fase’s more sci-fi beats, listeners might hit him with a different label—“Oh, he’s the backpacker!” When he flows overtop DJ Format’s up-tempo instrumentals, he gets thrown into yet another category—“Oh, he’s that old skool kinda guy.” What these listeners don’t know is that Abdominal cannot be held to such confines. And so we come to this, the grandest of plans for 2007—Abdominal’s Escape From The Pigeon Hole.

Escape From the Pigeon Hole was released in the Spring of '07 to rave reviews in the UK, Japan, Canada and Australia.
“This is my first solo record,” Abdominal explains proudly. Featuring production by DJ Format, DJ Fase, DJ Serious, Cut Chemist (from Jurassic 5), Young Einstein (from Ugly Duckling), local duo Circle Research, cuts by World DMC champion DJ Dopey, and a special appearance by local jazz phenom Elizabeth Shepherd, this record is Abdominal’s richest, most vibrant, most artistically diverse project to date. “My goal is to show a more complete picture of who I am.”

The tracklisting is filled with concept songs, ranging from stories about being a bike courier, open relationships, not giving a f**k, and his cat. Strong lyricism, detailed imagery, plenty of humour, and the illest of flows carry through the album beautifully, from start to finish.

The first single off of the album Pedal Pusher won the 2007 SOCAN Echo Prize for Canadian song of the year. With the success of his first solo album,
Abdominal is not only escaping the pigeon hole—he is leaving it far behind in his pedal-pushing dust.


Pedal Pusher

Written By: Abdominal

Put my foot to the pedal, slip it in the basket, no helmet, so maybe I’ll end up in a casket
prematurely, yo knock on oak.
Abdominal, rocket on spokes.
Resting on rubber by Continental,
on a vintage frame from Miele made of metal,
mid-80’s factory pink, with the white trim.
Not following? I know cycling my man,
legs like Tyson’s.
31 years old, still don’t have my driver’s license
for real, so fuck an automobile,
& big-ups to all those people pushing those 2 wheels.
Before I had this mic career,
I was on the streets hustling as a bike courier.
Now I’m catching trans-Atlantic flights,
but when the tour’s done, it’s back on the bike,
climbin’ ascents,
so when I’m rhymin’ my breath
never-ending like as if I had a mine for a chest.
Treat a beat like the Tour de France,
verses earning me the yellow jersey like Lance,
uncontested champ with consecutive wins.
Clockwise wheel motion, like a record it spins.
All day in the saddle ‘til my tush hurts,
Abs, certified pedal pusher.

I’m a pedal pusher, push pedals like crazy,
from A to B.
I’m a pedal pusher, push pedals all day B,
from A to B.
I’m a pedal pusher, push pedals like daisies,
from A to B.
I’m a pedal pusher, I push pedals
& I’d say eat my dust, but it’s already settled.

Squirt a little cross-country on the chain,
get a fresh rag, wipe down the frame.
Ready to go, tie my army pants at the knees,
already have ‘nuff pants covered in grease.
Slip on the discman,
eyes so sharp, they do the listening,
whilst supplying vision at the same time.
Waste no time to slide my ride
into a break in the line of traffic.
Don’t ask me why man, for some reason I need a matchstick
in between my lips to help me concentrate,
‘til I hit that zone where there’s no need to contemplate
every movement.
Muscle memory computin’ conclusions
quicker than the thinking mind,
strictly relying on instincts to wind
through this river of grimy
exhaust pipes, pothole, pigeons,
streetcar tracks you can slip in,
pedestrians, potential door prizes,
pretty girls that divert your eyes at that crucial juncture,
and of course the constant possibility of a puncture,
pollution to make your lungs strain.
All the same, fuck a country lane.
Not the same rush as biking in rush hour.
Hit the florist if I wanna touch flowers,
that’s for old people on bike tours,
I’m in the city, flying over sewers.
Not the fastest on a straight-away,
but in downtown traffic, I’ll lay you to waste,
straight-up man, so don’t test my mettle.
My name’s Abdominal, & I push pedals.

[Repeat Chorus.]

Abdominal Workout

Written By: Abdominal

Well they say that you never get a second chance to make that first impression.
If that’s the case man c’mon, just gimme your unadulterated attention.
Just a suggestion, especially for the people who never heard me before.
If you’re not 100% satisfied, get your money back at the door.
‘Cuz we’re just that confident with this product &
it’s so flippin’ hot that it’s off the thermometer.
It’s the phenomenon that people be hoppin’ on,
so follow along on the Ab-dominal workout.
Working out with a verse that I shout into a microphone.
More than words than words from my mouth,
more like the end result of years of me just chillin’ in my r-r-room.
Not giving a fuck about a goddam thing except writing the illest t-t-t-tune.
So feast your ears on precisely that.
Don’t mean to be bold, but I’m reciting raps,
and that’s the nature of this animal in case you didn’t know.
In case you didn’t know my name is Abdominal,
reputation is to flip a flow, rip a foe, collect the dough, get a ho, then hit tha do’.
Sip some mo’, while kissing said ho under mistletoe, & it ain’t even Christmas yo.

I thought we could take this time
to try to get better acquainted, I’m
Abdominal, really the pleasure’s all mine,
I mean I heard so much, I’m sure we’ll get along just fine.

Well I’m about, to flip it again.
Without a doubt, you’re listening in.
So gather ‘round, start assemblin’
Into a crowd, so that we can begin.
Race fans, there’s the checkered flag.
Rappers you can pack your bags,
‘cuz you’re not really needed here.
Listen to the way even the people in the nosebleeders cheer,
soon as I step on the track.
You can check your emcee almanac,
says I’m a bag of chips plus all of that.
Emcees steppin’ up but fallin’ back.
Call a quack, for those dumb enough not to know
they’re not supposed to rock with pros.
I rock with prose, mock your flows, block your blows,
chop your hos, stop your show, shock your soul,
y’ought to know, there’s lots to go.
So don’t go anywhere,
get your money’s worth, not a penny spared.
Speaking economically,
this is probably the most syllables on any LP
in your whole goddam collection.
Fu-Schnickens of course the exception.
Still man, quite a steal,
unadulterated verses on the real.
Not a lotta repeating hooks you gotta skip through,
just quality raps you can flip to.
Shake your hips to, lose your shit to, take a sip to, put up your fists to,
talk to a chick to.
maybe get lucky, take her back to the crib to,
have a kid to, or wrap it in a lid to.
Also suitable just to listen to.
I gotta step dude,
so right now, let me bid you adieu.

[repeat chorus]


LP - Escape From The Pigeonhole (2007, Do Right Music [Canada], Antidote [Europe, Aus], Handcuts [Japan])

12" - Abdominal Workout (2007, Japan only)

12" - Pedal Pusher (2007)

LP - Flowtation Device (2005, PIAS)

Set List

Ever changing, a 60 minute hip hop carnival that will leave you delighted and spent.