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GETTING TO KNOW: ABSTRACT MINDSTATE



Abstract Mindstate are a Chicago-born hip-hop duo with a legacy deeply rooted in the evolution of the genre, have made a triumphant return with their latest single "True Story". Distributed by Virgin Records through Honest Music / Barak With Love, this track featuring Simthandile Mtolo delivers a soulful, feel-good experience while intricately weaving the narrative of their growth and journey through the trials and roadblocks of the industry.


From the outset, Mtolo's opening verse sets the stage with a melody that resonates deeply, inviting listeners into the world of Abstract Mindstate. As the track progresses, Olskool Ice-Gre enters with his signature powerful rhymes, painting a vivid picture of the deceptiveness and secrecy encountered on their journey. We sat down with the pair to learn more about "True Story", how the collaboration came about and much more here at Curios for Music. Check it out below!


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Hey Abstract Mindstate, how are you doing?


Olskool Ice-Gre: Amazing! EP da Hellcat: Awesome!


What inspired the creation of "True Story," and what message do you hope listeners take away from the song?


EP da Hellcat: Redemption inspired my lyrics. I would like the listeners to understand that every experience and encounter has the propensity to be a teaching moment, but only when we are learning from them.


Olskool Ice-Gre: Personal experience inspired my lyrics. The message I’d like listeners to take away from the song is the truth. Not everyone who claims to be a real friend, brother or even associate, will honor the brotherhood with the same level of loyalty and happiness you have for them and their endeavors.


How did the collaboration with Simthandile Mtolo come about, and what was it like working together on this track?


Olskool Ice-Gre: The collaboration with Simthandile Mtolo came about by way of the producer relationship between Young RJ of Slum Village and Dave Audinary. Both Simthandile Mtolo and Dave Audinary are from South Africa (Durban I believe), and she’s an artist he works with. Dave and RJ’s collaboration on the production resulted in Abstract Mindstate being blessed with Simthandile’s beautiful vocals. I look forward to meeting her in person as well as performing the song together live one day. Preferably somewhere in South Africa. Dave and I spoke when E.P and I were in Detroit working on the album. He and I have been in contact via WhatsApp and social media since the single dropped. I look forward to building with Simthandile the same.


EP da Hellcat: As soon as the track came on and I heard Simthandile vocals over that vibe, I told Young RJ we wanted it!!!!


Can you share the personal experiences or inspirations behind your verses in "True Story"?


Olskool Ice-Gre: Sure. My verse is directed at the actions of a few people, four to be exact. Three college buddies who I was very close with up until just a couple of years ago and the fourth individual was more like a brother.


EP da Hellcat: For me, there was no direction towards speaking to specific situations. It was a mantra for self and others.


What motivated you to explore the theme of artistic and personal growth in your lyrics, and how does it reflect your own journey as artists?


Olskool Ice-Gre: Well, what motivated me was shock and disbelief. I couldn’t believe what was said about me in some cases and what was said to me in others from individuals so close. I’ve never been an angry person. As a matter of fact, I have a reputation as a pretty happy, honest, positive, optimistic, always smiling, reliable, cup half full kinda guy. My personality has always been to go directly at things, but personal growth (as you mentioned) has matured me in terms of the need to address everything all the time. Although I had one on one talks with at least two of the four I’m addressing in my verse, even those talks were not worth my time. But as an artist or writer, it’s always cathartic to release often time eye opening, relatable and sometimes life changing for the listener.


EP da Hellcat: It should be natural to speak your truth ...the purpose of any medium of “art” is the need to be free enough to be self expressive. My journey continues to be growth and development as a spiritual human...the growth lyrically is an organic by-product.


How was the collaborative process with producers Young RJ and Dave Audinary in creating the music for "True Story"?


Olskool Ice-Gre: Unfortunately for us, they’d already gone through the process so it was as simple as Young RJ saying “hey I have a joint I feel will fit yall perfectly” then hitting play on the boards in his studio. The rest was “new single” by Abstract Mindstate history lol.


EP da Hellcat: We were not part of creating the foundation of the song. The nuts and bolts were already there. We are more than blessed to be the beneficiaries of an excellent collab!


Can you provide any hints about what listeners can expect from your upcoming album in terms of themes or musical style?


Olskool Ice-Gre: Ha ha!! If I tell you I’m gonna have to...nah just kidding lol. The themes are what we’ve been known for as a group and that’s very honest, relatable, thought provoking, fun, witty, lyrical, Adult Contemporary Hip Hop. It’s what we’ve made since the inception of the group but with a fresh Detroit Soul take on the sound. Chicago (where we’re from) and Detroit are Midwest cousins. We’re both very soulful but in our own way. My new way to describe it is to say Chi has that forward head nod, but Detroit has that backwards head nod like Biggie did in the One More Chance remix video. Detroit Soul has a latency that gives it a different swing and Slum Village are the kings of that Soulful Detroit Hip Hop. Let’s just say E.P and I got to kick off our shoes and play around in that Detroit sand if you get what I mean.


EP da Hellcat: The listeners can expect to get what they have been missing but did not realize that they missed it. “True” stories, mature lessons, BARS... a fun time will be had by all.

What were some memorable moments or challenges you encountered during the recording and production of "True Story"?


Olskool Ice-Gre: The most memorable moments for me were the laughs. The jokes were non-stop from the time we landed and started recording until we were done. Young RJ is cut from the same cloth as me and E.P. We have the same sense of humor. He and I go deep talking about Hip Hop and assessing the state of all things associated, but mostly it’s the energy of the collective effort of making the best Abstract Mindstate songs possible that I remember most. Young RJ is a very unselfish, supportive, human that happens to be a dope producer/artist. He’s in one of the greatest Hip Hop groups of all time but treated us like we were De La Soul or The Fugees. Slum Village is our brothers! As a group we’ve done a West Coast tour with them and are about to hit Europe as special guests on their “Fun Since 92” tour from April 4 - May 5th. As an individual, I’ve attended every concert or performance they’ve done in the state of California (I live in LA) over the past 3-4 years. It’s been a series of dope moments and the only challenge we’ve faced in my opinion is challenging ourselves lyrically. For Abstract, how we say it, is equally as important as what we’re saying.


EP da Hellcat: The entire experience of writing, vibing out and completing what we think is an epic project, was memorable in itself. The only challenge for me was being able to choose between all the “absolute bangers” Young RJ played for us!!!


Looking ahead, what are your hopes and goals for Abstract Mindstate, both with this single and your upcoming album release?


Olskool Ice-Gre: Although I feel we have several strong songs on the new album, the goal is for True Story to get legs. It has such a refreshing sound. The South African vibes are all over it and Africa is killing it with feel good music right now. Not to sound narcissistic but if this song belonged to Common, De La Soul or The Roots, it’ll be my favorite song of theirs without doubt. I’d constantly tell E.P “man they got a joint with that True Story.” The reality is, it’s ours and although honesty in our rhymes isn’t new territory, this song in particular is a new sound for Abstract Mindstate. I’d like for the song to get a few major sync placements with TV and film as well as become a crowd favorite in our live set on tour. In terms of the album, I’d like it to become highly anticipated and receive the highest marks and reviews on the most respected/influential music platforms. Our new album deserves to receive everything Dreams Still Inspire didn’t and more. I’d like it to become the album that defines us to this generation. Abstract Mindstate is and always has been unique and thoughtful. My hope is that the world will see, feel, and say the same this time around.


EP da Hellcat: My hope is that this project garners enough appreciation from the masses, that people go back and listen to our entire body of work andrealize that “this aint nothin new.” We have alway been this!!! While I am looking forward to the upcoming tour, my dream is to have many performances all over Africa!




Stream "True Story" here:


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