PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Blood of Abraham: Eyedollartree

Steve Horowitz

Like the Boss, I believe in the Promised Land. California rappers Blood of Abraham take listeners half of the way there.

Blood of Abraham


Label: Basement
US Release Date: 2005-08-23
UK Release Date: Available as import
iTunes affiliate
Amazon affiliate

The hip-hop duo Blood of Abraham (BoA) preach against America's rampant consumerism and the international right wing conspiracy that enslaves us all. Those with power get rich off the sweat of the poor. Plus, living in poverty makes people ill, and those in charge profit from the treatment of the diseased and broken masses. People need to learn what's going on so they can overthrow the yoke of their oppressors. Gather round as BoA tell you what's really happening.

Sound familiar? Ever since Public Enemy declared rap music black America's CNN back in the early '80s, hip-hop artists have been delivering the radical news that capitalist society crushes one's individuality and keeps one down. That doesn't make the message less accurate, just less than original. MCs Benyad and Mazik dispense the intelligence with verbal virtuosity. They rhythmically speak over some heavy beats and inspired soundtracks taken from old records and radio broadcasts. The two rock the house when the flow gets going, which is about half the disc. The other half lacks excitement as they say the same old stuff in the same old ways one has heard before.

It should be noted that Benyad and Mazik are Jewish, not black. BoA belong to that genre known as "Hebe hop", along with the biggest machers in the house, the Beastie Boys, and others like Aesop Rock, Remedy, Members of the Tribe, and MC Paul Barman. These artists take pride in their ethnic identity by making self-referential remarks, but otherwise do not share any particular traits or worldview. BoA share more in common with their Los Angeles brethren like Eazy E (with whom they used to record), and will.i.am (from the Black Eyed Peas), Divine Styler, and Kool Keith (the last three make guest appearances on this disk). The name Blood of Abraham coyly reflects this. Not only are Jews the direct descendents of Abraham, strictly speaking, so are Christians and Moslems.

BoA's main message is "Paranoia is Awareness". The MCs make the most sense when they urge people to pay attention to what's going on, rather than list the political, social, and economic ills that surround us. The latter can lead to some funny lines, from the simple (i.e., "The government should hand out free shampoo with their conditioning") to the more intricate ( i.e., "America bites the young / Takes a swallow / Then it shits / On everyone it can / Filipinos, blacks or Cuban") but the lyrics do not get too complex. The duo's analysis never seems very dense. "You can lead a man to knowledge / But you can't make him think", is their motto. BoA only takes the listener so far. "In America today / Something something is not right", they rap. The repetition of the word "something" illustrates both their creativity and their limits. It's catchy, but doesn't really say much.

The two have unearthed some great found material and incorporated it into their creations. They use what sounds like a church retreat's campground singalong, complete with insect noises, that begins with and repeats the line "God's gonna set this world on fire" into their story song "Hurricane". They end "Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove" with a discussion of Madonna's spiritual concerns that fades into a Benny Goodman-like clarinet solo atop an old movie monologue on the joys of department store shopping. Their dissing of Madonna's spiritualism as just another consumer pleasure works because of the BoA's creative response to her choice.

The datedness of some of BoA's allusions suggests that some of the songs, or at least some segments of the raps, must have been sitting around for a long time. "This ain't Cheers / I'm not the Norm" they say in one song. "I'm walking like Sean Penn" (think of the film Dead Man Walking) they state in another. The two mention a host of dated pop culture references from the workout tape Buns of Steel to the television show Star Trek to the board game Trivial Pursuit. While the wordplay can be clever -- the Cheers one is funny -- it does detract from the timeliness of the recording.

The disc ends with a strange pulp science fiction story, "Omegaton", about an apocalyptic future where women are the only accepted currency. Kool Keith and Divine Styler contribute to this tale of sex and corruption, but the plot doesn't really go anywhere. "Omegaton" depicts an Earth where water is more valuable than gold and people will do anything to get it. The analogy to today's global ills, whether it's that people will do anything for money or oil or whatever, remains self-evident. BoA find their job is only to interpret the world, not to change it.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.