Showing posts with label ab-soul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ab-soul. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

video review: 'do what thou wilt.' by ab-soul

So this was a strange review. A lot of fun to make, and a surprisingly quick one to put together, but strange all the same. Huh.

Anyway, probably only two reviews left - at best - as I try to put together my year-end lists - stay tuned!

album review: 'do what thou wilt.' by ab-soul

I feel like I should like Ab-Soul so much more than I do.

Okay, that's a misleading statement, because for the most part I do like this guy. His breakthrough project Control System was a great record, with the sort of creativity and ideas that made for thought-provoking listens and could compensate for wordplay that either slid towards corniness or revealed more flaws than can really be excused. I had a lot of hope that on future projects he'd be able to refine his ideas and sound into something that was sharper and harder and more cohesive...

And then he released These Days. I'll be blunt, I was probably too easy on that record when I reviewed it, trying to search for deeper themes or satirical elements that didn't coalesce, and when the hooks just weren't there to match the production or slew of guest verses that were really all over the place, I found myself looking for reasons to like it and coming up short. And ever since then, I've heard plenty of guest verses from him, from collaborations with The Game to Jay Rock to Danny Brown and while so many have praised him, I've been consistently underwhelmed. I don't what to tell you, he's slipped towards corniness more often I'd really excuse and he's still not a consistently strong wordsmith in terms of constructing his bars. Hell, that's one of the reasons why I'm not all that surprised that it took so long for my Patreon voters to push this to the top of the schedule, maybe some of that spark had died out in comparison to his peers who had been more consistent or who had pushed out more interesting projects. But there was a part of me that still had real hope Ab-Soul could pull this off, although his list of guest stars was certainly different than I was expecting. I was more surprised than I probably should be that there was no Kendrick verse - he's consistently shown up Ab-Soul every time he's been on one of his records - but outside of ScHoolboy Q, Punch, and SZA, Ab-Soul seemed to be pulling from outside of TDE for this. I expected Mac Miller, they've worked together before, but Rapsody, Bas from Dreamville, Da$h from the A$AP Mob, and even Kokane, an oldschool veteran who started his career with Eazy-E? So yeah, I was curious - what did we get from Do What Thou Wilt.?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

video review: 'these days...' by ab-soul

A bit of a frustrating record, but definitely worth many listens.

So, this'll be the last video filmed at this set - moving to a new apartment tomorrow, so we'll see what the new set-up will look like. Either way, stay tuned! 

album review: 'these days' by ab-soul

I've mentioned in the past that every critic - hell, the mainstream music press - are smart to keep their eyes on Top Dawg Entertainment, the indie record label that signed Kendrick Lamar amongst others. Over the past few years, the label has very quickly garnered a reputation for high quality rap music, and it's always interesting taking that first look into the artists on that label. Kendrick Lamar, everyone should know at this point, and I've already spoken on Schoolboy Q and SZA when I reviewed the records they released this year.

But what about Ab-Soul? Heralded as the 'nerd' of TDE, his 2012 album Control System was a jaw-dropping fusion of creative, multi-faceted references and one of the more outlandish rap releases of that year in terms of its content and execution. And like all of TDE's releases, it was defined by its contradictions. Where Kendrick's good kid, m.A.A.d city was defined by the dichotomy between his responsibilities to his family and his character and the world tearing away at them, and Schoolboy Q's Habits & Contradictions and Oxymoron were at their core defined by the gangsta doing bad things with good intent, Ab-Soul goes for something more primal: the internal battle between a wicked intellect and the ignorance that sells. And thus we get Control System, an album in a haze that might be coaxed by drugs but goes for something spiritual. And while Ab-Soul wasn't the greatest technical rapper in the game - he rhymed too many words with themselves to be excused, and it got really distracting - the creativity and depth to the project demanded appreciation, along with a succession of killer guest verses and really strong beats.

So you can bet I was psyched to dig into Ab-Soul's new album titled These Days - how is it?