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This album was released on December 9th this year. Some of you may remember me saying that Ab-Soul was my most anticipated release for 2016. I just haven’t really been getting that excited about music recently tho. I think it’s just because I’ve been so stressed with college applications and my dad losing his job. I’ve heard great things about this project tho, so I’m expecting it to be dope. I’ve enjoyed all of the singles. Some of them are good. Some of them are great. I don’t think any of them have been bad tho. Also, that album cover is really dope to me. How dorky is it that I got excited about seeing Soulo’s eyes? Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention… Ummm… Well, I think TDE is kinda fuckin’ up. This album literally only had like 7 days of promotion. I mean, we knew it was coming before the release date was announced, but still. It really seems like Kendrick Lamar & ScHoolboy Q are the only Top Dawg artists who get their fair share of promotion. That thankfully doesn’t affect the quality of the music tho. It shouldn’t at least. Also, I was planning on doing an Ab-Soul Marathon before this album came out, but since they only announced the release date a week before it dropped I didn’t really have time to prepare. I guess I’ll just have to do it some other time. I’ve heard all of Ab-Soul’s projects, including the Longterm mixtapes. I don’t really remember them much tho. Honestly, I don’t even really remember Control System very well. I wasn’t really paying attention when I originally heard it. I only have 8 tracks from it in my iTunes library right now. I love all those songs tho. One of my favorite Ab-Soul songs ever is Christopher DRONEr. I hope he can surpass it on this album, but that’d be pretty difficult because that song is fucking incredible to me. So yeah. I think that’s all I’ve got to say before listening. Here we go.
Track 1: RAW (backwards) Feat. Zacari [Prod. Juice Of All Trades]
Alright, it’s starting now. OH. HOLY FUCK. YALL. Lmao. Damn. This BEAT. Hahaha. Yes. Fuck. Ab-Soul is one of my favorite rappers, but I was not expecting this. I wasn’t even really excited to hear this at first, but as soon as that beat dropped… I can already tell this is gonna be good. This flow that he’s using fits so perfectly in this beat. The hook is pretty good. This is a really good way to start the album. The first verse was dope. The production is really dark. There was a dope reference to the beef between Joey Bada$$ & Troy Ave on the second verse. OH SHIT. He just dissed Jay Electronica again. GOTDAMN. Y’all remember when Jay Elec dissed Kendrick? “It’s like a swami of Jay Electronica until he figured / Dizzle wouldn’t admit that he would body him for a milli / I told Kenny ‘keep quiet; Ima get him / We don’t need dirt on your hands getting the key to the city, you feel me?‘ / Hurts when your OG, who is supposed to be a G-O-D / Is standing next to King Kunta feeling like Toby.” This is fucking dope. He killed that second verse. That third verse was crazy too. He’s making references to insane shit like Aleister Crowley, Wicca & Agartha. This is music for people who wear tinfoil hats and think way too much. Ab-Soul is obsessed with theology tho, so it makes sense. I can’t think of any other rappers who talk about shit like this. It’s dope af. This was a great way to start the album. I definitely fuck with this shit. 5/5
Track 2: Braille Feat. Bas (Prod. WondaGurl)
I’ve already heard this song. It was released as the second single the day after my birthday. The hook’s not bad. He’s basically just saying that no idea’s original. Soulo’s flow on the first verse is awesome. It’s not hard to understand why this was chosen as a single. “Might pay your rent if you suck good dick, and you know what our time apart meant.” I think he’s doing this more mainstream sound a lot better on this song than he did on These Days… That whole album just sounded bizarrely generic. This is actually entertaining tho. Bas’ verse was dope. I kinda wish Soulo’s verse right at the end was longer. I was expecting him to really go in. He only spit like 8 bars tho. Whatever. This is still a good song to me. I’m not super blown away, but I enjoyed it. The hook is really nothing special, but the beat is dope and so were Bas & Soulo’s flows. This is dope to me. 4/5
Track 3: Huey Knew THEN Feat. Da$H (Prod. Willie B)
This track was originally released as Huey Knew on September 30th. I’m hoping that this album version will be slightly different from the single version. I mean, I hope they didn’t just slightly alter the title for no reason. And yes, I know that it’s a homophone for Huey Newton. I’m not an idiot. I just don’t see why they wouldn’t have called it that in the first place. Alright, it’s starting now. Oh shit… I just read a quote from Soulo on RapGenius. “I should’ve called it ‘Huey Knew Then‘ and it would’ve phonetically sounded more like Huey Newton. I might call it that for the album I don’t know.” So… I guess he just didn’t think about it until after it was already released. Alright. That’s fine I guess. It’s probably not gonna be any different from the single version. Whatever. The beat from Willie B is nice. The intro contains a dope interpolation of the theme song from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. Soulo’s flow is so precise on this track. It fits into the production like a glove. The first verse is dope af. “Still in pursuit of happiness in the midst of the madness / With middle fingers to bitches with badges that go oink.” The hook is nothing special, but it works. He snapped on that second verse. “Ima act a ass and have a donkey to pin it on / I’m winnin’ no matter what the decision’s dependin’ on / I’m sinister; picture a tickin’ bomb in the Pentagon / The typical shit I’ve been on, remember the pen is gone / Your pinnacle’s penny-pinchin’, I’m gettin’ nickels for my thoughts.” I’m not crazy about Da$H’s verse. It was fine tho. I guess. That line about assassinating Trump was cool. Mostly because of the sound effects tho. This is a really dope track. Hmm… Should I call it dope af or just dope? Honestly, that Da$H verse kinda brought the shit down for me… It wasn’t that bad. I just would’ve preferred another Soul verse. This is good tho. I fuck with it. 4/5
Track 4: Threatening Nature (Prod. PakkMusicGroup)
This wasn’t technically a single, but he released this track the same day that he announced the release date. This is definitely my favorite song that I’ve heard from this album so far. I fucking love the dark production. It sounds like someone sampled a chant at a satanist church. Ab-Soul’s flow and delivery are absolutely insane too. He sounds like an old ass hermit who believes in magic and thinks he’s seen the face of God. In a cool way tho. Especially when he says “Listen, listen, hear and understand or just give me some insight / You get on your knees every night to pray to a man that you barely understand / Or have even seen with your eyes closed / Then turn around and do the same thing / Get on your knees, then put a ring on the woman that you wanna call your wife / Somethin’ ain’t right.” He sounds like that homeless guy who lives in a dumpster and is always preaching about the end of the world. That’s a compliment tho. He sounds fucking awesome. The second verse is even better tho. “Way back when I was in grade school, I learned about history, but what about her story; did anybody ask? / Hmmm with all disrespect, I think the American flag was designed by fags.” I would normally take off points for the F bomb, but for some reason it didn’t really bother me here. I think it’s ’cause I feel like Ab-Soul understands the power behind his words. I don’t think he calls people he dislikes the F word. I think he was trying to get under the skin of old white “patriots.” That’s just how I feel tho. I understand why other people might have a problem with it. “We don’t speak on sexism much as we really should / The black man could vote before the woman could / You singin’ hymns in church; I’m lookin’ for the hers / In 66 books in the Bible they ain’t let a lady say one word.” Yes. He fucking killed this shit. This is definitely my favorite song on the album so far. This is dope af. 5/5
Track 5: Womanogamy (Prod. DJ Fu)
Okay, now we’re getting back to songs that I haven’t actually heard. This beat’s pretty cool. Um… I’m not really sure what this track is about… It sounds like he’s rapping about a lesbian couple that he’s really good friends with. This just seems kinda random… I’m not feelin’ this hook either… “She said am I faithful, I said ‘I’m womanogamous.‘” What… What the fuck is this? I mean… It’s not really bad. I really like the beat. I’m just kinda confused… I think he’s just rapping about how he loves pussy in a really strange way. Oh God… “Put my thumb up in her butt then roll like I was bowling.” Oh HELL nah. I’m not tryna hear about that kinda shit. This is some bullshit. This reminds me of that disastrous verse that he spit on Acid Rap. Remember that shit? “LEMME PUT MY MOUTH WHERE YOU POTTY, BOO.” Of course you remember it. How the fuck could anyone forget such a disastrous verse. Lmao. Nah. I can’t do this. I’m not feelin’ this one. The beat is dope. That’s it tho. This is hopefully the wackest song on the album. I seriously hope it doesn’t get worse than this. This is wack to me. 2/5
Track 6: INvocation Feat. Kokane (Prod. Rahki)
Oh my fuck. This beat is absolutely incredible. Oooohhhhh man… It sounds so dark, but smooth at the same time. It’s like if Ali Shaheed Muhammed tried to make a beat for Earl Sweatshirt. Gawd damn. That Benadryl/Mucinex line at the end of the first verse was cool. “It’s been a drill to be ill; you ain’t really sick / Who you amusin’ next?” The background vocals from Kokane sound so fucking good over this production too. Oh shit this is the track that Top Dawg previewed on Instagram earlier this year. I remember this part where he says “Motherfuck the government.” This is fucking awesome. The second and third verses were great too. That line where he says “come suck Jesus’ penis on Venus” is a little questionable, but this is still a great song. This is definitely one of my favorites so far. It’s dope af. 5/5
Track 7: Wifey Vs. WiFi / / / P.M.S. Feat. BR3 (Prod. Skhye Hutch)
Uh oh… “Every time I say ‘it‘ it’s in reference to my dick / You can suck it if you wanna.” Jesus… Here we go again. Well, at least the beat is dope. This isn’t what I listen to Ab-Soul for. Actually, this beat isn’t even that good. It’s not bad. It’s not that good tho. I’m not feelin’ the hook. This… This is… This is really fucking bad… Oh God… What the fuck is this? I mean… The second verse was kinda interesting, but… This is just so bad. The hook is awful. P.M.S. is starting now. This BR3 guy is goin’ in. This isn’t really a song. It sounds like Soulo recorded him speaking through the telephone at jail. PMS stands for Penitentiary Mind State. It was cool I guess. I wouldn’t ever listen to this again. Wifey Vs. WiFi is awful. P.M.S. is alright I guess. Overall this is wack to me. 2/5
Track 8: Beat The Case Feat. ScHoolboy Q / / / Straight Crooked (Prod. Skhye Hutch & Tae Beast)
This beat is dope af. This kinda just sounds like a ScHoolboy Q song. I’m still really enjoying it tho. The first verse was nice. The hook is actually really catchy. This is probably the best hook on the whole album so far. Hmm… Q’s flow on the second verse actually kinda reminds me of Lil Uzi Vert. At least he actually has a tolerable voice. He sounds really good over this beat. His verse was dope. The final verse from Soulo was pretty good. Damn. The way Beat The Case segues into Straight Crooked is smooth as hell. It actually kinda reminds me of the transition from Groovy Tony to Eddie Kane. Holy motherfuck. This beat on Straight Crooked is awesome. Okay, this is really dope. “Ruffled up a couple feathers when I called Barack a puppet, yo / Now that Trump is POTUS I know this election is just another Muppet Show / That ain’t even none of my business though / Whatever’s your cup of tea…” Why wasn’t Beat The Case a single? I think that would’ve done really well. I kinda wish he went in a little longer on Straight Crooked. It felt kinda short. I still really enjoyed this track tho. This is dope af to me. 5/5
Track 9: Portishead In The Morning / / / HER World (Prod. The Antydote & PakkMusicGroup)
Oh fuck… Ooooh fuuuuck… This beat… This BEAT. OH MY FUCK. This production is so fucking dark. I love it. God damn. That first verse was insane. “Everything’s puny to me, you a newbie / I’m from Niburu; microphone check 1, 2, 3 / Master of ceremony no matter the territory, I’m cozy / Oz a OG, my brain playing ring around the rosy.” The second verse was awesome too. Man, this is really dope stuff. “I’m from another galaxy, I’m actually an android / Look me up on your galaxies and your androids / The devil was created, he is not a creator / And energy can neither be created or destroyed.” HER World is starting now. Man, I really love this dark production. HER World feels more like an outro to Portishead In The Morning than it’s own song. It’s just 8 bars. It’s still really dope tho. This is another one of my favorite tracks so far. It’s dope af. 5/5
Track 10: God’s A Girl? (Prod. PakkMusicGroup)
Okay, this should be interesting. It’s starting now. Lmaoo. Wow. The fundamentalist Christians are gonna lose their fucking minds over this shit. “Come have sex with Jesus.” I probably should’ve mentioned that he called God a thot on HER World. Lmao. Now he’s talking about how Jesus died as a 33 year old virgin. Hahahaha. What the hell… The structure of this song is really weird. He hasn’t really rapped at all yet. He was just saying a bunch of random shit. The beat just switched up. Okay, I think he’s gonna go in now. This beat is really dope. Man, his flow is awesome on this shit. Woooah… Damn. He fucking killed that shit. I feel like I’ve been waiting for him to spit like that this whole time. I was just waiting for one long ass verse where he really goes off. I hope he does that again on this album. I want more of that. This is dope af. 5/5
Track 11: Now You Know (Prod. A$AP P On The Boards)
What the fuck? Who the hell is A$AP P On The Boards? What happened to A$AP Ty Beats? I haven’t heard a beat from him in forever. I’ve never heard of this P On The Boards guy tho. Whatever. I’ve honestly lost all interest in the A$AP Mob. Oh shit I forgot they dropped a mixtape a few months ago. I still gotta check that out. Anyway, this song is starting now. Okay, this beat is dope as FUCK. It’s really light and dreamy, but the bass is still pretty strong at the same time. Oh shit. The song just ended. Okay. It was dope. It’s just one verse tho. He was rapping about women again. That’s probably the most prominent theme on this album aside from Thelema. He’s just been rapping about women a lot on this project. This song in particular is pretty good. I could’ve done without the long winded intro tho. If the intro was replaced by another verse this would be better to me. It’s still a good song tho. I fuck with this one. It’s dope. 4/5
Track 12: D.R.U.G.S. (Prod. FrancisGotHeat)
This was the final single from this album. I’ve already heard it once before. I remember not being completely sold on the hook, but loving the production. It’s starting now. There are some uncredited vocals from Mac Miller. The melody of the hook isn’t bad at all, but Ab-Soul’s vocals just aren’t very strong. It’s not really bad tho. It’s definitely growing on me. The content doesn’t really interest me that much, but it’s not bad. He’s rapping about how he loves drugs. It’s pretty straightforward stuff. The production is fantastic. I think this is a pretty good choice for a single, even if it’s not really blowing me away. It’s definitely one of the most accessible tracks on the album for mainstream listeners. That short 8 bar verse at the end of the track was dope af. I like this track. It’s not one of my favorites, but I think it’s a good song. I fuck with this. 4/5
Track 13: Evil Genius Feat. Teedra Moses & Javonté (Prod. FrancisGotHeat & Tommy Black)
Oh shit… Oh SHIT… OH… OH MY FUCK. Okay… This is the best song. This is already the best song. Good fucking lord. This beat. This BEAT. YOOOOO. FRANCISGOTHEAT AND TOMMY BLACK FUUUUCK. HOLY… MOTHER OF… LORD. This beat is absolutely phenomenal. And the fucking vocals from Teedra Moses & Javonté are immaculate. This hook is fucking great too. Oh my LORT. Soulo’s flow on this first verse is crazy. Fuck. He killed that shit. “Functioning addict with clammy hands / Leaking my paraphernalia everywhere / Told Lori I’ll never do coke again, but she did what she did and I’m here again.” Damn… So… Is Soulo a cokehead? Wow. This is fucking awesome. There’s only one verse, but he still killed it. I love the instrumental outro too. I think I definitely jumped the gun when I said that this was the best song. It’s definitely one of my favorites so far tho. This is dope af to me. 5/5
Track 14: Lonely Soul / / / The Law (Prelude) Feat. Punch & SZA [Prod. Sounwave]
This beat is dope af. This kinda feels like some of the most soulful production on the album. Man… Soul sounds really great over this shit. Honestly, I think THIS might end up being my favorite track on the album. This feels… I don’t know… It’s definitely not the most personal track on the album. He’s talking more clearly about his life instead of giving us insane riddles and metaphors to decipher. This hook is nice. The first verse was dope af. The second verse was short, but it was still really good. Punch is goin’ in now. Fuck, man. I really need an EP from Punch or something. He’s so fucking good. I loved his verse on this track. I really think this is actually my favorite track so far. This is dope af to me. I really love the outro too. The beat switches up and SZA starts singing. It sounds really good. 5/5
Track 15: The Law Feat. Mac Miller & Rapsody (Prod. Bentley Haze)
This beat is real smooth. I was kinda hoping it would sound more like the the prelude at the end of the previous track, but I still like it. The hook is cool. I guess this is supposed to be the love song for this album. It’s fine I guess. The first verse wasn’t bad. Mac Miller’s singing the hook. He doesn’t really sound that bad. I really don’t think this is a bad song, but it’s just not really something that appeals to me personally. Again, I don’t really like love songs. The beat is cool. This is a decent track. There’s just not really any replay value for me. Rapsody’s goin’ in now. Meh. She did her thing I guess. This just isn’t really that good to me. I’d never have the desire to hear it again. It’s alright tho. 3/5
Track 16: YMF (Prod. Bentley Haze)
Holy fuck this album is long. YMF stands for “Young Mind Fuck,” which is one of Soulo’s new nicknames that he gave himself I guess. It’s starting now. Oh. Huh. I definitely wasn’t expecting to hear a beat like this on this album. It’s an upbeat, electronic sou- OH FUCK. Wow. The percussion on this track sounds REALLY good. This beat is dope af. This is definitely the most upbeat track on the whole album, unless I’m forgetting something already. The hook is actually really catchy. Soulo’s vocals sound good over this beat. He has a really melodic flow on this track, and I actually don’t really mind it. I definitely would’ve preferred him to just spit normally instead of doing this half assed singing thing that Drake does a lot of the time, but it’s not that big of a deal. Okay, he’s rapping normally on the second verse. I really like this one. The hook gets kinda old after a while, but it’s not too bad. This is definitely the most lighthearted track on the album. This whole project has been really dark, so I guess it was cool of him to end it like this. This is dope af to me. 5/5
This album is great. I kinda feel the same way I felt after hearing ScHoolboy Q’s album this year tho. I really enjoyed it, but I still feel like Soulo can do better than this. It’s definitely a huge step up from These Days… Something just feels off tho. I think I just feel this way because this project isn’t very focused. There’s not really a specific concept or theme behind this album. I mean, he talked a lot about women, but that isn’t really the main focus of this album. Maybe it should have been. I hate to say this, but it kinda just feels like a long collection of good songs rather than a cohesive album. I feel like if he trimmed this shit down to like 12 tracks and had a specific message or story he was trying to get across, that would’ve been perfect. I’d like to see him make a more streamlined, focused album. I don’t really feel like there was a purpose behind this album. All he did was show that he’s a dope lyricist. That’s cool, but I think it would’ve resonated with me a lot more if there was a specific statement that he was trying to make. I like most of what he had to say about women on this album. I don’t really feel like he focused on it as much as he could have. When I heard Threatening Nature I almost thought he was gonna try to be doing what To Pimp A Butterfly did for black people, but for women. Maybe that’s too much for ask for. I also probably shouldn’t expect Soulo to work the same way Kendrick works. I just think it would be nice for Soulo to dive into the topic of misogyny a little deeper than he did on this album. I’ll take what I can get tho. He spoke on it more on this album than most MC’s speak about it in their entire lives, so I can definitely appreciate that. Anyway, I really enjoyed this album despite all my gripes. I’m better at criticizing shit than praising it. I’m gonna have to work on that. This shit is really dope tho. It’s definitely my favorite Hip Hop album from TDE this year. I know this’ll be a shock to a lot of people, but it’s probably tied with Introverted Intuition for me. Yeah. That’s right. I really loved that album tho. That’s neither here nor there tho. This shit is dope. I’m glad Soulo’s back. Hopefully we don’t have to wait so long for the next project.
Favorite Song: Lonely Soul
Least Favorite Song: Wifey Vs. WiFi
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The beat on Threatening Nature might be one of my favorites of the year, and that flow fit nicely on it. My only issue with the song is some of the bars were Hopsin level cringe.
My interpretation of “Do What Thou Will” as an album is literally do whatever you wanna do, just remember that there is a positive or negative reaction. Of course I could be wrong.
I agree this is a step forward from “These Days”, but it still seems like he can’t put together a solid album. I enjoyed listening to this album, Lonely Soul is definitely a standout joint.
If you’ll allow me I’m going to go on a short rant. Punch and Top as soon as they got that Interscope money and Dr. Dre co-sign for Kendrick it’s like they completely did a drastic switch and most importantly stopped working how they did back in the day. And let’s be 100% honest the MOST important priority is Kendrick (when years ago it was Jay Rock, but that’s a different story for another time). It sucks that TDE might go down the same path as Death Row, Hoo Bangin’, Ruthless. All because they wanna focus on one specific artist.
PS-Kokane dropped an album in 2014 that’s really dope called “Shut Da F Up & Cut Da Checc”
Good work homie