Album Review | Ab-Soul – Control System

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This album was released on May 12th in the year of our Lord 2012. This is the closest thing to a classic album released by any member of Top Dawg Entertainment other than Kendrick Lamar. This is Ab-Soul's breakout project. Honestly, if this album never happened Ab-Soul might not even be around anymore. He would at most be the least popular member of TDE. This is the album that really showed what he's capable of. I know I skimmed this project once around the end of 2013, but I honestly don't remember anything about it outside of a few standout tracks, which is probably surprising to a lot of my readers since I used to list him as one of my ten favorite rappers. It's one of those situations where I know he's capable of giving us greatness, but it just doesn't seem like he's had the right mentality to deliver a focused album. This is the closest thing we have to that, and until he surpasses it people will always compare his future material to this project. He's kinda like Vegeta if Kendrick is Goku. I guess that would make Jay Rock Piccolo. And uh… ScHoolboy Q would be… Tien?? Nah… Q's better than Tien. Man, the characters in Dragon Ball fucking suck. I mean, they don't, but I just hate how they made Goku the only capable fighter in the entire series. Half of the show is just every character getting the dogshit beat out of them until Goku shows up to save them. Why the fuck am talking about this?? I guess it's pretty ironic that I'd be so familiar with Dragon Ball after that rant I did about Japanese culture and weebs in my latest Lil Uzi Vert review. Anyway, I'm expecting this to be really great. From what I can remember, this is a really substantive listen.

Track 1: Soulo Ho3 Feat. Jhené Aiko (Prod. Sounwave & Dave Free)

This track opens up with Jhené Aiko reciting the same exact intro that Janet Jackson started her hit single Control with. This beat is dope. The first verse was… Well… It was kinda bullshit. It didn't really seem like he was trying. His flow was really boring, and he didn't say anything interesting. It was fine tho. I guess. The hook's alright. It's kinda annoying. It's not too bad tho. Huh… This isn't… I mean… This is pretty bad so far. Lmao. It's not terrible, but it's definitely not good. The second verse was a little better, but… What the fuck is he doing? I really don't remember him rapping this lazily the first time I listened to this album. I know it gets better on the other songs, but why the fuck would you start your album like this? Oh fuck… Okay, he's actually goin' in on this final verse. What the fuck…? Why the hell did he do that? The first two verses are so bad compared to this one. It actually sounds like he's trying now. His flow is awesome on this shit. Jesus. He fucking killed that last verse.

Fuck a foe 'cause I'm focused as four bifocals / I'm prone to leave a vocal booth totaled for the right total / The bad boy, you boys pussy as Total or Dorothy's dog Toto.

Fuck. This is a frustrating song. The final verse is fantastic, but everything else about it is bizarrely underwhelming. It seems too strange to be a coincidence. There's no way he didn't know those first two verses were bullshit. This wasn't really the best way to start the album off, but at least it wasn't complete trash. It's decent. I guess…

Track 2: Track Two (Prod. Tae Beast)

Alright, here we fuckin' go. This is one of 8 tracks from this album that I'm already very familiar with. This beat is dope as hell. My right arm hurts. Soulo killed that first verse. His flow isn't too flashy, but I love his aggressive delivery. He unfortunately dropped an F bomb—I've noticed he throws that slur around very casually—but aside from that the verse is fantastic. This hook is nice too. He killed that second verse.

Sinister literature given from this wicked minister / Witness your future diminish / No present from Saint Nicholas in particular / You're just a thing of the past / I'm a diamond ring in the trash, no reason to brag; it's Ab.

The third verse is where he really slaughters this shit tho. I love the way his flow takes off. I love the way he delivered that Lion King line too. That shit sounded hard as fuck. I fucking love this song. This shit is dope af.

Track 3: Bohemian Grove (Prod. Tae Beast & Dave Free)

This beat is cool. The opening lines of the first verse were repeated on Invocation from his latest LP, Do What Thou Wilt. It's pretty cool that he did that. I like when artists make references back to their older work. The first verse was dope, and I love his flow on this hook. Man, there are a lot of references to this song on Do What Thou Wilt. that I didn't get the first time I listened to it. This is really dope. The second verse was dope af.

Where them hoes at? I'm sincere as Nasir / Belly of the beast; I might feast on my dear / We night ride like Paul Revere / Spillin' Mai Tais all on her brassiere.

I honestly don't even know why I like this song so much. The beat isn't super complexed and intricate, but it's just got a really light hearted, positive vibe to it. I usually don't like when rappers have content like this, but I guess Soul just did it really well on this track 'cause I like this a lot. Oh God… There's an uncredited bridge from Alori Joh… I'm not exaggerating right now; as soon as she started singing I literally started feeling light headed. I was not expecting that at all. That shit tripped me out. I mean, I guess it's not any different from listening to any other posthumous performance, but still… It just feels different. I guess it's because I'm aware of the relationship she had with Soulo. I know it's a really sensitive issue, so to hear her on this song just kinda really… I don't know. It's emotional. It kinda adds another layer to the song, especially when you listen to what she's actually saying. She's interpolating an Aretha Franklin line; "Hey baby, I been thinking of you." I can't imagine how Soulo must've felt hearing this song after what happened. I love the way the production evolved for the outro by the way. That shit was awesome. Anyway, I definitely fuck with this track. This is dope af to me.

Track 4: Terrorist Threats Feat. Jhené Aiko & Danny Brown (Prod. Dave Free)

Ab-Soul-Terrorist-Threats-Video

Man, the way the previous song transitions into this track is awesome. This is one of the songs I've already heard before, and I fucking love it. Jesus. I'm already having trouble deciding which song is my favorite. First of all, this beat is dope af. I love how spacey it sounds. The hook is amazing too.

If all the gangs in the world unified / We'd stand a chance against the military tonight.

I love this shit. The first verse was great too. I love the way his flow constantly switches up all over this track, and this line they repeat throughout the song is awesome.

I ain't got no gavel; I ain't tryna fight nobody battle / I just wanna be free; I ain't tryna be nobody's chattel.

This song is genius. The second verse was even better than the first. I love how much more energetic his performance suddenly becomes. Damn near every single bar stands out as a quotable line.

Dear Barack, I know you just a puppet, but I'm givin' you props / You're lyin' to the public like it ain't nothin' / And I just love it; I hope it don't stop.

Danny Brown was the perfect feature for this song too. I'm glad Soulo went with a more street oriented artist rather than someone like Lupe who probably would've made it feel redundant. Danny killed this shit tho.

I ain't got shit but an EBT card from a fiend that owe me and it's in her daughter name / How the fuck is they 'posed to eat? / How the fuck am I 'posed to eat? / Got a nigga in the streets, no health care, tryna slang weed just to put shoes on his feet / So fuck you; You don't give a fuck about me / Can't get a job if they drug test me.

This song is flawless to me. I definitely fuck with this track. This is absolutely dope af.

Track 5: Pineal Gland (Prod. Tae Beast)

I know I've heard this song, but it's been a really long time. Something about this beat sounds really familiar… Not just because I've heard this song before; I feel like it has a sample that I've heard in another song… Hmm… Oh shit; it has the same piano sample as Stress Rap by Cannibal Ox. That's cool. I guess. The first verse was dope af. He's rapping about trippin' balls and "opening his third eye" and shit. Drug users' obsession with the whole "third eye" thing is uh… What do the kids say these days? "Headass?" I think that's a stupid term, but it's really the best way to describe how I feel about it. I don't mind it that much in music if it's not overdone. If people really take that seriously in real life tho I can't do it. I love the way this song is structured. It's really not that different from most songs, but the way the hook transitions into the verses is really seamless. It kinda just sounds like the whole song is one big verse. Some people may not like that about it, but I do. Oh fucking shit. He snapped on that second verse.

We in a space where matter don't matter / Just spirit molecules and geometric patterns / Shitted in a crater last time I sat on Saturn / Got a letter from Andromeda, they tryna shrine my bladder.

The way this dude raps is so crazy. I fuckin' love it. I know Do What Thou Wilt. was a pretty recent project, but I already want more from Soul. This shit is fantastic. I definitely fuck with this song. It's dope af.

Track 6: Double Standards Feat. Anna Wise (Prod. Sounwave) [Additional Guitars by J. Valle]

This beat is dope af. It sounds like it borrows the percussion from Say You Will by Kanye West. The title of this song is pretty self explanatory. I shouldn't really have to say what it's about. Soul uses the first verse to paint a picture of a guy whose homies pressure him into cheating on his girl with her friend.

Unfasten her clothes; she swore she won't tell a soul / The thrill of it all got him off, case closed / He hesitated, and she say "Why you push me? / If you don’t get this pussy, then you a pussy, nigga."

It's nice that he points out how the double standard can be negative for both men & women. I'm not in love with the hook, but it's not really bad. It's also dope how the second verse switches to the girl's side of the story. The hook is definitely this song's weak point. The final verse is fantastic tho.

To my niggas having bitches, it's what you just do / To the bitches having niggas, it's what a slut do / My auntie told me always treat my lady right / My uncle told me only love 'em for a night / You can see the immediate disconnection between a man and a woman / The reason for regression.

I love the production, and the verses are really well done. The content is great. The hook is the only thing I have a problem with. I definitely fuck with this song tho. This shit is dope.

Track 7: Mixed Emotions (Prod. King Blue)

Hmm… I somehow never noticed, but Ab-Soul does a LOT of drugs. You'd think I'd be more aware of that since he literally wrote a love song to drugs on his latest LP, but for some reason I just only ever thought of weed. I'm not sure exactly which drugs he's on right now, but I'm pretty sure he's done cocaine & acid or shrooms, and now this song seems to be about lean. This beat is dope. That line in the hook about getting screwed up like Frankenstein's neck was nice too. The first verse was fine. The subject matter doesn't really appeal to me. I really like this production tho. It's really chill without sounding boring. The second verse was dope. I actually really like this song. I'm not even really into songs about weed, so I definitely don't care about the content of this song in particular, but I love the production and his flow was cool. This is dope to me.

Track 8: SOPA Feat. ScHoolboy Q (Prod. Nez & Rio)

SOPA

When I first listened to this album, this was one of my favorite beats on the whole project just because of how different it is. It was kinda weird, but it still had that semi-Trap inspired bounce that I was into at that time. It's kinda boring to me now tho. There's not really that much to it. It's kind of skeletal. It's just a weird bass loop, a quick shouting vocal sample, and some scattered snares. Also, I'm not really getting how the song actually has anything to do with it's own title. It's named after the Stop Online Piracy Act, and I get the idea of the government taking control over the internet fitting into this album's main theme, but the song itself doesn't really have anything to do with that at all.

I'm smoking dope, I'm smoking dope / She got that magical vaginal let me hocus poke / Row, row, row my boat gently down your stream / She into Alexander McQueen, but she ain't met the king.

Lyrically, this is pretty much just Druggys Wit Hoes 3. It probably would've made more sense to call it that honestly. There's one line in the hook where he says that SOPA's trying to censor the internet, but he's trying to make money. I'm not really sure how that connects. That line at the beginning of Soulo's verse about Joseph Kony was awesome by the way. I forgot to mention it. It goes back to the album's theme of control, but, again, it doesn't really relate to the internet at all, unless your mind immediately jumps to that KONY 2012 campaign, but I don't think he was even trying to make that connection. Sorry for the run on sentence. Q's verse was dope. It was pretty much exactly what you'd expect from him. He ironically referenced SOPA more than Soulo actually did, but it was still only like one couplet. The hook's not really doin' much for me. Hmm… You know… I really don't like this song that much. I've had it in my iTunes library ever since I first listened to this album, but I never intentionally go back to it. If it comes on shuffle when I'm in the car I'll listen to it, but I don't even really enjoy it that much. The slow, skeletal beat is boring to me, and I feel the same way about the subject matter. Actually, I feel that way about their flows and the hook too. I don't know why I kept this song for so long. I don't even like it. It's just over 4 minutes, but it feels like it's twice as long to me. It's just a really boring song. The verses were ok lyrically, but everything else about it puts me to sleep. This is wack to me.

Track 9: Lust Demons Feat. Jay Rock & BJ The Chicago Kid (Prod. Tae Beast)

You can probably tell from the title of this song that the content doesn't appeal to me at all. This song is in the same situation that the previous track was in tho. It's been in my library ever since I heard it. I never listen to it. I think I just kept it because I saw Jay Rock's name and got excited, which is actually pretty weird since I didn't keep the next track, but we'll get to that. This song is nowhere near as bad as the previous track tho. The beat is dope, Soulo's flow is nice, and the hook is actually pretty good too. However, every time I hear the intro from BJ The Chicago Kid I immediately change the song. I don't know what it is. There are a lot of things about this track that I like, but it just doesn't excite me as a whole. I didn't really like the way BJ The Chicago sounded on this track honestly. He was singing in a more laid back, lower register than I'm used to hearing, and it honestly sounded like something Soulo could've done himself. It's actually kinda weird because Soulo actually did sing the hook. BJ just comes in after for a little bridge. He says a total of 5 words on the entire song. Well… Okay, his bridge is actually pretty fuckin' good. He doesn't sound anonymous on the bridge. Something about his intro just really puts me off for some reason. There's really not much to dislike about this song. The intro from BJ is honestly just a nitpick for me. The main reason I'm not really into it is the content. Y'all know I can't stand Pornocore, and this song is literally just about loving sex, so it doesn't appeal to me at all. I don't enjoy rappers talking about girls making their dicks disappear. Jay Rock's flow was nice and the way he played with the train related words was dope, but this just isn't my cup of tea. It's decent tho. It's definitely not a bad song.

Track 10: ILLuminate Feat. Kendrick Lamar (Prod. Skhye Hutch)

Okay, I honestly completely forgot this song even existed. I don't even remember hearing this when I listened to the album the first time. The first memory I have of this song is hearing it on Radio Los Santos in Grand Theft Auto V. There's a song from each member of Black Hippy, and of course they only chose the ones that featured Kendrick Lamar. Actually, Hunnid Stax was on there. That's just Soulo & Q. Whatever. I already know why I didn't keep this song the first time I heard this album tho. I'll tell y'all about that later; I'm just gonna start from the beginning. This beat is amazing. I love the way it builds up to the percussion. Also, I didn't catch this at all, and I probably never would have, but the double entendre Soulo pointed out in this line is amazing.

Back when I first grabbed that pen / I told myself I was gon' win / And I ain't know when / But it was gon' end up happenin' / I want in, so you can take your top 5 list, dead or alive / And put me after Em.

He said I want in (N), so put me after Em (M). N comes after M in the alphabet. I had no fucking idea he was even doing that. The only reason I just caught it was because of the verified annotation on this track's Genius page. I rarely actually read any of the annotations unless it's for an MC who employs exceedingly esoteric diction within his or her lyrics, but if I see a verified annotation, I'm clicking the fuck outta that shit. I just find it interesting to see how artists are thinking when they write their shit. Anyway, the first verse from Soulo is fucking great. I love how tight his flow is. The hook is what I originally disliked about this song. I don't really think it's bad anymore tho. Well… I think it sounds kinda shitty in the car. And by "in the car" I mean while I'm driving around shooting at cops in Grand Theft Auto V. It sounds fine when I'm listening to it more clearly with headphones tho. The second verse is even better than the first one. His meticulous flow sounds fucking awesome, and I love the lines about him feelin' like he could outrap the legends.

I used to wanna rap like Jay Z / Now I feel I could run laps 'round Jay Z / Nas ain't seen nothin' this nasty / BIG and Pac got it comin' when I pass, too / You got the mic? I ain't the one you wanna pass to.

I think he could hold his own alongside Nas & Biggie, and he could definitely outrap Jay & Pac. This is one of my favorite verses on the whole album honestly. He fucking slaughtered this shit. I actually think he did better than Kendrick on this track. It's arguable, but I was personally more impressed by Soulo. Kendrick's verse was great too tho. I love this song. The hook was a major turn off the first time I heard this track, but I have no problems with it now. This shit is dope af.

Track 11: A Rebellion Feat. Alori Joh (Prod. Curtiss King)

Oh fuuuuuck… This is gonna be sad. Man, this production is gorgeous. Hmm… Okay, I just listened to the entire song. This kinda reminds me of How We Feeling by ScHoolboy Q. There's not much to it lyrically. The same line is repeated countless times, and the "verses," if you can even call them that, are very short. The production is really what makes it stand out. It's not a meaningless track tho. It's just not very dense. I enjoyed it, but it's far from my favorite. The production is fantastic tho.

Track 12: Showin' Love (Prod. Willie B)

Showin' Love

This is another favorite of mine. The beat is weird. It's not boring like SOPA tho. It's dope af. I really like the way the ad-libs sound with that vocal effect too. There's not really a specific subject that this song tackles. It's just Soulo killing a weird, chill, reserved beat. I love the hook. Each verse is better than the last. The first verse was cool. The second verse is really dope.

Soulo; Top Dawg Administration / Top Notch, Crock Pot Hot, wear your apron / Stop, watch, grab a stop watch, apply patience / And watch us pop across the population.

The same thing can be said about the next too verses. The final verse is fantastic. I don't really have much to say about this track honestly. It's got a really simplistic structure. It's just a really great song. This is dope af.

Track 13: Empathy Feat. Alori Joh & JaVonté (Prod. Skhye Hutch)

My opinion of this song is very similar to that of Lust Demons. I like this one a lot more tho. I rarely listen to it, but, unlike with the Lust Demons, I actually enjoy it whenever it comes on. I actually love it to be honest. The production is really chill and relaxing. Soulo is actually a good singer. He sounds fantastic singing on the first verse. I love the stuttering synths that come in after the intro. Alori Joh's vocals on the hook sound amazing. It's followed by a fast paced 8 bar verse. The lyrics aren't super complicated, but they're sufficient. I enjoyed the verse. The background vocals from JaVonté are fantastic. There's really not anything I dislike about this song honestly. The structure is very simplistic, and the content isn't too deep, but it's just a really pleasant song aesthetically. Kendrick referred to his song LOVE. as "ear candy." That's what I'd call this. It's dope af.

Track 14: Nothing's Something (Prod. AAhyasis)

This beat is really fuckin' chill. It's great. I love Soulo's delivery on this first verse, and his flow is really nice too. The first verse was dope. The hook's cool. He borrows the hook from Addiction by Kanye West. His flow on the second verse was awesome. The song just ended. I like this song, but there's not really much to say about it. It's got a really simplistic structure. I love it tho. I love this beat, and the uncredited female vocals that come in towards the end sound great. This is dope af to me.

Track 15: Beautiful Death Feat. Ash Riser & Punch (Prod. Skhye Hutch)

Oh fuckin' shit. Skhye Hutch sampled the intro from ATLiens, You May Die. This beat is awesome. The first verse was dope af. If you just read the lyrics by themselves it looks kinda preachy and a little corny, but in the context of the song it doesn't come off that way at all.

I just wish they all could see what I can see / If we could stop it with the violence, and apply a lil' logic I believe / We could thrive to be a promising civilization / We may die individually, but as a nation / We'll rise, nigga; change lives, nigga / Break ties from the everyday lies, nigga / It's not time until it's our time.

The hook from Ash Riser is dope. Soulo killed that second verse. His flow was awesome. Jesus. It's gonna be impossible to choose a favorite song. Goddamn… Okay, why the fuck doesn't Punch have an album or an EP out yet? He's such a good rapper, but he only drops a song like once every 4 months. They could be making money off this dude's music, but they're just releasing loose tracks. I want an album from him. His verse on this song was fucking awesome.

Pardon my immortality / I'm Martin Luther shootin' back on the balcony / Escapin' the Lorraine until they call in the cavalry / Alpha 184, oh Lord, nobody blast for me.

This is another one of the best songs on the album. They both killed this shit. This is dope af.

Track 16: The Book of Soul (Prod. Tommy Black)

The Book of Soul

Oh boy. Here we go. This is one of the most tragic Hip Hop songs I've ever heard in my life. I mean, tragic in terms of the content. This is honestly one of the best songs I've ever heard. It's one of those songs that you show people who dismiss Hip Hop as a cesspool of misogyny, violence, profanity and ignorance, and who don't view it as a legitimate form of art. The production is amazing. I love the tumbling piano keys & the haunting female vocals. It's a really jazzy beat, but it sounds sad at the same time. It's the kind of instrumental that'll make you feel hollow on the inside. That's not to say the production sounds empty or skeletal; it's just that feeling the song gives you. If I had theme music that played in my head and was based on every emotion I ever had, this is the song that would've played if my suicide attempt was successful. It just sounds like the loss of something. Let's go ahead and unpack this content tho… Soulo starts the song off by establishing the concept of the song. He's allegorizing his own life experience with the Book of Job, a biblical story in which a guy who is super religious gets tortured by God just so God can prove to Satan that Job will worship him blindly no matter what happens. You'd think that God wouldn't be fooled by Satan into torturing one of his most loyal followers, but I guess nobody's perfect. Lol. Seriously tho if God is real he's probably the biggest asshole in existence. If he's so perfect why couldn't he find a way to not have women bleed from their vaginas every fucking month? Okay, I'm sorry. I don't wanna be the stereotypical atheist douchebag who thinks he knows everything. I should probably delete those last couple of sentences from this review. Ah fuck it; I don't give a shit. Anyway, he begins by giving a little background on his childhood. At the age of ten he caught a rare disease called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome in which one's epidermis is separated from the dermis due to cell death.

I even lost my lip skin / Grew back darker than its original pigment / Skin disfigured from boils and blisters / Unidentifiable by my little sister.

The description of his disfigurement is followed by him recounting how this led to him being avoided by others—specifically women. At this point it becomes clear that this song is addressing someone in particular. He starts reminiscing about how him and the subject—his former girlfriend—were in love and spent time together.

Ironic we always had the same classes; I copied off your work / And you ain't always had the right answers, but it worked / Mama, thanks a lot; probably wouldn't have even graduated had you not.

Everything seemed to be going really well, but then it's revealed that Alori unfortunately passed away.

Seven whole years, seven whole years / It was supposed to end with our grandkids / Luckily for me I'm used to being cut short / But I'm such a nice guy, why Lord? / Why Alori? Why'd you have to take her from me? / I guess he needed your angel face for all of heaven to see.

Sad

I really wish I could just transcribe the whole verse here. It's one of those songs in which literally every line is super hard hitting. Fuuck… Okay, fuck it. I'm gonna put a LONG ass quote in here, but I'll chill after this.

As much I wanna cower and bid the mic adieu / And fall off a fucking tower tryna find you… / I gotta stay 'cause I remember that day I looked you in the face and told you / "Nothing can stop me, not even you" / Stick to the plan; I'll meet you at our spot / If reincarnation is true, and we don't get too lost / Even if you forget me & everything you left behind / I never lied; I love you in a place where there's no space & time.

That's sad…

Fuuuuck, dude… That's so fucking sad, and so fucking romantic at the same time. I love that part about meeting her "at our spot." It's pretty vague, but the idea of meeting up with someone at a nondescript location has always seemed really romantic to me. Huh… I guess that's pretty much just a date. Lmao. That's not what I meant tho. I don't know how to say it. There's a line in Aquemini where Andre says something like "let's walk to the bridge; I'll meet you halfway." I don't know why, but just the way it's phrased makes my heart grow three sizes. That part about loving her "in a place where there's no space and time" is even more romantic tho. I don't even fuckin' like love songs, but this shit is amazing. I think I like this song even more than I did when I first heard it now that I know what it's like to be in love. This track is fucking heartbreaking. There aren't a lot of songs like this. This song is emotionally exhausting. Listening to this song is like the musical equivalent to attending a funeral. After the message to Alori Joh is wrapped up, there's a jazzy vocal interlude similar to something that'd be found on To Pimp a Butterfly, followed by the final collection of 16 bars. The last couplet sums up the essence of the album, and honestly Ab-Soul as an artist too.

Don't be dethroned by these systems of control / Just keep your fingers crossed and get them locks off your soul.

It's all about perseverance, and surmounting those that aim to control or hinder you. This song is fucking incredible. It's one of my favorite songs period. Not just from Ab-Soul. It's special. Songs like this are rare. It's amazing.

Track 17: Black Lip Bastard (Remix) [Performed by Black Hippy] {Produced by Willie B}

This is technically a bonus track, but I don't think there's any version of the album that doesn't have it. This is my favorite Black Hippy song ever. I think this is the perfect demonstration of what they're capable of as a group. A lot of times when they all come together it seems like they don't really know what direction to go in. Most of the songs sound like one of the members featuring the others. I think this is the perfect sound for them tho. They all sound right at home on this track. You can still tell that it's technically Ab-Soul's song—especially since it's literally named after him—but they all get their chance to shine. This is one of the best beats on the whole album, and the way Kendrick starts this shit off is fucking awesome.

Black lip bastard, pass me your password / So I can hack inside your brain / See, I too have gone insane / Before I fall I'm sure to curse you all in Jesus' name / Lead shower, Anna Pebble hour; bitch, stand the rain.

I love the way he starts coughing at the end of this intro and has to cut himself off, and then he's like "lemme get it back, Ali." That shit sounds so fucking dope. His verse was fantastic. Damn near every bar is a quotable line. I like Soulo's verse even more tho. The way he follows Kendrick just sounds so hard to me. I love the way he delivers this line too.

You're basic like cable to a satellite dish / You was runnin' LA, now you out of there like Fish / What more can I say? I'm a bastard with black lips / Black shirt, black shades… Long black dick.

Also this is one of the best couplets in the whole song.

Homie chose to go toe-to-toe, I had to break his leg / Like a cliché to rock a show—is that over your head?

I feel like all of their ad-libs on this song are more detailed and humorous than they usually are. Like when Kendrick mentions Nicki Minaj's ass you can hear him in the background saying "so soft…" Also this line from Q is followed by him saying "come here, bitch" and then making the sound effects of the activity he described…

Suckin' on titties since I was eight / Hoodie with my shades, I ain't tryna be fake.

He definitely had the weakest verse on the song, but that probably has something to do with the fact that he only spit 12 bars. Ab-Soul comes back in after Q to spit 8 bars that lead into Jay Rock's verse. And dude… Jay. Rock. Fucking. Snaps. Seriously, this dude fucking annihilated this verse. He tore that shit to shreds. He spit like 32 bars, and outdid every one else on the whole fuckin' song.

Momma taught you better; never clash with a giant / Unless you David, remember, my nigga, I'm not Goliath / Feel the wrath of this titan / Hit some water; call it Poseidon / Wig out, then hit your ass with a trident.

His flow is great, and he sounds so fucking hard on this shit.

East side up, Watts City mayhem / Choppers, they sprayin' from AM to PM / I'm the silent assassin of the four-headed dragon / Black Hippy blastin' a .50 out the back of the Benz Wagon.

YAS 3

Yeah. This shit is amazing. The original song was released as a promotional single for this album, and it's really fuckin' good too, so you should check it out if you've never heard it. Anyway, this song is dope af. The Book of Soul was the perfect conclusion to the album, and this bonus track is the icing on the cake.

Final Thoughts:

This album is fuckin' great. I honestly think it's on par with Do What Thou Wilt., but if I had to choose one over the other, I'd probably go with this one. I just think the way this album was put together is a bit more cohesive as a whole. I don't really think Ab-Soul should try to inject a super complicated concept into his albums. This album has the recurring theme of control, but on the surface it's just a collection of really great songs. I think the main thing I prefer about this project is the rawness of the production. It doesn't sound super polished. It sounds like they were struggling to pay their bills when they were recording it. I like that sound. He said he felt like he could outrap JAY-Z, and you can hear how hungry he was when he said that. I think he sounds good when he's going for that darker sound like he did on his latest album, but I think he sounds the best when he's rapping over this more traditional production. After listening to this again, I feel comfortable putting Soulo back into the list of my 10 favorite rappers. The real question is who the fuck do I take out now. Anyway, I don't really think there are any consistent flaws with this album. Ab-Soul was rapping his fuckin' ass off, and I like that the production sounded kinda rough around the edges. This album is exceptional to me.

Favorite song: The Book of Soul

Least favorite song: SOPA

Verdict:

B+

80-89

Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album

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One comment

  1. Book Of Soul always brings a tear to my eye, Alori was a wonderful soul and had the potential to be a greater singer than she already was. It just pisses me off that motherfuckers instantly went on some “Blood Sacrifice/Illuminati” bullshit because people are too stupid to accept that musicians much like anybody else go through depression/angst much like anyone else.

    Ranting aside, much how I commented on the DWTW review. Ab is getting better at making a cohesive album, he just has a ways to go, before doing so. The main issue is that he doesn’t know how to tell the story in a proper format.

    With that being said this is a great project from Soul-O nearly every song is damned good and whenever he drops this next album, hopefully he can have a well executed conceptually amazing piece of art.

    I give this joint a 9.0/10

    Great Job Nick!!

    Liked by 1 person

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