When I wrote this post about my budding relationship with Ab-Soul’s debut album, the main focus was the soon-to-be-visualized “Terrorist Threats“, which, after a few months of occasional listening, is still probably my main focus on that album, at least when it comes to songs that fit the paradigm of that album. I think if I’m honest with myself, “Empathy” is still the song I enjoy listening to the most, and while it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the album or anything, I think it’s actually a really welcome break from the more aggressive/paranoid/lamenting flavor on the rest of the tracks, the fact that Ab-Soul sings rather than raps most of the song and there’s not a single mention of institutional deception in it makes it stand apart from the other tracks pretty noticeably. But back to track 4. I think what I really dig about “Terrorist Threats” when it comes to Ab-Soul’s rapping is how much he varies the speed of his flow, especially in the first verse (I think in the second verse he’s mostly trying to pay tribute to the featured artist’s flow so it stays a little more regular, but still has a couple fluctuations). For instance, I still don’t know what he’s saying in that burst of almost gibberish at the very beginning, and then there are times like when he, after keeping to a very slow-paced flow with long pauses after each line, sprints through an intricate syllable spree like “for my niggas on the corner sellin’ water to somebody daughter fluctuatin’ prices, man.” Stuff like that makes me smile.
Well one thing I’ve noticed about a lot of TDE‘s music is that it is very self-referential, and not in the way that most rappers are when they come up with their own trademark shout-out or vocal tick or ad-lib to provide a thread of continuity to a large body of work, it’s much more subtle and complex with Black Hippy. My original post mentioned above points out the use of some of the same vocal samples in “Terrorist Threats” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Cartoons and Cereal“, and Ab-Soul also borrowed the outro to Kendrick’s “A.D.H.D.” for his chorus in “ILLuminate“. And then there’s those other vocal samples that can be found on both Ab-Soul’s “SOPA” and ScHoolboy Q’s “Druggys With Hoes Again“, which in turn has the whole “extra pills” section in the third verse that’s referenced twice back in “Terrorist Threats“. It’s all over the place. I say all that simply because this new Ab-Soul song that just came out solved the mystery of one of those incomprehensibly quick sections in “Terrorist Threats” by slowing it down and making it the hook in a new context.
Ab-Soul – Nibiru