Tag Archives: Ab-Soul

PROGRESSION

2010

Kendrick Lamar – The Heart (pt. 1)

2011

Kendrick Lamar – The Heart (pt. 2)

2012

Kendrick Lamar – The Heart (pt. 3) (feat. Ab-Soul & Jay Rock)

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FUCK I’M DOIN’ TALKIN ‘BOUT PINEAL GLANDS?

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

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I AIN’T GOT NO GAVEL

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the rappers I write about actually read this blog…

The other day I brought some attention to what I thought was kind of a deep cut on Ab-Soul’s new Control System album called “Terrorist Threats“, and a few days ago I did this whole post talking about how sometimes I like videos where animated lyrics show up in synch with what a rapper says, and then today this video comes out!

Ab-Soul – Terrorist Threats (feat. Danny Brown & Jhené Aiko)

It’s cool man, you can admit that I control all rap decisions through this blog, there’s nothin’ wrong with that.

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HOW MUCH TRAUMA CAN I SUSTAIN?

Since “His Pain“, I’ve been introducing more and more Kendrick Lamar into my rap diet lately, and I’ve been enjoying the effects.  I wouldn’t say it’s been a very balanced diet, however, I’ve mostly just been binging on this song of his over and over again at very high volumes.

Kendrick Lamar – Cartoons & Cereal (feat. Gunplay)

For me, it has the intensity of a Waka Flocka song, but concentrated through the laser beam focus of a Scarface song, and the very non-traditional song structure and length are extremely refreshing to me in the current state of quantity-over-quality mass-production rap.  I can get down with some by-the-book shit like anybody else can, but stuff like “Cartoons and Cereal” comes as an extremely welcome shift in style without abandoning the unpretentiousness of subject matter that makes street rap so appealing.

Since I’ve been putting this effort into Kendrick lately, I’ve also taken some time in giving some of his friends a more serious listen too, and since his friend and label-mate Ab-Soul just came out with his first solo album, and the video for his song “Empathy” is absolutely beautiful, I thought that might be a good one for me to delve into.  I have to admit that on first listen, the very beginning of the album wasn’t speaking to me, but then track 4 hit me with the perfect formula to make me start liking it.

Ab-Soul – Terrorist Threats (feat. Danny Brown & Jhené Aiko)

Did you hear the “BRRRRR!!” and “BLOW!  BLOW!” from “Cartoons and Cereal“?  If you didn’t, you probably at least noticed the very interesting production on the track, or maybe this really awesome opening line:

Babylon!  Babylon!

Out my window all I see is Babylon!

On the news all I see is Babylon!

And all niggas do is just babble on…

Or maybe the little Jhené Aiko “Kick yo game, spit yo flow…” intro caught your attention because of this classic.

Jay-Z – Nigga What, Nigga Who? (Originator 99) (feat. Amil & Big Jaz)

Or maybe there’s something altogether different you noticed about the song.  If so, you know how the internet works, post a damn comment!

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