Three words…Top Dawg Entertainment. Now I know you know who that entails, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q some of you might be just catching onto SZA and Isaiah Rashad. However many people haven’t caught onto Top Dawg’s underdog, Ab-Soul.
Give you an interesting fact; we all heard the “Control” verse right? Where Kendrick listed a bunch of top guys in the game and said he was coming for their heads? Ab Soul did it first…listen to “Long Term Mentality”, the song “Hell Yeah” In fact I’m such a nice guy…here you go
- “Hell yeah we been patrolling the game, watching the throne, plotting on Jay and Kanye, Marshall and Andre, Lil Wayne, Drake, Wiz Khalifa, Wale, that B*tch Nicki, J. Cole, Rozaaay”
See? Yeah…say something…
So to give you a context, back story, set the scene, however you want to put it; Ab is one-fourth of the super group on TDE formed of the original 4 artists known as Black Hippy. He’s possibly the most contradictory member of the group. He can bounce from referencing the rewriting of the constitution, to speaking about ancient Sumatra and then ratchet girls and lean at house parties. He is a blatant outsider, from his long messy hair, to his inability to see without his sunglasses and his black lips from where he takes his name “Black Lip Pastor” and in that knowledge he draws an immense degree of power.
Lyrically I’d rank him higher than Kendrick, his knowledge base that he draws on to make his points in his bars is at a level of vastness I haven’t heard in a long time. He has a different kind of charisma and when he wants you to see how deep his feels get boy…check out “Book of Soul” I was near a tear. This is a guy that you have to do a bit of homework if you’re going to endeavor to truly understand.
Now when you take into consideration the impact that Kendrick has had on the scene you can understand why his compadres, homies would fade somewhat in his shadow but not Ab. No, Ab will boldly state that “And if I aint better than Kendrick, no-one is”. This is a guy who is 3 mixtapes deep, 1 album in and still not getting the shine he deserves and he knows it. So what happens when you keep getting passed over like it’s nobody’s business, you either give up or get hungry. Holding your own on a track with Lupe Fiasco is one way to definitely say you’re hungry, being comfortable to rhyme about how your family sees you as a potential failure for choosing to take music over a stable job and career would be another.
See I wrote an article not long ago called “Behind the Front” and that philosophy applies well here, Kendrick dropped his album and killed it. Schoolboy dropped his album and killed it so when Ab is still chilling in the back room waiting to be put on but is still so visible on his counterparts albums it doesn’t take much looking to find him. I found him through a track with Kendrick “Turn it up” and I was stuck, ran through his entire discography practically in a day.
So I implore you…check out guys like Ab-Soul sometimes the underdog is most definitely the most dangerous…
Projects you need to hear
- These days
- Control system
- Long term mentality
- Long term mentality 2