Review : Ab-Soul - Control System
HipHop DXAs today's Hip Hop climate is predicated by gatekeepers overlooking lesser known talent, coveted cosigns from iconic figures do wonders in the way of up and coming emcees receiving an otherwise hard earned shine. Amongst the West Coast's rising phenomena, Top Dawg Entertainment's Black Hippy crew has found themselves in hopes of eventually following in the esteemed footsteps of Game, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent as the group's close affiliation with Dr. Dre has netted a lucrative joint venture partnership with Interscope and Aftermath Records. Having trudged tirelessly prior to landmark moments including de facto leader Jay Rock's aligning with underground sensation Tech N9ne and the massive acclaim garnered from Kendrick Lamar's 2011 release Section.80, the crew has seen a steady ascent towards prominence that recently hit a fever pitch in the wake of ScHoolboy Q's Habits & Contradictions released at the top of this year. Ab-Soul has been TDE's secret weapon, presently riding the wave of their newfound glory with #controlsystem, his fourth release in as many years. ...full text
XXL MagThroughout the release, Ab-Soul gives the listeners colorful displays of lyricism over textbook Top Dawg Entertainment sound. With Ali at control of the helm with top notch engineering, the shades-wearing rhymer delivers a vocal style punctuated by dramatic swings in delivery. AS does a great job representing the common man’s thoughts on everyday issues. He enlists Tae Beast, Sounwave, Willie B, Dave Free and more to create a project with a combination of eerie and soulful beats throughout.
Ab Soul wisely selects collaborative partners for the project, as everyone seems to deliver at the right place at the right time on their respective tracks. With “Terrorist Threats,” a track on which Soul mocks the benefits of gang unification, he enlists XXL Freshman Danny Brown for a very creative verse. Showing off the depth of the Black Hippy squad, Soul brings in all four members for the “Black Lip Bastard (Remix),” as forming a voltron-like beast. When in need of a female touch to a track, Soul brings in TDE regular Jhene Aiko for “Soulo Ho3,” and fallen vocalist Alori Joh for “A Rebellion” and “Empathy.”...full text
All hip hopKendick Lamar has established a considerable platform for his fellow Black Hippy brethren to springboard from. As a collective, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Lamar have released just a few songs under the Black Hippy name, but after the success of the latter’s Section.80, all four find themselves on Dr Dre’s Aftermath imprint; a label where even established artists like Rakim and Raekwon have failed to make an impact. While Jay Rock and Q have cut their teeth on their own independent releases, Ab-Soul is the last member out of the gate, and with his tiny output, unusual personal styling and a seemingly lack of enthusiasm for glossy production methods or large, radio-friendly hooks, he looks a very small fish in the pond where the good doctor resides....full text
Dj BoothLiving life as a rap blogger means that nearly every hip-hop related thought that I’ve had over the past five years is only a few clicks away. While this chronicle has been the cause of some serious embarrassment – yes, I did once say that I didn’t think Chamillionaire would last – it also allows me to back up a sentence like, “I’ve been listening to Ab-Soul for years.”; September 22, 2009 to be precise. That’s when I heard King of Carson and wrote, “In an era of endlessly copied trends and sound-alike rappers it’s sadly rare to hear a truly original sound. Well listeners, I’m here today to proudly announce that I’ve never heard something quite like Ab-Soul’s music before.” I’d be lying if I said I foresaw the heights to which Ab-Soul has risen, or appears to be rising, but I can say I’m not at all surprised to hear him deliver an album as powerful as Control System....full text
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