Only God and Ab-Soul know what’s really going on. The government’s after him (both?) after all so you might as well call him the Black Lip Pastor . In peak form, Soulo spits over some DJ Muggs circa 2012-esque production from Willie B, exhibiting the finest in paranoiac cult talk. Fuck with Ab-Soul and stream and download below. You might just make prophet off of prophesy.
Soul Assassins Radio have been kicking around the hip hop scene for a while now, bringing listeners the best of “underground” hip hop. I put parentheses around underground because in the age of the internet, the underground in a classical sense doesn’t really exist anymore. Until the past few years though, the underground had a particular sound, punctuated by the blunted backpacker crowd and East Coast street rappers. Recently, Ab-Soul stopped by the station to spit a “freestyle” over some buttery production from the questionably named Worldwardrew. The abstract asshole is at his most grounded on “Absolute Assassin”, rapping within himself although he still manages to reference new world order and throw in the double-take worthy “so clean me and Jesus could share a bath”. Stream below and download here.
Joey Bada$$ has seen a dramatic rise to prominence over the past few months, partially due to his well above average rhyming skills, but also because of his revivalist take on 90’s hip hop (more on that here). As much as I enjoy 1999 cuts like “Daily Routine” and “Where It’$ At”, I’ve had a difficult time really embracing Joey and would honestly listen to, like, hip hop that is actually from the 90’s. Anyways, Bada$$ is an intriguing figure who is clearly a hip hop purist, a position I can’t knock. Plus he can really spit. Recently, Bada$$’ “Waves” was released as a single on iTunes (also on 1999) and is accompanied by an Ab-Soul assisted b-side. “Enter The Void” sees the Abstract Asshole and Bada$$ discussing higher levels of being over a classic sounding beat (no surprise) centered around organs and funky bass. Bada$$ almost demands that you “keep your motherfuckin’ chakras open” on the chorus and Ab-Soul throws out Sean Carter and Jesus as his only rivals. I’m still a little bit hesitant to get on the Bada$$ train, but that Stussy Seattle shirt he’s wearing the photo below might just do it. Stream below and cop the single here.
First question: how did this song not make it onto good kid m.A.A.d. city? Second question: isn’t having the Black Hippy four headed monster trading off verses about the problems surrounding alcoholism an infinitely better than having Kendrick go on for five minutes? One of the virtues of Black Hippy is that each member complements each other so well. The formula of Kendrick as the virtuous one, Ab-Soul as paranoiac weedhead, Schoolboy Q as repentant gangster and Jay Rock as the go-to street rapper works too damn well to ignore. And that formula works perfectly on the Black Hippy version (fuck calling adding a few verses a remix) of “Swimming Pools”. The song widget is confusing and blows up my computer every time I try and post it (thanks WordPress) so you’ll have to head here to stream.
We’ve noted several times that Ab-Soul is the next Black Hippy to take the spotlight. First it was Kendrick took over with the arrival of Section.80, then Schoolboy took center stage via Habits & Contradictions. No doubt Jay Rock is waiting in the wings. “SOPA” is another swaggering cut in the vein of Schoolboy’s “Nightmare On Figg St.” that maligns rap cliches with an effortless bluster. It always seems like these guys are just fucking around in the studio. Ad libs abound. Vocal cadences change at the drop of a dime. Dialogue between the MC’s is distinct and sarcastic. For the self-described nerd and suburbanite of the group, Ab-Soul goes harder than 99% of MC’s out there, managing to sound menacing within a deep, complex rhyme scheme.
Dear Barak, I know you’re just a puppet, but I’m giving you props. You’re lying to the public, and I just love it. I hope it don’t stop
This is lightyears late in internet time, but how could we pass it up. “Blessed” producer Dave Free (also the president/GM of TDE) on the beat. Ab-Soul and Danny Brown spitting with an intense focus that only a select few (half of whom are on this track) MC’s in hip hop can manage. Jhene Aiko interpolates “Notorious Thugs” with aplomb. Hopefully, this will show up on the next Ab-Soul project that will, in all likelihood, catapult him to level of Kendrick and Schoolboy. Now I’m off to Paid Dues to catch his set. Jealous? You should be. Stream and download below.