I’ve been worried about Ab-Soul. Ever since his very dope Long Term series (minus Longterm Mentality), and even Control System, his career trajectory has been going in the opposite direction of what I hoped it would. At one point I thought he was going to be the next one to blow after Kendrick, but he’s been putting out some very lackluster music, and the singles he’s released for Do What Thou Wilt. didn’t have me terribly confident that he’d be able to buck that trend.
“What’s happenin’? Another baptism by Pastor Black Lip
I’m mashin’ across the masses, my movement massive
I’m low-key, like a locksmith workin’ on both knees
You nosy, wire tap vans, got fur where my toes be
I’m cosy, act like you know me”
A HUGE area I’ve had a problem with Soul’s recent music has been with his production. It’s been boring, there’s really no other way to put it. While his label mates have continually come with inventive, complex production, he’s put out basic, uninspired beats that have yet to create a memorable “Soul” sound. As I mentioned before, when I heard the singles “Huey Knew THEN” and “Braille” I was disappointed again that he’s still putting out bland production. Not terrible, but definitely not memorable. Luckily, that wasn’t the case for the album as a whole. “Threatening Nature” and “Beat the Case” have some appropriately menacing production, with “Beat the Case” in particular having some haunting synths. “Lonely Soul///The Law (Prelude)” has a very dope soul sample flip and is smooth as hell and “D.R.U.G.S.” has a nice little bounce to it. Do What Thou Wilt. has some of the best production I’ve heard from Ab-Soul in some time and it’s a step in the right direction.
“And we don’t speak on sexism much as we really should
The black man could vote before the woman could
You singin’ hymns in church, I’m lookin’ for the her’s
In 66 books in the Bible, they ain’t let a lady say one word”
Lyrically, Ab-Soul has the potential to be one of the best rappers out. His wordplay, metaphors, and verse structures are all elite level stuff at times. He’s a really smart rapper who’s very thoughtful when it comes to the “art” of hip-hop and lyricism. I say he has the “potential” to be the best, because that really depends on the style of rap you prefer. If you like the conspiracy theorist, “third-eye”, occultist material, then Ab-Soul is the guy for you. I personally don’t, and that’s why I had a hard time getting into Control System at times. He does have some clever lines, but sometimes he comes off as that guy who’s read a book or taken an acid trip, so now he thinks he knows more than you. When in reality, it’s an album full of contradictory statements and observations that don’t stand up to scrutiny. I was often left feeling baffled trying to figure out if he truly believes half the shit that comes out his mouth. I don’t know, I guess I’m just not “woke” enough to get it.
Have you heard Do What Thou Wilt.? What’d you think about it? Was it a step in the right direction for Ab-Soul? Do you like his more “conspiracy theorist” material? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.
Do What Thou Wilt. is a step in the right direction for Ab-Soul. It features some of his best production and sharpest lyrics in some time. Even though there are still some baffling contradictions that I guess I'm just not "woke" enough to get.