Tupac - “Temptations”
Souls of Mischief - “93 Till Infinity”
Happy throwback Thursday! Dial up seven digits…
So I’m having an Ab-Soul Thursday. I typed “Ab-Soul” into my iTunes, hit shuffle and let it do it’s thing. It’s been hopping between Ab-Soul’s most recent album “Control System”, his 2010 mixtape ”Longterm 2: Lifestyles of the Broke and Almost Famous”, and his debut studio album “Longterm Mentality”.
18 tracks into the shuffle, “The Book of Soul” comes on. Freeze. I can never play this song only once. I end up replaying it 9 times. Each time the song reaches deeper than the last. Never have I ever heard a rap song be delivered with such emotion. Not since I first heard Kid Cudi. I’m not saying I’ve never been moved by rap before, please. I’m moved by rap in different ways everyday. But this song gives me chills. You can hear Soul’s voice crack throughout the song as the pain breaks into him. Absolutely insane. Isn’t this what all music should feel like? This is what triggered me into writing this post.
Here’s a recipe, and why Soulo is so dope:
INGREDIENT ONE: EMOTION One thing I look for first in an artist of any art form, is emotion. The reason I’m so unimpressed with a lot of artists, is down to lack of emotion and/or meaningfulness. I’m tired of all these punchline rapping ass niggas who think some sick tongue-twisters or a couple of basic entendres can make your music great. You can be the dopest lyricist homie, without soul your music means nothing to me. (No pun intended.) Soul completely strips himself bare in his music. I can feel him, no matter what emotion he’s throwing at me. He has the writing skill of a country singer, if that makes sense. Listen to “Book of Soul”, “Can Anybody Hear Me?” and “Soul Cry”.
INGREDIENT TWO: LYRICAL CONTENT Soul is clearly a very intelligible man. He gives us some of the sickest entendres and wordplay, explained with an extensive vocabulary, layered with meaningful content and surrounded by cool ass bars. Check out “Pineal Gland”, “Terrorist Threats”, “Real Thinkers” and “Gone Insane”.
INGREDIENT THREE: MUSICAL EAR A skill that is often overlooked by rappers who think beats aren’t important. It’s very important to know what kind of beats suit you and your style. It’s good to ride the beat, and not let the beat ride YOU. Soul knows exactly what he’s doing here. He has a GOOD ear. He glides over beats all smooth like he’s Barry fuckin’ White. “ILLuminate”
INGREDIENT FOUR: KNOWLEDGE AND THE “KNOW HOW” TO SPREAD IT Ab is extremely knowledgable. He touches on political and social issues, without shoving it in our faces. He doesn’t try to be a “conscious rapper”. The minute you start trying, you’ve already failed in getting your point across. He does it in a way that makes people listen the fuck up. Watch the news, kids. Read a newspaper, kids. Listen to Ab-Soul, kids. Listen to “Terrorist Threats” again, “Double Standards”, and particularly “Ab-Soul’s Outro”.
INGREDIENT FIVE: HONESTY AND RELATION TO THE STRUGGLE I cannot stress enough how essential honesty is in your music. How often do we hear rappers pretending to be something they’re not? Ab told us that he made $700 in his last show. We have rappers earning tens of thousands a show… now. Would they have confessed to earning $700 when they were on the come up? Fuck nah. We all have to start somewhere, everybody knows that. But for some reason, they want to flaunt a pretentious lifestyle with their rented cars and a few bottles of Cristal that they spent their entire paycheck on for their music video. This shit isn’t relatable to kids in the hood. Give them something to listen to that they can feel while they’re going through it. Definitely take a listen to “Almost There”, and check out “Bankrupt” too.
If you do ever read this Soul, thank you for putting everything into your music. Even if not everybody appreciates just how genius your artistry is, I do. You know people like to listen to music with their ears closed. It also takes a while for people to admit that somebody is better than their favourite rapper lol. I can’t wait for them to eat their words in a few years time! You will only get better as time goes on. You’ve already stood the test of consistency, and I have no doubt you can carry on. I know you’re content with being number two but… you’re second to none.
If you’re from Brooklyn, you’re a dope rapper by air.
Watch The Throne Vol. 2
Strongly advise you all to read this, and share it. I hope Drake reads it and pipes all the way down…
“All in all Drake, you have taken an immense L with this statement. As someone who is not a fan admittedly, I must say, you need to think before you speak.”