Review: Ab-Soul's "Control System"

Review: Ab-Soul's "Control System"

Ab-Soul's new project, "Control System," shows his strength as a wordsmith and his passion for the game, all the while keeping the listener's attention.

Ab-Soul may have been the TDE rapper getting the least amount of shine before Control System dropped. However, with the release of Control System on May 11th he has put himself at the forefront, and he proves why he belongs with the TDE spitters, all of whom seem to be the rappers of the moment. But Ab-Soul is more than just a 'rapper of the moment,' and Control System is definitely more than just a project you play once or twice and then forget about. It's a project you want to (and need to) listen to over and over again, until all the lyrics and the complexity of the beats actually sink in. Believe me, this will take continuous listens, and it won't get boring.

Ab-Soul has some of the sickest lyrics and ryhme schemes I've heard in awhile. He's also all about those monosyllabic verses. He lures you into his music with imaginative and contemplative thoughts. This isn't ignorant or ratchet shit; although Ab-Soul doesn't mind getting a little ignorant for a track, in the grand scheme of things, he's dropping intellectual gems on the listener throughout the project. This includes such tracks as "Double Standards," where Soulo contemplates the double standard for men and women in society. He draws examples from his own life, and he spits the extremely poignant line, "To my n*ggas having bitches, it's what you just do/to the bitches having n*ggas, is what a slut do." He also proves on "Double Standard" that he can not only rap, but he can sing and create a hook.


It's actually crazy how well-balanced this project is, subject-matter-wise, and how many facets of Soulo's personality are displayed. Ab-Soul touches not only on that weed and drinking ish ("Mixed Emotions"), and the bravado talk about women ("Lust Demons" featuring Jay Rock & BJ The Chicago Kid), but he also gives us emotional content ("A Rebellion" featuring Alori Joh) and reflections on current affairs are sprinkled throughout the project (but he also addresses issues specifically, for example, on "SOPA" featuring ScHoolboy Q).

Soulo does not neglect showing us a personal side, as he explains the story behind the moniker 'black lipped bastard' on "The Book of Soul." He spits directly to his deceased girlfriend, Alori Joh in the emotional song, and explains Stevens-Johnson syndrome: "And I even lost my lip skin/grew back darker than its original pigment/skin disfigured from boils and blisters/unidentifiable by my little sister."

Lastly, he has that trippy shit he raps about, although far different from Juicy J's idea of 'trippy,' and far better. A great example of this is "Pineal Gland," which finds Ab-Soul using a familiar rhyme scheme, "enjoy your mind trip/but don't trip on your mind."

Control System keeps your interest throughout not only because of the variety of topics and the diversity of the lyrics, but because of the intricate beats, laced with many different sounds and instruments. Not to mention Soulo's flow is on point, similar to his fellow TDE rappers, who have all developped a unique flow. But I think it's safe to say that Ab-Soul has next.

You can purchase Control System on iTunes, and you can stream the album for free below.

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