Ab-Soul began 2014 a little roughly with the frustrating delay of his forthcoming album These Days..., but after threatening to leak the project earlier this month, it seems like he's patched things up with his label. The album's now set to drop in June, and in preparation, Soulo sat down with Life + Times to discuss the new project and TDE's ongoing hot streak that's already seen 2014 releases from Isaiah Rashad, Schoolboy Q and SZA. 

First, Ab-Soul talked "Stigmata," the latest leak from These Days... that he calls "a cornerstone of the whole joint." Speaking on the song's origin and his interpolation of lyrics from Nas' "The Cross" on its chorus, Soulo said:

"How the song came about, in all honesty, was that I wanted to do a song about stigma. I ended up looking up the word stigmata, thinking that it was an extension of the word stigma. After looking it up I realized that I had already been dancing around this Jesus concept within my lyrics. I had already had this concept strung in, so when I looked up the definition of stigmata, it just all made sense. It only made sense for me to title it 'Stigmata.' Also, I always like to reference my favorite shit, whether it’s new or old, in a manner where you know I did it and the 'The Cross' reference made perfect sense."

Ab-Soul also name-drops Canibus, Jay Electronica and Jay Z as two of his favorites in the interview, saying that "They all had dignity and character. I just want to give that back." His reverence also extends to include Common, with whom he collaborated on the recent track "Made In Black America." ""Common literally texted me out of the blue. He sent this long text message showing his interest in the music. It was just so crazy. I didn’t even want to ask him where he got my number from [laughs]."

Talk then moved to These Days..., which was originally rumored to be titled Black Lip Bastard. When that title is brought up, Soulo clarifies: "No, it was never going to be titled that. That’s just one of my many nicknames, but I realized that bastard is not a good name, so I changed it to pastor. There are kids out there watching me and listening to my music."

The new album was mostly recorded at Mac Miller's house, and Soulo offered the following as a description of the project: "Balance. Variation. A spice of life. I want to try and touch as many bases as possible. I want something on there for everybody. There will be a lot of references to the vibe of today, the sound of today and the subject matter of today."

On the subject of TDE and Black Hippy's recent successes, Ab-Soul said he's feeling no pressure from Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q or anyone else. "I’m from LA, where you got to be a cool nigga and you can’t walk around with too much fear in your heart. That’s just how I was brought up. I’ve walked this earth a long time without the media, so I don’t really see the media being an issue for me. I’m not signed to a major label. I’m signed to Top Dawg. It’s a Top Dawg party, so I’m rolling this project out in a similar fashion to how I rolled out my past projects."

Stay tuned for These Days..., which could be released as early as next Tuesday.