Summary of the great Hip Hop star “Ab Soul“
Ab Soul’s last album, Do What Thou Will dropped in 2016. In the real world, six years is a long time, especially considering these six years. But in hip-hop, six years often feels like 15. The game changes so frequently that questions about Ab Soul’s emcee status aren’t out of bounds. Herbert, his latest offering, has a lot of pressure on its metaphorical shoulders as it represents a post-Kendrick Lamar era for Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). It hurts to lose your best rapper, but one imagines it feels like a thousand beestings all at once when said rapper is one of the greatest of all time.
Luckily for the TDE, and more importantly for Ab Soul, Herbert (out Friday, December 16th) shows he’s more than capable of putting the record label on his back and chiseling his name in hip-hop’s upper echelon. Putting it simply, Herbert reminds everyone that when it comes to rapping, Ab Soul is a problem.
The album starts with a loving voicemail from Ab’s grandmother, which plays into the album’s focus on the man behind the rap name: Herbert Anthony Stevens IV. Ab’s vulnerability as an emcee works to his favor here, as he combines his insightfulness with incredibly clever wordplay. “Getting loaded to the point I ain’t controlling myself/ Couple grams and I’m on the Gram trolling myself. Like, get a hold of yourself, gotta get over myself/ This message in a bottle ain’t gon’ open itself.”
It’s a shame Herbert drops today because most sites, including ours, already made their best of ’22 lists. If the album dropped even three or four weeks ago, there’s a strong chance it would have made all of those lists while possibly challenging Pusha T and Ab Soul’s homie, Kendrick, for the best project of the year. Not that Ab cares. As the Joe Budden clip says on the opening track, he’s just different. He makes music for those in the know rather than making music for the moment. Herbert might be his crowning achievement.
Essential Tracks: “Report Card,” “Go Off,” “Gotta Rap”
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