Ab-Soul – Control System Review

Soulo Ho3 (feat. Jhene Aiko)
It took a few listens for me to grasp onto this one. 3 good verses for Soul and this one packs a flux of energy, I like the chorus – that’s where it lies. If you heard his previous tapes, you can see the growth. He manages to speak on that and drop some clever lines here and there. Almost all choruses Jhene Aiko does with TDE complement the track nicely and the streak continues on this one, she has a nice tone. Soulo Soulo Soulo

Fuck a foe cuz I’m focused as fo(ur) bifocals, I’m prone to leave the vocal total for the right total…

S.G.: I was expecting more even though Ab-Soul is not that energetic he gave it his best shot.

Track Two
This one is decent, Soul talks about how ill he is. He had some good verses but I’m not feeling the beat. I love the sample (remember Jeezy’s version) but it sounds too slow for the song. Maybe this one will grow on me, maybe not. For now, it’s okay.
S.G.: I like the grittiness in his voice when he delivers the first verse. “same chucks 2 years straight, doing bad sh#t” more rappers could be more transparent in their verses and Ab-Soul does it perfectly.

Bohemian Grove
I like the groove to this sample with the uncommon snares over top. Soul’s flow is impressive and this song is a nice track to party or just chill out to. I like how he drops some historical references here and there. It got some repeat value but the singing at the end could have been omitted.
S.G.: Groovy music right here!

Terrorist Threats (feat. Danny Brown & Jhene Aiko)
Babylon, Babylon. Ab Soul’s first verse is the best verse on the album at this point. The subject matter and the way he flipped it was nice. He tells it how he sees the world, he on some real revolution stuff here. It’s deep. Danny Brown spazzed, the guy’s flow is unmatched. There aint really much I don’t like about this one. Currently, this one’s my favorite. AbSoul really shows his potential and what he’s capable of as an artist.
S.G: Growth, that’s all I see in this song. I like the chorus even though it sounds odd. Danny Brown so raw with it!

Peep the concept
You’ve got progress, you’ve got congress
We protest in hopes they confess
Just proceed on your conquest
I ain’t got no gavel
I ain’t finna fight nobody battle
I just wanna be free
I ain’t finna be nobodies chattel

Pineal Gland

A full track dedicated to the third eye. I didn’t expect myself to enjoy this as much as I have. “I don’t even know what’s real, I’m just being real” Lines like this is what attracted me to AbSoul’s music. He just lets it all out, sheer honesty and don’t really care who cares it seems. This track got a bunch of nice lines with some real meaning behind them. This might be too far in ‘left field’ for some listeners; it will take a few listens to grasp it all.
S.G.: This song will take time to grow on me. For now I will most likely skip it.

We in a space where matter don’t matter
Just spirit molecules and geometric patterns
Shitted in a crater last time I sat on Saturn
Got a letter from Andromeda, they trying shrine my bladder

Double Standards

From the surface, it seems like a simple story talking about a double standard but as you get into it you see that it’s a very good track with a great story. I don’t know if I’ve heard this type of story done this way before. I think this quote sums it up pretty well.
S.G.: I like the story here. You can here from the verses that Ab-Soul was definitely influenced by Kanye by the way he emphasizes some words.

To my niggas having bitches, it’s what you just do
To the bitches having niggas, this what a slut do
My auntie told me always treat my lady right
My uncle told me only love ‘em for a night
You can see the immediate disconnection
Between a man and a woman, the reason for aggression

Listen closely to the background at the beginning of the beat; you can hear the same sounds in J.Cole’s Enchanted.

Overall, a great track.

Mixed Emotions
At the beginning, I was feeling the laid back track. I expected a bassline to drop but it never happened, I felt it would have served nicely here. However, after a few listens this is a pretty decent track.
S.G.: The beat just messed up the song for me, maybe I will change my mind later but for now SKIP.

SOPA feat. Schoolboy Q
This sound like something that would be on a Schoolboy Q album. It’s his style of music. I’m feeling the beat but the verses are okay at best with the exception of the 1st verse. I need this instrumental.
S.G.: Now this is what I’m talking about, “oh you the kid? I’m Joseph Kony“, clever! I just love the protesters sample in the background. Schoolboy Q came in so aggressive, that Figueroa shout out was pure. PUFFY!

Lean in my cup, pinky up like Dr.Evil

dead line hoody on like Trayvon

Lust Demons (feat. Jay Rock & Bj the Chicago Kid)
Jay Rock owned this short track. I’m not a Jay Rock fan but he had an impressive verse up here. Soulo had a decent verse. Other than that, this track is nothing special and is skippable for the most part.
S.G.: Wasn’t feeling the mood of this track. It was a little too much for me. Jay Rock don’t sound like himself up here.

Illuminate (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
Ab Soul takes it to another level when he gets on tracks with Kendrick Lamar. He killed his verses. The slow groove will provoke a smooth head bob. I like the JayZ reference “we don’t shine we illuminate the whole show”. Kendrick Lamar drops a pretty good verse as well. When these two get together on a track, good things follow.
S.G.: Back to that rebel in the basement music! Always seems that Ab-Soul is on his game when he is on a track with Kendrick Lamar, that could carry over to other songs. This beat is perfect for the concept.

Stay safe, hold your head
I got two fifths and a loaf of bread
Feed the people, food for thought
Because we are equal, who’d have thought

A Rebellion (feat. Alori Joh)
I like the idea of the track and the subject but this song is not good. Props for those drums though, also heard in Forever Begins. I can’t say too much more than that. This one is skippable for me.
S.G.: I’m in alignment with Satch on this one.

Showin’ Love
Props to Willie B on this smooth beat; Soul drop some nice lines. This one get good rotation in the whip, I’m feeling this one.
S.G.: Been bumping this track since day one. Nothing but clever lines and a beat made from fire.

I flew in, but I ain’t complaining
And everyday I’m raining got the most precipitation
Soul-o, Top Dawg Administration
Top Notch, Crock Pot Hot, where’s your apron
Stop, watch, grab a stop watch, apply patience
And watch us pop across the population

Empathy (feat. Alori Joh & Ja Vonte’)

Soulo decided to sing a bit on this one. It’s not as bad as I expected. It’s smooth and flows well with a hypnotic feel as Soulo shows that he understand what a girl is going through. The singing is on point by Ja Vonte’ and Alori Joh (R.I.P.) as well. Good track.
S.G.: I swear I played this song at least 10 times yesterday. That synth is used perfectly. Alori’s voice at the end put goosebumps on skin, bananas. If the Weeknd was on this track I would probably give it even more rotations. This song reminds me of the song from J.Cole’s Friday Night Lights with the Aaliyah sample.

Nothing’s Something
S.G.: Caught this line “I can’t even take a piss without a ni99a trying to take a pic“, reminds me of the that Eminem line, always have me chuckling.

Beautiful Death (feat. Punch & Ashtrobot)
This is signature AbSoul, this is a lot like of what he was dropping on his previous tapes. He vents over 3 verses pushing the thought of living a good life amongst all of the ills of the world today. Punch delivers a good verse also.
S.G.: I was expecting more from this song especially after hearing the introduction to the actual song. Sounds like some off Lupe Fiasco song.

I just wish they all could see what I can see
If we could stop it with the violence and apply a lil’ logic I believe
We could thrive to be a promise, see – Civilization

The Book of Soul

This joint so jazzy; AbSoul recalls the syndrome he caught way back when, an old flame and Alori Joh. A good personal track and a good way to end off the album.
S.G.: SKIP, if you gonna have a jazz like beat up here let that shit blaze don’t be rappin all over it or just talk on it like Common’s father.

Everything I love most get taken away
My momma and music is next
And if that happens before I turn 28
Then I’m going out with Kurt Cobain

Black Lip Bastard (Remix) [feat. Black Hippy]
As far as I’m concerned, Kendrick ripped, Soul ripped, sbQ was sbQ, Jay Rock was good. Ill beat and sample.
S.G.: As Kendrick Lamar said at the beginning of the song “this is what you really want“, he was correct. K-Dot’s verse was the best especially that Roman Reloads part.

Perpetrating’, bitches popping Percocet and percolating’
Freelance for God but do the work of Satan, whatever works
I’m clever with the words if you haven’t noticed yet
Lightyears ahead, I’m bright and I like to get oral sex
Soul brother number 1+1, getting fed like where drugs and guns come from

Conclusion: Ab Soul delivers a good album with a good set of substance-filled tracks. There are some hit and misses for sure but you can hear the growth in his music. No longer is he the Top Dawg Underdog anymore. The production also had a few missteps; I would have liked to hear more of a variety of beats. Is this better than his previous tape, Long Term Mentality? Right now, I’d say no but we’ll see if that will change over time. Nonetheless, If you got some hippy in you then this album is worth checking out.
Top 3 Tracks: Terrorists Threats, Illuminate, Beautiful Death

S.G.’s conclusion:I can definitely see growth from Ab-Soul, he took a lot of risky which was good and bad. I don’t think this tape really sounds like him, it’s more of a good mixture of other people’s styles. I wasn’t let down by the album because I can still bump a few tracks. If he had made the project shorter and cut out some songs it would be better to me. I recommend downloading this joint after a purchase from itunes first, of course. See what you think about it.
Top 3 Tracks: Empathy, Illuminate, SOPA

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