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Ab-Soul, Control System

“Said I was the underdog, turns out I’m the secret weapon,” boasts Ab-Soul in the intro track of his new album Control System. One fourth of the Black Hippy movement, Soul has been a steady contributor to the team’s success with solid collabs on Section.80 alongside Kendrick Lamar and partner in crime ScHoolboy Q on Habits & Contridictions. In his most recent solo endeavor, Control System, Soul craftily proves that he is indeed a potent weapon on a team full of heavy artillery.

Throughout the release, Ab-Soul gives the listeners colorful displays of lyricism over textbook Top Dawg Entertainment sound. With Ali at control of the helm with top notch engineering, the shades-wearing rhymer delivers a vocal style punctuated by dramatic swings in delivery. AS does a great job representing the common man’s thoughts on everyday issues. He enlists Tae Beast, Sounwave, Willie B, Dave Free and more to create a project with a combination of eerie and soulful beats throughout.

Ab Soul wisely selects collaborative partners for the project, as everyone seems to deliver at the right place at the right time on their respective tracks. With “Terrorist Threats,” a track on which Soul mocks the benefits of gang unification, he enlists XXL Freshman Danny Brown for a very creative verse. Showing off the depth of the Black Hippy squad, Soul brings in all four members for the “Black Lip Bastard (Remix),” as forming a voltron-like beast. When in need of a female touch to a track, Soul brings in TDE regular Jhene Aiko for “Soulo Ho3,” and fallen vocalist Alori Joh for “A Rebellion” and “Empathy.”

The bushy-haired MC truly finds himself within this album. On the first listen, many may overlook the depth of the messages from Soul, due to his less agressive approach in the delivery of his bars in comparison to his label mates. Deeper indulgences, though, allow Soul to capture with his words, kicking couplets like, “Just imagine if Einstein got high and sipped juice/Broke rules/Got pussy and beat up rookies on pro-tools,” comparing his skills to Albert Einstein.

Throughout Control System, Ab-Soul maintains a cool, calm and collected, making his message stand out: that admist all the madness of the system, you are still in control, and so is he. Soul also solidifies that his role as least recognizable among the TDE crew up to this point certainly isn’t for lack of skill, and playing the background won’t last long after this release. —Christian Mordi @mordi_thecomeup.

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  • http://Yahoo Pot

    These reviews are garbage and add no introspection on the content of the release. Fire your fucking reviewers already XXL and hire some people who know something, not a bunch of kindergarten writers.

    • TheHighHendrix

      Exactly, this review was crap. It wasnt about having control throughout problems of the system. It was about the system controlling you, easily you can tell that by the outro of Bohemian Grove and Terrorist threats, and just lyrics through the whole song, especially with songs like double standards, showing all the pressure the system puts on you to control you. I wrote too much.

  • b-rab

    Everything shoulda been an XXL except for beats. I’d give that an XL. XXLmag should be ashamed for not giving this album an XXL. One of the greatest things my mind has ever witnessed. Respect Ab-Soul, you killed this one. Went way over XXLmag’s head i guess

  • Stoo_ie

    This review was pretty weak! This is actually one of the best and reaslest mixtapes I have heard in a while. Ab did his thing and really got his message out there. Dis has some of the most creative concepts I have heard in a tape in a long time. Production was tiight too! #BlackHippy

  • cbugs3

    Agree with B-rab this album is the definition of Hip Hop

    • B-Rab

      Thank you cbugs3. So with this review, xxl is saying that this album is pretty much the same quality of a “rap/hip-hop” album as b.o.b.’s strange clouds? Dissapointing XXL mag. And you are supposed to know music? SMH

  • dip$et

    yah this review is pretty wack and generic seems like the dude who wrote this didnt even listen to this shit

  • mikheld

    Even though it was a good rating (worth an XXL though), I have to agree with others that the true message of this album seemed to go over the reviewers head. The concepts and the whole flow of the album are so deep. It pained me to read this guys thoughts on Terrorist Threats (one of my favorites from the album), clearly he did not “get it”. Research the Tree of Life, Chattel, Pineal Gland/3rd Eye, and maybe then some of the concepts from the album will become clear.

    TDE and the HiiiPower movement have been a beautiful breath of fresh air for Hip-Hop.

  • Gunner50718

    I am very disappointed with this review. This more about him being the background guy instead of focusing on the details of the album. Soul is my favorite artist from Black Hippy and has the potential to be great. Cant believe they didn’t even mention The Book of Soul, probably the most heart-felt track Ive heard in a minute. Congrats on a great album.



    how does this get the same review as a ace hood mixtape and tyga album ?????????????????????????????????

  • wadde100

    Ive already listened to this album at least a hundred times all the way through and it still gets better every time. TDE is the hardest in the game right now no competition

  • s

    this is the best drop so far this year along with section80 if you dont understand the hiiipower movement you dont understand real hip hop, this is XXL all the way TDE got the belt.



  • A.C. Says 10%

    i feel like i get smarter everytime i listen to Ab-Soul. dude speaks truth.

  • Fitz

    This is easily one of the best albums to come out since section.80. I can’t believe this on the same level as Meek Mills newest mixtape. You serious xxl?The lyrics went soo deep and opens your mind up to the goverments system on us,your acceptance to other people and just life in genral.Seriously XXL I thought you were a hip hop album and have clearly not even understood the deepness and meaning in this project.

  • Emmanuel

    REALLY XXl REALLY………lol this Album went str8 over your head ,Do you Know how to read WTF

  • SCubA

    they didnt even talk about Book Of Soul which menas he didnt listen to the whole album. that changes the whole perspective on the record. Plus whats with giving beats a 3??

  • jksgfj

    dosent even mention Book Of Soul which makes me think he didnt even listen to the whole record… smh

  • jhwg624

    This Album was actually was (in my opinion) the best album put out in a while. With everyone trying to sell out Ab-Soul is making real music. Album is XXL

  • Christian Lopez

    Terrible review. Hip Hip needs this.

  • Christian Lopez

    Terrible review. Hip Hop needs this.

  • Paco

    they fucked this review up. mocked gang unification? no he comprised a reasonable argument to actually preform gang unification. I thought the album was focusing on how the control system controls you, not neccessarily that ur in control but more like be aware they’re trying to control you and this is how.

  • rage @ga1nst the machine

    wtf he wasn’t mocking gang unification with terroirst threats he was calling on the gangs of the world to unite against the evil fucking governments, xxl is for sure trying to supress the messages in this album; another cog of the machine that make up the system