I remember when I first discovered Ab-Soul my sophomore year of college. I sent my brother a random picture of myself and he claimed I looked like this rapper who he knew I never heard of. Since my brother has a pretty great musical opinion I decided to check out Ab-soul (mainly to lie and say I knew who he was the whole time) and instantly fell in love with his music. His raps were intelligent, riddled in double entendres and required you to do a bit of research just to understand what he was saying half the time. This was my kind of hip hop and honestly still is.
That brings us to 2017 5 years after I discovered Ab-Soul and 5 years after his finest work and arguably one of TDE’s best projects, “Control System” was released. Soulo’s sophomore effort is timeless and just as relevant as it was when it was released. Tracks like Double Standards and Terrorist Threats.
What I like best about this album isn’t just how deep it is but the fact that I can still bang it in the whip (do people still say that?) 5 years later. This is undeniable Ab-Soul’s greatest body of work with DWTW close behind. That album even references Control System. He’s grown as an artist but still pays his respect to the album that made most people stop and really start paying attention to this lyrical genius.
It’s crazy to think that despite multiple features and other projects under his belt after this, Control System is the album most people will tell you to listen to when you’re about to check out Ab-Soul. This isn’t a review though this is me paying my respects to my favorite member of TDE. So what better way to do that than list my top 10 favorite verses from Control System.
1. “I run the town like Roc Nation, no exaggeration
Bet I rise like Lazarus, use your imagination” Track 2, Track Two
2. “Your picture still on my mind and it’s so scary. I swear I still ain’t looked at your obituary” Track 16, The Book of Soul
3. “I coexist in places you would never know existed” Track 3, Bohemian Grove
4. “We in a space where matter don’t matter
Just spirit molecules and geometric patterns” Track 5, Pineal Gland
5. “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 regression” – Track 6, Double Standards
6. “Lean in my cup, pinky up like Dr. Evil (zip it)” Track 8, SOPA
7. “I used to wanna rap like Jay Z
Now I feel I could run laps ’round Jay Z
Nas ain’t seen nothin’ this nasty
BIG and Pac got it comin’ when I pass, too
You got the mic? I ain’t the one you wanna pass to” Track 10, ILLuminate
8. “You got a past, but that’s in the past
And we all know that you can’t press rewind” Track 13, Empathy
9. “Everything I love the most gets taken away
My momma and music is next
And if that happens before I turn 28
Then I’m going out wit’ Kurt Cobain” Track 16, The Book of Soul
10. “Stick to the plan, I’ll meet you at our spot
If reincarnation is true and we don’t get too lost
Even if you forget me and everything you left behind
I never lied, I love you in a place where there’s no space and time” Track 16, The Book of Soul
I could pick through each track and pull out at least 3 lines that I absolutely love and think that every lover of hip hop should pay close attention to but that would make this entirely too long. Instead, I gave you just a few of my favorites and three from his emotionally vulnerable single The Book of Soul. Only time will tell if Ab-Soul will continue to deliver us projects that are just as significant in his discography as this one that sets him apart from his peers. However, if Control System taught me anything it’s that he’s got the confidence to make sure he is remembered as one of the best.