Rap Selects

So, I’m the type of person that likes to listen to as much Hip-Hop music as possible. I’m constantly doing research on new and old artists, trying to find the right music to listen to from as many different sounds as possible. In doing so, I end up with a whole lot of albums.

I like to listen through these albums – sometimes right when I get them, sometimes not – and pick which songs I like from each. I put those songs into a gigantic playlist in my iTunes called Rap Selects.

So of course, the playlist becomes the size of an average iTunes Library (currently it has 2,044 songs. Wow.). Included in the mix is some pretty ridiculous music that I can’t even explain why I like, as well as some music I must have thrown into the playlist when I was way too stoned.

So when I take time out from my crazy research listening habits, I let this playlist play for awhile while doing various other things. It never ceases to amaze me how many times I’ll hear a song I put in the list from months ago and completely forgot who the music is by or that I even had it in the first place. It’s almost like being completely reintroduced to the artist.

This can be a good or bad thing, I suppose. If I listened to the artist while I was really intoxicated or not paying enough attention, it gives me another chance to re-evaluate. That doesn’t mean I’ll always change my mind, though (sometimes intoxication knows best). Sometimes hearing an old song I used to love but haven’t heard in a long time makes me want to revisit the artist completely.

This happened to me pretty recently with an artist named Ab-Soul. I’ve been a fan of the MC for a long time, since I first heard Longterm Mentality. I love the whole Black Hippy collective as a whole, each artist for different reasons. Aside from Jay Rock, Ab-Soul has always stuck out to me. His lines makes me laugh as well as impress. It seems like he is always trying to combine witty humor with original rhyme schemes, something that I heavily respect in an MC. Also, truth be told it’s something that I strive to do myself in my raps.

I have a bad habit of writing off albums before I truly hear everything the project has to offer. I admit, it’s pretty ridiculous. It’s caused me to miss a lot of really good music that I like later on anyways. This sort of thing happened to Ab-Soul’s newest release, Control System. I first looked at it as experimental garbage, a project showing that Ab-Soul was losing his mind and going overboard with “creativity”. Silly Ronzo.

After another listen through, I’m immediately blown away by “Track Two”. Ab-Soul goes hard on this. One of the peak lyrical performances on the entire thing, right off the bat. Impressive to say the least. “Pineal Gland”, and “SOPA feat. Schoolboy Q” follow suit with more complex and interesting wordplay. I prefer these types of Ab-Soul tracks, where he goes off on lyrical tangents about nothing in particular. Usually with rappers, I don’t agree with using a beat to say absolutely nothing on the track. However if you can do so while using intelligent lyrics, and original rhyme schemes, more power to you.

Overall, the album does really have an “experimental” feel to it. What I missed the first time listening through, though, was the fact that he uses the “experimental” feel and brings it back full circle to his original style. Honestly, looking back at his discography he’s had an “experimental” feel the entire time. I guess I was too intoxicated.

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