BWW Reviews: Ab Soul's 'These Days' Takes Authentic Look Into the Artist
These Days by Ab Soul has many layers, which accounts for the two week delay in a review of it. Many listeners and critics have compared the album to releases by Ab-Soul's label mates Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, both of whom released praised albums, albeit for different reasons.
These Days by Ab-Soul is a fantastic album. Unfortunately, though, his references to Good Kid m.A.A.d City and Oxymoron mar the album, clouding its brilliance. The fact is, These Days is a brilliant work because it sounds nothing like either of his label mate's albums. Instead, These Days is an authentic look into Ab-Soul as a person and as an artist.
Ab-Soul expertly juggles ignorance and philosophy. On the first track, "God's Reign" with SZA, he raps, "We ain't shooting no jumpshots, but we balling, we balling/I'm from where they get jumped or shot till they falling, they falling." Lines like this one exemplify what is unique about Ab-Soul.
Whereas GKMC and Oxymoron were very focused and clear in their intentions, These Days is a scatterbrained and unfocused work with many layers. Although scatterbrained and unfocused may seem like criticisms, they are the opposite. Ab-Soul is the hippy in Black Hippy (the core group at Top Dawg Entertainment), as such, the lack of focus helps his point of view. The album has a very hazy atmosphere, which is something that I love.
The members of Black Hippy are each very unique, and as such, bring different strengths and weaknesses to the recording process. Unfortunately, both Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul had the disadvantage of releasing their albums after Kendrick's stunning debut. When brilliant work pales in comparison to some of what came before it, one can not help but feel disappointed despite the high quality of the product.