The Hip-Hop powerhouse known as Top Dawg Entertainment that hosts Superstar MC's such as Kendrick Lamar, SchoolBoy Q and Jay Rock would not be considered one of the most musically versatile teams in Hip-Hop's arena without the invaluable contributions of the Carson, California native, "Ab-Soul". Herbert Anthony Stevens is better known as Ab-Soul or "Soulo" to his fans and derived his moniker from the word "absolute" as he would instead shorten it and add the hyphen to distinguish himself.
Soulo knew from an early age that he wanted to become a wordsmith within Hip-Hop's arena due to his upbringing within his parent's Record Shop. This would give Ab the opportunity to truly study music as an art-form learning from legendary Hip-Hop artists such as, Eminem, Kanye West, Fabolous, Joe Budden and Jay-Z. Ironically enough, when Soulo contracted the rare skin disease known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome at just ten years old, he would unconsciously develop a desire to look into the light (being enlightened) within his life and music respectively regardless of his physical inability. An eighty percent fatality rate for individuals contracting the disease at the time makes Ab's survival story a miracle with only severe damage to the cornea's in his eyes, which explains Ab's extreme sensitivity to light.
Ab-Soul would begin honing his craft as an MC at an early age via online freestyle battles on websites such as Blackplanet and would build his foundations as a lyricist through this type of rapping called, "Keystyle". In a Complex Magazine article, Soulo articulates how he wrote his first verse at the age of twelve to Twista's song, "Emotions". From there he would develop a passion for the craft of attempting to becoming the best wordsmith he could be in Hip-Hop's incredibly competitive stage. As soon as Herbert graduated High School he would sign his first record deal with StreetBeat Entertainment that proved to be a priceless experience as it primed Soulo to build an invaluable relationship with Top Dawg Entertainment. In 2006, his journey with TDE would begin when he met the Co-Creator of TDE, "Punch" and from there would develop a familial relationship with the rest of the future star-studded MC's within the crew.
By 2009, Ab-Soul would release his first mixtape named, "Long Term" that was the first part of his four part, "Long Term Mentality" mixtape series, based upon the premise that it would be a very long and arduous journey. The very next year Ab-Soul would release the follow up mixtape, "Longterm 2: Lifestyles of the Broke and Almost Famous" that has Ab depicting his life and come up on his journey to becoming the best person and artist he can be respectively. Ab's breakout musically would evidently appear when he dropped his debut album, "Long Term Mentality" in 2011. While Ab's first two projects was an introduction to himself and a snapshot of his life at that specific time, his album boasts a theme that illuminated a detailed overview of Ab painting a vivid picture of his life and what he aspires to do in Hip-Hop. The tape bolster's one of Ab's best collaboration track's with his fellow TDE conglomerate, "Kendrick Lamar" on, "Moscato".
Since the drop of his first album, Ab-Soul has dropped two excellent projects in, "Control System" and "These Days" that both solidify his unique identity and musical lane within a highly talented and diverse Hip-Hop group, Top Dawg Entertainment. Both projects have Soulo tackling his various beliefs, perspectives and experiences in the world around him through the breakout songs such as, "Double Standards", "Terrorists Threats", "Tree of Life" and "Book Of Soul". Soulo's arguably most cohesive concept project to date is his most recent work, "Do What Thou Wilt" that focuses on his perspective on the novel, "The Book of the Law". The theme of women and many thought provoking topics whilst solidifying his undeniable ability to lyrically spar with almost anyone in Hip-Hop. The songs, "RAW", "Threatening Nature" "Evil Genius" and "Braille" are undeniably the project's standout tracks while being accompanied by other provoking songs such as, "D.R.U.G.S" and "Womanogamy".
According to a recent interview with Billboard.com, Ab-Soul is now focusing on delivering high-quality and thought provoking visuals from his latest work DWTW.
We encourage you to check out some of his best work below and to support his latest album here!