Ab-Soul - These Days... (Album Review)

I've been a fan of Ab-Soul for a long while. I've enjoyed most everything he's released. When These Days... was announced I was pretty excited to hear what the follow-up to Control System would sound like. The great thing about Ab-Soul is that despite his association with Black Hippy he really has a few trademarks to his sound that really help him stick-out from the pack and add some uniqueness to his style. Be it in the presentation with the very interesting looking artwork for These Days... or his ability to rap above average. He has released albums that have consistently been interesting. I went into These Days... expecting to be impressed.

Ab-Soul is a member of the Black Hippy collective, which is made up of Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, and Schoolboy Q. All of these artists have been releasing album after album of solid material. Schoolboy Q's album was released earlier this year and was pretty good. I think Ab-Soul's new album is another great addition for the Black Hippy crew. I think it's a stronger album than Control System, which I liked quite a bit.

The album is done pretty masterfully. Beat choice, production, guest features, and Ab-Soul's rapping ability all compliment each other really nicely. This is in the top of some of my favorite rap/hip-hop releases this year. I still feel like I'm enjoying the new Blu album a little more, but there is no denying how great this album is. "Tree Of Life" is so catchy and it definitely warrants repeat listens. It's one of the best songs on the albums. The track "Sapiosexual" has a great beat and it just sticks out as one of my favorites on the album. J. Cole produced the song and it was a great pairing. The vocals are also done really interestingly on this track.

The guest list features on the album are really strong. I actually enjoy them all for the most part. Some of the features include Rick Ross, Lupe Fiasco, Action Bronson, Jay Rock, Danny Brown, and various others. Most of the features add some pretty cool verses to their songs. None of them take away from the album and they all feel like they fit in pretty good on their respective songs.

The key to the success of an album like this is making sure all the pieces fit together. Be it beat, guest feature, or overall verses. This is the type of album that focuses not just on Ab-Soul as a rapper, but the album as a whole creates a vibe and mood. That's one reason I like the album because it all works. It's the kind of the album that if things were mismatched be it the guest, beat, or verse it would mess up the entire flow and feel of the album. However, Ab-Soul is able to keep that vibe and flow for the duration of the project. By doing that it just feels complete. I think if it had faltered once or twice it would cause the listener to just lose the flow. The fact that it doesn't just shows off how good an album this is.

Overall Ab-Soul comes out strong on These Days... This is his third album and I think it's his best. It's a big success and one of the better hip-hop releases I've heard this year. It's full of really catchy rap/hip-hop songs. Ab-Soul is above average and a talented lyricist and rapper. Honestly this is probably up there in my top 5 favorite rap/hip-hop albums this year that have been released so far. It's definitely worth checking out. I went into this, like I said, expecting to be impressed and after a few listens it's lived up to the hype and it definitely is impressive.

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