[Interview] Ab-Soul - Almost There
If this is your first introduction to Ab-Soul, you’ll probably remember him as the one with the hair from the Black Hippy crew. While fellow crew member Kendrick Lamar has gotten a lot of the main stream shine, the described “genius” of the click has been quietly building a fan base of his own. With a new project set to drop next month, TWV sat down with Ab to find out why rap is like a game of scrabble, how advanced placement classes in high school help his style today and why it took some find to his place among Kendrick, Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock.
The Well Versed: Before we start, I’ve gotta ask about the tattoo (Fish with “Ab-Soul’ written on the inside), can you explain the significance?
Ab-Soul: This is a Pisces sign. I’m a Pisces, I know you’ve also seen the Jesus sign. I’m a big fan of the Jesus story.
TWV: What about the story appeals to you?
AS: It’s just a dope story, he was a very courageous figure.
TWV: I didn’t catch the line, but in one of your songs, you refer to yourself as the tightest guy on the low end of the totem pole. With the new deal, do you still feel that way?
AS: I just mean that the artists before me have put in more work and time than I have. I haven’t caught up with my time. I’m catching up, that’s all I mean. I know my potential, I’d probably kill them all lyrically.
TWV: You mentioned that Murs took you out on the road, what was that like?
AS: Last year, I went on the road to Paid Dues. It was my first tour as a solo set. I was always a hype man. That was my first soli experience. Big up to Murs. In memory of that I got a tattoo.
TWV: I was reading the LA Weekly story on the crew and you’re the only one from the suburbs, what was that like?
AS: It’s just a little cleaner. Not to say there aren’t areas that look like my area in every neighborhood. When the homies come to my house they say, “Look at this, why do you rap?
TWV: Why do you rap?
AS: I think rap is like a great game of Scrabble. Working with what you have to come up—to do the most with what little you may have. I love it. I see how it affects people.
TWV: How are you adjusting to the newfound popularity? You came out today and people are singing the words and bobbing their heads.
AS: I’ve been around. They kinda knew me last year. To me, I appreciate that and I feel a responsibility to perform for the people coming to scream and give me energy. I’m just here to do work. Music is a healer.
TWV: Being the only member of the group from the suburbs, was it difficult to find your place?
AS: It took a little time and I had to put everything in perspective and see the gold in it. We’re all living and going through experiences that we can articulate. Little shit. Farting. Everybody farts. Just being relative. Real is relative.