live a little|Soul Interview: New Album ‘Herbert’ & Ov

Over the of Ab-Soul’s 12-year , the has in his quest for what he calls “the truth, if there is such.” The “Black ,” as his call himlive a littlelive a little, has long as a of hope for those with , and it all with his album, 2012’s .


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With its mix of and ,the album has so among rap fans thatfiction beast live, at this point, it’s for Soul’s . took on an of its own; so did Ab-Soul, who into the murky of with his , 2014’s These Days… and 2016’s Do What Thou Wilt. The being so down in far-flung that it was hard to where one ended and began.

Then, Soulo to . One year off into six, as he down what he a “ hole” that him from his and . The of was to blame.

“I’ve been to beat , and I think that’s a big part of the why the [new] album is – it’s about back to self,” the born IV tells as he chews on a his New York hotel room. “I was with one of the big once and he said, ‘Man you’re this like you’re or . You’re from the hood bro. Why can’t you just talk about some of that sh-t?’”

, which on (Dec. 16), is by far the most Soul has ever made. the album’s 18 , Soul on his , a past , as well as the state of rap and his place in it. As a known for , he the of a lot of – on “,” he raps, “I don’t know what to think.”

As his for a truth into an , Soul says that he had to come to a place of the . To do this, he up as more of “an ” for . DJ , , James Blake, DJ Dahi,Hit-Boy and Boi-1da all him with beatslive a little|Soul Interview: New Album ‘Herbert’ & Ov, and he asked his close and for help in the . He the he loved to be the for what would .

“I was my guys, ‘What do you want to hear me on?’ I was in that ,” Soul says. The not only some of Soul’s best music in a , it him let go of the wheel, and not get so up in the “ truth” idea.

“Look, I’m in God’s hands now. God is good all the time,” Soul says. “I’ m just it like that. I’m the faith.”

When I was back to Do What Thou Wilt ,the first thing that me was how and clear your has . How did your to with this album?

For melive a little, it’s more to be than it is to be . It was to , and I it to be an easy , my last album in was very dense and very dark also. I even with that one. That wasn’t an album, that was an . So this time I just it to feel good first, and I just to be an have it be about what I’m .

At what point did and those ideas start to come ?

So I took a year and a half off from my last album, and I went in , “I’m not gonna have a this time, I’m just gonna be pure, be open and just try to speak from .” It was fuzzy at first, to be , , but I tell that once I made “,” I felt like I was on the verge of and that I had a .

“” also feels like a on the album, you seem to come clean and say “I don’t know what to think.” This feels like for Ab-Soul. When did that start to creep in, and have you been able to come to a place of it?

I feel like it’s . “A wise man knows he knows .” But , I found a of the new in. So I kind of came to this place of, “I ain’t got no gavel, who am I to judge?” Plus just being older now, we got a lot of new young that are and and are new to the table. It’s . I love Kembe X,andứng dụng hot live, , to name a few. Those are my guys.

Was there a in where you being a ?

There was a with Lil Uzi Vert early, early on. He said about on a beat. I think to work with him or , and I felt a need to speak up. I the air with him, but that was a where I was like: “Hold on. He has his own sound. Who am I to speak up on any young man out there to make of ?”

was just paint and he was f–king . Some that was . it was . Like, who am I? Let me just focus and make sure I’m the best I can .

, you ended up with on “Gotta Rap.”

That was a dream come true. I that and he made me work for it. I had to do it about five or six times he felt the . I his craft and what he’s to the . It was an honor. Even Ab-Soul was my name I a beat. It was a .

On that note, we have to talk about “Do .” What do you hope that will do for the of Ab-Soul?

That’s one of the most songs I’ve ever made. me the and I was drawn to it. Like I said I was just , and I it to . I want us to try to be at all . To be your best self, and that was me to . I was to me to be . It was a with .

that stuck out to me in that was “Be Like That.” The song feels like you’re rock , but also the light .

. “When it feels like hell, ’s the .” That was the to make, and it’s so that’s the most [I’ve been]. I was like, “I don’t want no in this. I don’t want no . Not one , I just want to speak,” and that was so hard for me to do. I don’t in , so I had to get into the of it.

You’ve been with Jhené Aiko for years now. Tell me about the you two share and what you feel she to your music.

I saw one time asked her if she was a who she’d be and she said Ab-Soul. Jhené was with us in the , in the . She was with us early. A voice, , and we just . Also, you know she’s a , and we have that thing. Our are so .

What’s your to the “Black- ” at this point in your ?

I’m still the ! I feel like it’s more now and that it’s -made for me. It was a back then, but I feel like I’ve grown into it now. At the time I got that , I was heavy into and into the root of , and it came from and to get to the truth, if there is such.

Tell me more about how being the “third eye guy” you.

Like I said, I’m to climb out of the hole, man. Let’s stay here. Let’s stay in this realm. Let’s stay on the . I was on the and the and : Learn all you can while you’re here. is power, but stay on the . Stay here. I felt from my close and in a sense. My way of to . The big are just to party.

Do you still the “Third Eye Guy?”

I’ll be the third eye guy,and I still those but now it’s a faith. You heard my on them. I’m not to shove these down your . Once I felt the the that to me mostlive a little, the that I trust the most, when I a that and my , I is wrong with me.

You gotta keep your , man. I’m big on and love and those . I just to feel like I was . I didn’t wanna hang out as much I wasn’t in what was going on. They’re like, “Yo bro, where you at? Pop out!” And I was, you know, .

How has your of out from that hole?

Oh, I’m back , baby! man, I live in the now. I’m right now. I’m in the now heavy.

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