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Control System

Released: May 11, 2012
Label: TopDawg Ent.
Review by: Connor Moffitt

Finally the last solo album is released from the Black Hippy members. Kendrick Lamar’s Section.80 was something odd that had never been heard before. Jay Rock’s Follow Me Home showed insight into the hood rap of Compton, CA. Schoolboy Q’s Habits and Contradiction gave us multiple aggressive tracks to nod our head to. Finally, Ab-soul’s Control System gave us a mix of all three aforementioned sounds. The cool part is Ab-Soul did it well. We start off with a robotic feminine voice eerily telling us about mind control. She keys us into the intense conspiracy theory you are about to hear. The entire album is a stand against the powers that be. Of course, there are multiple sources behind the world’s impending doom to Ab-Soul. The government has us brainwashed, the devil wants your soul prior to success, and do not get me started on the Illuminati. This is truly the album for all of you “Doomsday Preppers” out there. Do not let his warnings of mass control turn you off. Control System is classic Ab-Soul, or soon to be called classic Ab-soul due to this being his first official solo album. Ab-Soul blends the classic laid back rap synonymous with California. No lack of smooth beats paired with soft chords with snares sprinkled in for the kick. Ab-Soul is the only member of Black Hippy that truly encompasses the Compton sound from start to finish. The comparisons between Ab-Soul and Eazy-E are endless, even down to appearance. Ab-Soul’s power of persuasion is evident. By the end of this record, you will be ready to jump off your couch and join the revolution against ‘The Man’, man. Do not get me wrong, the album is violent, but in a beautiful way. Ab-soul states in many forms his wishes for everyone to just get along and toss away double standards evident in our society. If peace amongst all is not possible, Ab-Soul is totally down for a new American Revolution. Ab-Soul packages all of this angst into extremely catchy songs. If you were not to listen to the words, you would think the music is just another party song. When it comes to party songs, Ab-Soul has a few of those. “Mixed Emotions” and “Lust Demons” are the classic sit back and smoke (cigarettes: if you are of legal age, of course) songs. Ab-Soul even shows a glimpse of his loving side apart from all the anti-establishment verbiage in “Empathy”. He sings throughout and talks about a girl, a much needed break from the deep lyrics prior. The true power of the album definitely still comes from the songs about the Control System we all live in. “Track Two” that is conveniently the second song on the album is when you first get smacked in the mouth with Ab-Soul’s aggressive style. Ab-Soul introduces himself to the world on this track in the typical show off fashion. The next memorable song, “Terrorist Threats”, is the best on the album with the help of Danny Brown. Ab-Soul states in this piece, “if all the gangs in the world unify, we stand a chance against the military tonight.” Ab-Soul then goes to suspect 9/11 was an inside job, questions Obama’s honesty, and goes after congress. The next song, “Pineal Gland”, Ab-Soul discusses his trip on the psychoactive drug by the name of DMT. Ab-Soul then switches pace in “Double Standards”. This song is about double standards regarding male and female display of sexuality. Now fast forward to the second best song on the album, “Illuminate”, featuring Kendrick Lamar. As you can guess from the title, the song is about the infamous secret society. The messages speaking out against the Illuminati are rampant in this song. The third and final best song on the album is “Beautiful Death”. This track urges the people to fight back against the oppression. Ab-Soul says, “I just wish people could see what I could see. If we could stop it with the violence and apply a little logic, I believe we could thrive to be a promising civilization.” Ab-Soul then goes on to say that dying for a cause like his would be a beautiful death. And scene. The album ends on that note. Of course, what is a solo album without Black Hippy reuniting on one track together? We get that as the cherry on top. “Black Lip Bastard (Rmx)” perks you right back up after the heaviness of the entire album and reminds you why you love their music. Overall, this is an amazingly deep and well thought out album. If you listen to music for the lyrics and meaning, you are golden. If you listen to music just to dance to in the club, you need to go elsewhere. Ab-Soul is a true thinker and that is rare in today’s music scene. I highly recommend this album to anyone who wants a true journey through an artist’s mind.