As part of the Black Hippy crew, with Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock, Ab-Soul has been one of the fastest growing names in US hip-hop but while his involvement with the supergroup has helped build him a name, he has been largely forgotten on the international scene due to his fellow band mates proving to be more of a draw them him. But now with a third album under his belt, Ab-Soul is once again bringing out the game that allowed him to rub shoulders with such illustrious company and deliver an album of bitting prose and high-energy beats.
Although that is what you would have hoped from an MC of his calibre, but considering the huge leaps that rap music and rappers have made in the last few years, 'These Days...' just doesn't have the appeal you would have hoped for. While Lamar and Schoolboy made an impression with instantly identifiable productions on their last two albums, Ab-Soul just doesn't have the same knock-you-back-on-your-heels kind of sound and ultimately winds up just sounding like any other tried and forgotten rapper of the last five years. While there is absolutely nothing bad to say about the man's flow, the album itself just plods along with no signs of highlights or stand-out moments that make you stop and play through a second time.
He is clearly a talented rapper but seems to lack that commercial edge that his compadres have taken on board in order to create music that helps to resonate amongst a wider audience. In the end, he has an album that I wouldn't want to listen to again.