Ab-Soul Bares His Soul In An Extremely Personal New Video
In “Evil Genius” off his 2016 album Do What Thou Wilt, Ab-Soul says “I study theology, ancient philosophy, astronomy, astrology,” and in its video released today (February 3), all of those topics and then some appear. However, it’s actually two highly conceptual storylines interwoven into one and is his most personal video to date. It’s the latest in a string of visually striking videos supporting the album, which includes the radical imagery of “Huey Knew,” the dark and brooding “D.R.U.G.S.,” and the raucous “RAW (backwards).”
For “Evil Genius” (which features Teedra Moses & Javonté), Soulo has created a shadowy visual in which symbolic imagery and live-action sequences form a complex pastiche. It’s the kind of video in which work from Leonardo DaVinci exists side-by-side with a shot of T.D.E.’s XXL cover, where the darkness of a room allows for one of the rare moments in which the Carson, California rapper is able to be comfortably without his protective shades. Shattered pieces of memories paint the picture of a burdened psyche, with glimpses of love, neglect, and ruin all serving as themes in the Yellow Nguyen & Moosa-directed clip. By its end, Ab-Soul is at a cemetery in what may well be the most vulnerable scene in any video of his career.
In fact, as he shared in an interview with GQ, Ab-Soul lost a girlfriend to suicide in 2012, and the video is an homage to her. “That was my first time visiting her since the ceremony,” he says of the cemetery scene. “My idea was that I’d bring the world with me this time. She was the world to me. I’ve been told “You make the world better,” and now I know what it feels like to have the world taken from me. I can attest to that. So that was an opportunity for me to come back and show her what we’ve done, what we’ve created.”
As he told GQ, the darker parts for “Evil Genius” are also inspired by true events. His childhood home recently burned down and in it, he lost memorabilia of his late girlfriend. Of the video, Ab-Soul says “I wanted people to see the silver lining in it too, though. It’s a dark record of course, but I want my people to see the triumph, to see me moving forward. It’s not something that I can forget, or get over, but I can be strong and live on, let her live through me.”