Ab-Soul Has Released A New Song And It’s His Best In Years
Ab-Soul has been very quiet for the last several years. The Carson, California MC released his last album, Do As Thou Wilt, in 2016, and prior to that he had not released a full-length project since 2014. There have been scant songs since then, but his output has been few and far between. His only release in 2022, “Hollandaise,” was lost in the sauce, perhaps amidst news around his labelmate Kendrick Lamar’s looming departure from Top Dawg Entertainment and the imminent arrival of Kendrick’s long anticipated new album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. Overall, Soul has been a lacking voice for his many core fans who consider him to be the sharpest lyricist of his Black Hippie collective, consisting of Kendrick, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and Soul.
Apparently, Ab-Soul, himself, has also been conscious of his absence and today (October 21), it seems he’s on a mission to change that narrative. With “Do Better,” the man born Herbert Stevens IV, has released his best song in years, and one of the finest of his catalog. In the video for the song, shot in black and white to convey a sort of introspection and timelessness, Soulo is first shown speaking into his phone dictating self-aware musings about his current mindstate. He says “The know it all that’s always wrong, but I be claiming that I’m advanced. This is my second, second chance.”
Ab-Soul Releases His First Song Of 2022
As the song commences, we see a close-up of Ab-Soul floating through the air. Within seconds, we realize that he has just jumped from a building and is seemingly plunging to his death. Throughout the video, Soul’s descent is shown in slow motion, with intermittent flashbacks of events in his life that led to his moment. The visuals closely align with the introspective and somewhat mournful lyrics of the song.
In the first verse, Ab-Soul raps, “Said, I gotta do better, I gotta do better, I gotta / Pick up the pieces and master the puzzle upon us / Look the man in the mirror in the eye and be honest / Slow down time, get back in line with my chakras / Reach for the galaxy, leave stardust for thus after me / Into the void, fill in the cavity / Risk the reward if that’s how it has to be / I gotta do better, I gotta do better, I gotta do / Everything in my power to try to do what God would do.”
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In verse 2, Soul gets more specific about what’s been happening in his life during his absence, rapping “Feel like I can flip at any moment / Faces playin’ and it’s f*ckin’ with me / Doin’ drugs, was just a war with boredom, but it’s sure to get me / Lord forgive me / Wear the crown of thorns for sport, I’m just waitin’ for a stone to hit me / Uh, relationship on the rocks, my family all concerned / My homie still on the block, gettin’ it off the the curb / I’m stickin’ my survivor’s guilt, I’m gettin’ it off of words / Come on Herb.” Soul’s reference to wearing a crown of thorns for sport, is an interesting turn of words, given the recent choice of headgear by Kendrick Lamar, with the rollout of Mr. Morale. At the end of the video we see the visuals rewind to Ab-Soul rising back to his perch atop the building, seemingly being resurrected and given a new chance at life. Soul’s final words are “I’m just grateful that I’m here man. I’m grateful that I’m alive to share my testimony. I wanna make this clear. I’m laughing because I’ve cried enough… cried enough about it. So I’m choosing to laugh now, because I’m here I’m standing tall and I’m grateful. So that’s how I’m choosing, I’m doing the work.”
With the announcement of Kendrick Lamar’s departure from TDE, some suspected the eventual demise of the record label that many considered to be the greatest of the 2010s. “Do Better” shows that the storied record company has much left in the chamber, and is simply entering into a new chapter. Perhaps Soul’s song title is a mantra for the entire squad.
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#BonusBeat: Ab-Soul’s “Do Better” is the latest addition to Ambrosia For Heads’ weekly updated Spotify playlist. It joins new music from Freddie Gibbs Jay Z, Jadakiss, Cormega and Nas, Black Thought and Danger Mouse, Mac Miller, Roc Marciano, and many more. Take a listen, and subscribe if you like what you hear.