Now I'm normally on an album for a review almost as soon as an album drops if not before but I haven't been able to really dig into this Ab Soul album the way that I need to and I have listened to it enough to know it's at the very least a decent album. Ab Soul is yet another member of the West Coast powerhouse known as TDE which includes Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, and Schoolboy Q who have all released albums. While Ab Soul had been anticipated, the actual release date of the album was closely guarded until it dropped. Now that it's out here is my album review of "These Days".
The album starts off with a title track that features Sza, another labelmate, and though it isn't called 'These Days' the phrase is an important refrain in what is titled "God's Reign". On the track he puts forth what kind of artist he is, introspective yet still centered with street common sense and logic. On the song he talks about dropping knowledge as well as bucking some conventions. Schoolboy Q features on "Hunnid Stax" which is about the chase for the paper. "Twact" takes things to the Bay Area with Jinx and Short Dawg on some living and partying Hyphy flavored music.
"Nevermind That" with Rick Ross has a slow tempo and Ab-Soul uses a variety of flows and techniques on the song before Ross drops a decent verse. The song is unorthodox but it's still slick and laid back. Lupe Fiasco and Nikki perform on "World Runners" which shows Ab's diversity and ability to cover different areas of modern hiphop. It's of course a thought provoking song encouraging accomplishment and not settling. Then things get dark on "Stigmata" with Action Bronson and Asaad.
Solo, Ab Soul does have songs like "Tree of Life" which samples Eric B. and Rakim's 'Paid in Full' and gives it a new spin as Ab spits about traveling around to get the money to enjoy life. "Dub Sac" is about how things haven't changed for Ab. "Just Have Fun" is a smokers anthem. I'm not feeling "Sapiosexual". "Closure" is cool, and there is also a Kendrick Lamar interlude where he drops some bars before the track turns into a jazzy throwback to the early 90's in hip-hop. Danny Brown and Delusional feature on "Ride Slow" which is a track that everyone won't just gravitate to but the bars on this song are serious. My dude Jay Rock gets his feature on "Feelin Us" along with Ravaughn on the chorus.
At the end of the day Ab Soul can really rap and he has some solid song concepts and it fits in with what TDE has brought us so far. Each album has fit together by being of a distinct personality yet they exist in the same world together. It's like a well done book. Now this is a good album in the way it's constructed and nothing is out of place or too weird but it's really gloomy and oppressive. It could use some type of balance or high notes and brightness (sounds like describing a plate of food) because the album kind of swallows you into it. It is very moody and atmospheric and can be a good listen in certain circumstances but I couldn't see this getting to be in my regular rotation. However, in today's Ipod generation, the songs will be good scattered amongst the rest of your playlists.