Ab-Soul is an American rapper from Carson, California. Ab-Soul grew up in a record store his parents owned, and credits much of his musical knowledge to this experience. He points to Nas, Jay Z, and Eminem as being his biggest influences– pushing him into a rap career. He also credits his rapping skills to BlackPlanet freestyle chat, a site where people freestyle over text, sometimes known as “key-styling.” Ab Soul recorded his first song in 2002, and his most recent album, Do What Thou Wilt, was released in 2016. Do What Thou Wilt includes features from award winning artists such as School Boy Q, Rapsody, SZA, Mac Miller, and more.
On May 24th, on the last legs of his West Coast YMF (young mind f***) tour, Ab-Soul stopped by the Catalyst to spit some bars in the atrium and chat with KZSC DJs Kaviar and Jinx for a bit. Peep the interview below!
Kaviar & Jinx: Thanks for meeting with us! Great show.
Soul: Of course, of course.
Kaviar: So tell us a bit about Do What Thou Wilt. That’s a satanic reference, yeah?
Soul: Nah, It’s not Satanic. It’s a quote by Aleister Crowley. He’s saying that the righteous will remain righteous and the filthy will remain filthy. And love is the law, love is always the law.
Kaviar: So do you think people are redeemable then?
Soul: Of course, everybody’s redeemable. It’s just a word isn’t it? I make a lot of money off of words, I believe in them.
Jinx: Alright, alright. Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings doing internet rap battles? Did that shape who you are as a rapper today?
Soul: Sure. That was really the groundwork for what I do now. Like that was actual writing you know? It was my journalism at the time. It was a large part of– at that time, which had to be like 2002 or something– the biggest thing more than anything was vernacular. Everyone was trying to get the best rhymes, you know? That’s definitely where I perfected that.
Kaviar: Do you think that the written word is different from the spoken word?
Soul: Certainly– can you say “hate” out of “love” ?
Soul: yeah, that’s right I’d like to see you try that. YMF. (ab souls coined term meaning “young mind f***”).*laughing* You have just been YMF’d.
Kaviar: Alright, I like that. I’m gonna keep that with me.
Soul: But yeah, going back on it, Aleister Crowley is not a satanist. He’s a Crowliest, he was trying to start his own thing. And Jesus is my idol, just sayin’
Kaviar: Alright we’ll have to do some more research. On another note, your couch talk with Princess Nokia.
Soul: nice. She’s great.
Kaviar: Oh yeah, that’s one of my favorite pieces of art I’ve ever seen, let alone artist on artist interview.
Soul: YESS! I had no idea she was so….soo…
Kaviar: She is awakened.
Soul: Oh yeah, she is awakened. My girl is big with like Allure magazine you know what I’m saying, it’s important that we do a lot more female publications. All the marches and stuff you know, it’s really important. It’s the time, you know, I was rooting for Hillary ‘cause it was the time for the divine female. It’s the time.
Kaviar: Hell yeah
Jinx: So I’m curious with your strong feelings about the importance of feminine energy in hip hop, what’s your take on the word b*****? Do you feel like it’s been reclaimed?
Soul: Right, “b****”– it’s just like the word “n****.” I mean if you was my girl, you’d be my b****. And you’d like it, you know.
Jinx: hmmm okay
Soul: But if I were to say, “b***** get the f*** out my face” then not so much.
Jinx: yeah definitely not.
Soul: exactly, you’d be like “who you callin’ b*****?” you know what I’m saying? It’s all about the way you say it with words like that. Like I said, you can’t say hate out of love. Again, it’s about more than just what it spells. But you know, I’m still doing the research, I’m still learning, trying to figure it all out.
Kaviar: we’re all learning and unlearning!
Jinx: Well we’ll let you go. Thanks for meeting with us! And again incredible show.
Soul: of course! It was great meeting you too, lots of love.
from left to right: DJ Lyzard, Jinx, Ab-Soul, & DJ Kaviar