L.A. based Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) is blessed to have a young and talented roster of spittas that are collectively known as Black Hippy. Consisting of rising star Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul, popular rap writer Noz even called them the new Hieroglyphics on his Tumblr. The tag makes sense once you consider their diverse styles, verbal dexterity, and lyrical clarity. Arguably, bar for bar, the most passionate and skilled of the collective is Carson City rep Ab-Soul. His first for purchase digital release LongTerm Mentality is strong collection of songs that display not only Ab-Soul’s topical and rhythmic diversity, but also that of Top Dawg’s production stable.
Following the lead of Kendrick’s Overly Dedicated and Schoolboy’s Setbacks, LongTerm Mentality is a mixed bag of rappity-rap stream of conscious rap (full of “ohh shit, you hear that” moments), placed alongside introspective jawns, party jams, street songs, and the occasional experimental track. At times the diversity of sound and topics can make for a schizophrenic affair, but the way in which Ab moves within the styles makes one feel the album is not littered with an artist searching for himself, but rather one who is comfortable in exploring different themes, even if he fails at times.
“Nothing New” produced by Aayhasis is a smooth strings loop that finds Ab-Soul nimbly proclaiming why he is a young rhyme king. Later Ab and p-n-c Kendrick get their lyrical porno on with “Moscato”, produced by on the rising monster Tae Beats. This bluesy-jazz affair will easily find that Kush gettin’ lit when it thumps through speakers. Tae’s production claims center stage once again with the clicky-clicky-clack throwback “Time Is of The Essence”, featuring Punch who along with Ab bare their inner thought and aspirations through the idea of time slipping away. Though not without error LongTerm Mentality is an album with great moments that exhibits a young artist struggling to get his name out to the public while staying dedicated and true to his art. LTM is new rap blood that should be digested by fans old and young.