Monday, April 21, 2014

"Tree of Life"- Ab-Soul

"Breathe easy," Black Hippy member Ab-Soul stutters over the whooshing airplane intro of his latest release "Tree of Life". As a musical commandment, it's nearly impossible to keep. Even more than fellow Hippies Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul is absolutely suffocating. By the time the assonance-heavy "It's my turn, Mr. LongTerm of turmoil
I'm holdin' up the terminal takin' flicks," fully uncoils you're left breathless on the floor clawing skyward for any sort of relief. Similar to efforts from the Wu's headiest member GZA, an Ab-Soul track is a subtle barrage. The jibing "I got most of you mothaf****s stumped, rap like I go to church with work in the trunk," feels like a wild flail until later in the day when you spot a redwood-sized welt on your chest.

In truth, much of the foliage-centered "Tree of Life" has a writhing-quality to it. Frequent collaborator Curtiss King's hollowed out boom-bap provides Soul with ample room to flex and he explores every corner of the shadowy production. He shuffles from the Travelodge to the W "just to shower," a terrific humblebrag elucidating the long distance he's traveled in a short amount of time and what the trip now affords him. Venturing down another one of Soul's backroads, we see him mixing enough lean to "give Sprite's stock a boost." And in that subdued state, Ab-Soul's caught thumbing through "Benjamins" while pondering "photosynthesis." He's so hyper-focused that Joey Bada$$'s "world domination" interlude drifts by as a relative afterthought. "I hope you get the analogy," Ab-Soul wishes near the end. If anyone does, it won't be easy.

"Tree of Life" may appear on Ab-Soul's upcoming Longterm 3 mixtape.

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