Ab Soul These Days... Ab Soul These Days...

Interview: Where Is Ab-Soul These Days...?

Ab Soul These Days...

Ab-Soul is so chill, he gives you a contact by sparking a convo. His cucumber cool is contagious. The 27-year-old TDE titan with the huge halo of hair is on a constant mission to get us lyrically lifted, and with the recent release of his debut opus, the uber-anticipated These Days…, he's already elevated Black Hippie's collective high. —Shanel Odum

VIBE: Congrats on the release of 'These Days...'
Ab-Soul: Yeah, there should be something on there for everybody.

Honestly, you had me worried with that Tweet about leaking the album before your release date.
That tweet wasn't a shot at TDE, it was just a response to my audience—I don’t like to say fans. If you looked at my comments at that time, I couldn’t tweet anything. They’d be like. 'Shut the fuck up, Soul. Get back in the studio.' There wasn’t an internal issue. I turned in two albums at the top of the year. The project didn’t come together for whatever reason on the business end and we just felt like I could have done more with this one. So we took more time on it, expanded it and made it a masterpiece.

Photo Credits: VIBE, Jade Anderson and Adrian Hunter

 

See Also: "10 Things to Learn From Ab Soul's 'These Days'"

Ab Soul These Days...

What is your favorite track to perform?
If I had to choose, “Just Have Fun” is probably the most profound record on there. It’s a two-part song. The second part is the title track, “These Days.” That song is a great representation of my opinion right now. We talk a lot about drugs and wildin’ out. The song before that is “Twacked.” If I tell you to get twacked, I mean get twacked responsibly.

Do you think there’s a lot of pressure on you considering the success of your cohorts Kendrick and Q?
I feel like I’m a fan too. I know what’s dope and what’s not. I grew up in a record store. I have an ear for music that sticks with people and resonates. When you have that, pressure’s nothing. Pressure’s going to bust a pipe or make a diamond.

What’s Ab-Soul listening to these days?
I’m really interested in the new generation of rap. Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era, H’z Global, Da$h and RetcH, Chance the Rapper, the SaveMoney clique, Vic Mensa; just a lot of new breeds. I’m 27; these guys are like 21, 23. That’s just amazing to me. I walk around with these guys and I feel 23. That’s very refreshing. I feel like the world is moving faster.

 Ab Soul These Days...

Have you ever blanked out on stage?
Believe it or not that happens sometimes. You just got to laugh it off. The show must go on.

Have you ever been fired?
I was fired by my mother from the record shop for stealing. Theft. I was stealing out the change box. Cash. I really stole from my moms. They had rolls of coins and the singles in the cash box, so I used to take a couple of singles off the top.

How long did your family have the record store?
I had a cradle in the record store. My family is responsible for all the VIP stores in L.A., in Long Beach where Snoop started, where the Eastsiders’ video was shot. My family is a big part of the independent record labels in the L.A.

Ab Soul These Days...


Where’s Ab going these days?
To the moon. Nah, I’m just trying to get overseas. I’m trying to get to Europe. I’ve been all around the country, I’ve been to Canada, I’ve been to Amsterdam, but I haven’t been to Europe. I want to go to Africa. I want to see the rest of the world. That’s where I’m hoping to go with this one.

Where’s your favorite place to be alone these days?
Anywhere I am alone, feel me? I just like to chill. I’m all peace. I just like to chill and reflect, meditate. I could chill anywhere. This is a real cool spot to just chill right here. I love Mother Nature.

Do you have a favorite city or venue that you love to visit?
Not for nothing, it’s an honor to be out here in New York—respected, accepted. This is where it all started. It’s an honor to be coming from LA and be welcomed here; that’s amazing. It’s overwhelming. I was talking to Envy at his show and he was like, 'New York is such a difficult crowd.' It’s crazy, because I didn’t even know that—I’ve been welcomed and accepted that well.

Ab Soul These Days...

What’s your favorite thing to sip on these days?
The drink that I’ve been grabbing more is the Energy Vitamin Water. It's replenishing. I smoke a lot, so I've got to hydrate and water’s just too plain. You don’t want to walk around with this nicotine breath; you want some flavor and some taste in your mouth.

What is Ab-Soul eating these days?
Everything. I was eating a protein bar earlier, but I’m not a vegan. I’m an optimistic person. I’m open to try new things. I still eat my mom and grandma’s pork chops.

Ab Soul These Days...

You've got quite the crown. Your 'fro is almost as big as SZA's. Vixens want to know about your hair regimen.
This is all God’s work. My aunty washes my hair a couple times a month. It’s fresh right now so it’s straight, but as it curls up it’s going to look a lot like SZA’s.

Are you ever going to cut your hair?
I had short hair the majority of my life. I grew it out when I was a senior. I don’t ever want to cut it. When you’re growing, there’s this mid point when you can’t do anything with it. It’s too much to tie up and too big to just leave it. After that, I was like, 'I’m chopping it.' Then something told me to just grow it. When I started growing it again, I started hearing more about hair and the importance of it and how it can be your receptor. That gave me confirmation that I needed to keep this mane. I considered dreading my hair when I was growing it, but a customer at the record store I was working at did dreads and said my hair’s too fine. I’d have to put some extra stuff in it to do it right.

Ab Soul These Days...

Who are you loving these days?
I’ve been dancing around this very beautiful woman named Yaris Sanchez. She’s a very wise, beautiful, young lady. She’s been showing me around New York. I can’t catch no cab, but they don’t ever pass her up. Ever. It’s a beautiful thing. She’s Dominican, so that’s more culture I’m getting. In LA it’s just Mexicans, so this is a new dynamic of Spanish for me. Shout out to the Dalai Mama. We’ve been tight for a couple years now.

If your sex life were a song, what would it be called?
[sings] 'These are the makings of you, the righteous way to go...'

What’s you favorite way to approach a woman?
'Say, sunshine...' I don’t have a set thing. I’m a people person, so I just vibe. I know what to say the first time I meet anybody.

Biggest turn-off?
Unconscious ignorance. If you are aware that you’re being ignorant, that’s tight. If you’re unconscious of being ignorant, it’s kind of sad.

Ab Soul These Days...

Your first fan moment…
Like everyone else, I was in love with Michael Jackson. As a child, that was probably my first fan out. I graduated from my high school “Most Likely to Become a Star.”

First love?
I really fell in love for the first time in sixth grade. Kim Sandra.

First fake rumor?
‘Smokes too much weed, that’s why his lips are black.’ It’s a misconception. That’s why I’m the Black Lip Pastor.

First splurge?
Splurged on some weed. I got an ounce as soon as I could.

Ab Soul These Days...

What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
Don’t cut your hair.

Who designs your favorite frames?
My favorites are Gazelles. I need big frames. I have all types of shades.

Last app you downloaded?
Hot 97

Most rebellious moment?
Objecting going to Sunday school to my mother. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I grew up in a Christian church. Once I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, I just went left.

Tell me one un-Google-able fact about you.
I wear a size 8 ½ shoe. The myth isn’t true.

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Andrea Kelly Says She's Been Attacked For Calling Out R. Kelly's Behavior

Andrea Kelly has found it hard to march for women as they continue to support her polarizing ex-husband, R. Kelly.

The former choreographer shared her sentiments on an upcoming episode of Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta shared on Entertainment Tonight. Speaking with close friend Debra Antney, Kelly tearfully expressed her frustrations with her ex-husband and praised Antey for sticking by her side.

The former couple was previously in a child support battle for their children Joann, 21, Jay, 19, and Robert, 17. During the time of filming, Kelly owed $161,000 in back child support to his ex. In May, it was reportedly paid off by a mysterious donor.

"When I think about the ways that I have been abused by Robert, from being hogtied, having both of my shoulders dislocated, to being slapped, pushed, having things thrown as me, the sexual abuse, the mental abuse, words can't even describe," she said.

In addition to the child support case, Kelly was charged with 11 felony counts of sexual assault. He's pleaded not guilty despite reported evidence of videotapes that reportedly show the entertainer engaging in sexual acts with minors. Andrea tells Antey how difficult the process has been for her since speaking out about Kelly's behavior in the Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly. 

"Here I am, putting myself in a position because I want to help women, and they are attacking me," she said. "There's some things that I don't even speak anymore, that I feel like, once you give it to God, you better leave with God, because if I don't leave it with God, I'm definitely going to be somewhere with my hands on the glass, visiting my children every other Sunday."

Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WEtv.

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Baby Tress' Edge Styler Ensures Women Of Color Will Always Shake The Beauty Table

"Do you have edge control in here?"

It's an inquiry my niece asked me over the weekend as we got ready for our cousin's graduation. Atlanta's heat is friendly but mixed with nimbus clouds, frizz (and thunderstorms) are on the horizon. Given the circumstances, a high bun seems to be the best choice for me and my niece, a slick-back style with extra attention to our baby hairs. It's typical for either one of us to grab a toothbrush to slick and swoop our edges with pomade or gel, but with The Baby Tress Edge Styler, the process is easier and equally as stylish.

Created by boutique communications agency Mama Tress, the styler is everything baby hair dreams are made of. It's also a testament to the rise of the "style" in popular hair culture. With a dual comb and brush top, its pointed tip elevates a consumer to baby hair connoisseur.

But the styler isn't something created to appropriate black culture or piggyback on what boosts the most likes on social media. The handy styler was created by Mama Tress CEO Hannah Choi and her team consisting of other women of color like public relations coordinator Mariamu "Mimi" Sillah. The New York native tells VIBE Vixen the styler was made as a gift for an event they hosted but its intentions to propel black hair were always present.

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Many have attributed the actual rise of baby hairs to the '70s with pioneers like LaToya Jackson and Sylvia Robinson of CEO Sugar Hill Records sporting their luxurious edges with Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas being the all-time queen. Recent entertainers like Ella Mai and FKA twigs have made them fun and creative. There are also the many Latinx and black around the way queens who have kept the culture alive.

 

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A post shared by Ebony Brown (@wildcatebonybrown) on Jun 3, 2019 at 1:31pm PDT

“Our tool is more than a beauty product, it’s a conversation starter," Choi, who is of Korean descent, previously told fashion site Beauty Independent. "There are nuances of someone’s world that you won’t see if you’re not part of that community. And we felt that the conversation around why this market is so underserved should be brought to light and talked about. We are seeing such a big change now in fashion and beauty in terms of representation, and we want to be able to have that conversation without it being heavy. We want it to be approachable. Our brand is very approachable.”

When it comes to moving in the black hair space, Sillah feels empowered at Mama Tress. It also makes it easy to develop black hair tools like the styler. "I feel like my voice is listened to because I am a consumer of all these things. It's empowering to be in a position to have more control," she said. "If we're being honest, a lot of the black hair spaces are not owned by people who look like us. To be in a position where I can say "No, don't create this product, we don't wear things like this,' or 'Actually you should name it this because this resonates with this community,' I'm an advocate for my community. That's part of the reason why Baby Tress was created because it's about a larger conversation, about things not being thoughtfully made for us."

Baby Tress' next steps are to make the styler accessible to consumers and create even more products dedicated to black women.

“We need to be in retail spaces because this is a product you need to see up close and touch it and play with it,” said Shannon Kennard, account executive at Mama Tress tells Glossy. “Everyone who tries it falls in love with it.”

Sillah is more than ready for women of color to elevate their beauty regimen, one creation at a time. The future of Baby Tress includes an array of more products designed with women of color in mind.

"Anything that has to do with baby hair, we can bring to Baby Tress and make it beautifully designed and effective," she said.  "That's what this is about. It's about that step up. Again, we should not be using a toothbrush anymore."

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Beyonce Readies New Line And Serves As Muse For 'Lion King' Makeup Collection

Beyonce is keeping her fans quite busy this week. Yesterday (June 4), the latest trailer for the forthcoming The Lion King live action film gave the masses a first listen of Beyonce as the voice of Nala. To add on to the Disney film's energy, Beyonce's longtime makeup artist Sir John has revealed a special Lion King makeup partnership.

According to The Cut, Disney's Sir John x Luminess Lion King Limited Edition Collection includes "a 6-shade sculpting palette, a 12-shade eyeshadow palette, two matte lipsticks, two liquid lipsticks, a tinted lip balm, and a highlighter." Neutrals, pinks and shimmer jewel tones are all named after characters and other movie references, with various women (including Beyonce) modeling the new work.

 

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From day to night, statement or muted.. I love that there’s so many different looks you can create with this 8 piece collection 🙌🏽 I’ll be posting a few tutorials this month to show you guys some really cool things you can do with these products. & be sure to check out #TheLionKing in theaters July 19!  #DisneyLionKing #SirJohn #LuminessCosmetics

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No filters needed ⚠️ Can’t Wait To Be Queen Eyeshadow Palette working that good light 👑✨ #TheLionKingCollectionbySirJohnXLuminess #SirJohn #LuminessCosmetics

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While that was happening, Bey also caused a stir amongst the BeyHive with the announcement of her own forthcoming merch line. The "BeyHive" range officially hits her website on June 11, right in time for all the summertime functions.

Beyoncé's new "beyhive" range has been sent to several members of the BeyHive is promotion of her new merch line, launching June 11. https://t.co/zIkzJ9B8Qq pic.twitter.com/Ql9yWXKNDR

— BEYONCÉ HUB (@theyoncehub) June 5, 2019

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