Top Dawg Entertainment welcomed the artist Herbert Anthony Stevens IV, better known as Ab-Soul, back in 2007 when he was only 20 years young. The Carson, California artist is best known for his introspective lyrics which encourage examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings. Since his signing to TDE, Ab-Soul has endured the loss of his soulmate, Alori Joh, who committed suicide in early February 2012. Alori Joh was in fact an artist herself and since her passing, Ab-Soul has featured vocals of hers on tracks such as “Empathy” which released in May of 2012.
Although Ab-Soul was raised in Carson, California, he was born in Los Angeles on Feb. 23rd, 1987. Soul lived in Los Angeles for a split second until his father’s military reassignment. His father was sent to be stationed in Germany which caused his family to relocate. Around the age of 4 years old, Soul’s parents split. Subsequently, he and his mom returned back to the states to live with his grandmother in Carson, California.
At the age of 10, Soul contracted a virus called Stevens-Johnson syndrome. This is a rare but serious disorder that severely affects the skin and mucous membranes.This disorder is the origination of Ab-Soul’s light-sensitive eyes (hence the shades) and his dark lips. Soul has expressed that growing up he was teased for his skin and dark lips, but those who cared for him attempted to treat him as if nothing were different.
Soul began crafting his rap skills at an early age in a world called BlackPlanet freestyle chat. Artists had the opportunity to connect with other artists around the planet, however, instead of spitting freestyles, they were typing them! Soul’s first written verse was at age 12 to a Twista instrumental titled “Emotions”. He continued to develop his bars as he progressed through high school. After graduating and at the age of 18, Soul signed an independent 2-year recording contract with StreetBeat Entertainment. He also joined a rap group alongside Brooklyn rapper, Snake Hollywood; they called themselves Area 51. Soul attempted to juggle his music career and obtaining a degree at a local community college, however, he dropped out of two separate semesters. His attendance to class was equivalent to half a semester, he figured it was in his best interest to follow his passion and pursue a full-time music career.
While still under contract with StreetBeat Entertainment, Soul met Terrence Henderson, better known as Punch. Punch was then and still is the President and Chairman of Top Dawg Entertainment. In 2006, Punch and Soul began speaking business on welcoming him to the TDE family. Soul exclaimed that he was drawn to Punch because he “saw more in his music than metaphors and punchlines.” Soul began working with TDE before his official signing to the label in 2007. He appeared in projects of his TDE comrades K-Dot and Jay Rock before is debut mixtape in 2009 titled Longterm. 2009 also marked the creation of TDE supergroup “Black Hippy” which is composed of Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock and said to be the N.W.A. of today. As of now, in 2017, we have received two installments to Soul’s four-part Longterm series. We have also received four albums from Soul since his signing to TDE as well as two world tours. Ab-Soul has cited a few of his influences to be Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, Canibus, Twista, and Lupe Fiasco.
Longterm Mentality (Aprill 2011)
Control System (May 2012)
These Days… (June 2014)
Do What Thou Wilt. (December 2016)