Ab-Soul sits back in his chair: cool, calm and collected. It’s been over a month since the release of These Days… and the heavy rounds of promotional-filled days have dwindled down. By now, the reviews have circulated, the fans have made their ultimate decision and the self-proclaimed “Black Lip Pastor” has had a moment to take it all in.

“How was it not Control System 2?” he blurts out in the middle of the interview.

Growing up in his family’s record store in Carson, California, Soulo was surrounded by stacks of carefully packaged sounds. In those days, Ab-Soul, Black Hippy’s second youngest member, had the chance to absorb every detail of the albums that lined the walls, from cover to concept, colors and fonts. Growing up in his family's record store made him meticulous with his own presentation. His themes, artwork and minute details even down to the tracklists were made with reason. Contrary to what people may think, These Days… was not a mockery. He makes that clear. The title is literal. It’s what he believes these days sound like, but of course, every ear is different.

As he sits across the room, religious icons in stained glass colors stare back off the front of his shirt. Soul, who interpreted one of the most famous religious scenes for his album art, knows that it’s too early for These Days… to be understood.

“I’ma let you all sit down and dissect the movie,” he says. “You know it’s a great one, like Inception. You’re not done watching Inception yet. You’re just not.”

Ab-Soul Challenges “Control System” Fans To Grow With Him