Ab-Soul’s These Days… was influenced by various emcees. In a XXL profile of the TDE emcee’s work on his latest release, Ab-Soul breaks down the rappers that impacted him on this album, including Drake.
“I’m a big fan of Drake in general,” Soul says. “I think after listening to my album and revisiting Drake’s album, I see subconsciously he said ‘these days’ a lot in that album. I’m thinking subconsciously that was a lot of my inspiration. A lot of my innovation came from that…I think Drake’s album is a lot similar to mine. It’s just a time capsule of how things are working or are not working. For him, you would think Drake is this big superstar celebrity and everything is all good. I feel like he tried to show that real life happens, too, when you’re not there. When you’re not listening and he’s singing on the song. Or he’s out ballin’ or whatever, he goes through real things too off camera. I think in that right, I think tried to do that too.”
Jay Z is another emcee Ab-Soul says he was influenced by on These Days...
“I’m on Jay’s head a lot,” Soul says. “And to be honest with you, too, the reason why I don’t feel a certain way about referencing Jay, why I feel a lot of power in doing that [is ’cause of] how he references Biggie a lot. To keep him alive…This is my way of re-instilling where I got this. Don’t think I’m the first person that came up with this; I got this from Jay and I’m expounding on it. You say a Big verse, I’m only bigging up my brother. You say a Jay verse; I’m only bigging up my brother. I’m not a biter.”
Lupe Fiasco is another rapper listed in this XXL piece, which was crafted by Eric Diep.
“[Lupe Fiasco] actually now a mentor of mine, now that I know him personally,” Soul says. “Of course, I am an avid Lupe follower. I hold it dear to the concepts that he presents and the ideas that he was into. It’s all to provoke thought. I like when people oppose. I like people to talk about it. I don’t want everybody to just say ‘Yes.’ If you don’t like this, if you don’t agree with this, say it. Speak on it. I think he tries to create that domain…We didn’t make ‘World Runners’ in the studio in particular. I sent that one to him. We cut three records, total. The other two we did together, ‘Thorns & Horns’ is out. That one came out and then I have this one on my album and I should be featured on his album [Tetsuo & Youth]. Lupe’s a real disciplined and militant guy. He doesn’t drink or smoke, or there won’t be bad bitches in the studio. He’s in there and he’s working. When you get in, he’s vibing. He’s doing something. He’s not just hanging out, which is what I like. I don’t like to go in the studio and have a party.”
Puff Daddy, Migos, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Rick Ross are also listed in the Diep piece. To read more about the influences on Ab-Soul’s project, visit XXL.