Ab-Soul Says Struggle Has "Always Been Marketable" In Hip Hop
While speaking on the segregation he feels currently exists between races, the rapper brought up fellow artist, Mac Miller. He revealed that Miller isn’t the “white boy who thinks he’s cool enough” to use the n-word and added that despite being white, Miller still releases music with a lot of pain in it.
“I really don’t like to segregate the black dynamic. I think this is a struggle that everybody is faced with,” Ab-Soul said. “I recorded most of my album, These Days… at Mac Miller’s house. It’s a white boy who won’t say ‘nigga.’ He’s not that guy. He’s not that white boy who thinks he’s cool enough…There’s a lot of pain in his music too. It’s a lot of things that he goes through too that I can relate with. And I don’t want to make it seem like this is a black issue. This is a white issue. This is this type of issues. I want to just—It’s an issue. And it’s for all of us. We can all relate…We have more in common than we all think. And we can really break that down for hours.”
Prior to speaking on race and racism, Ab-Soul was asked how he feels about living in a culture that can at times be spiritually and emotionally void. According to the rapper, it’s his purpose and desire to create that keeps him going.
He also clarified that he’s not attempting to be a professor or anything similar, but instead wants to provoke thought among people.
“Purpose. I just kind of feel like I have a purpose,” he said. “It’s something that’s driving me to stay alive and want people to want to stay alive and evolve, progress. And be aware that all we’re doing is recreating. We’re creatures, creators. You feel what I’m saying? So, that’s all we’re here to do. And we should all be aware of that…Thus far, the message has been trying to find the message. If that makes sense. Cause I don’t want to act like—I don’t want to act as if I just—I know it all. You know what I mean? It’s still a lot to learn. And I never wanna take—Act like I’m a professor or something of that nature. But I’m still learning and just trying to raise these types of questions. Open these doors to provoke those type of thoughts.”
Ab-Soul was also asked about the pain and struggle of inner city life being capitalized on in music. He says those aspects of music have “always been marketable” and shared that Hip Hop is about “overcoming a struggle.”
“It’s always been marketable,” Soul said. “It’s always been something to package and sell. All your favorite emcees that you can claim right now probably came from poverty. Or a conflict of some sort to overcome. Just like every great book…And that’s what we’re all doing. The majority of the guys in Hip Hop, which is young still. I think it represents overcoming a struggle—‘I can do this and I’ve been through that too.’ So, that’s not an excuse.”
Ab-Soul’s interview with Peter Bailey can be found below.