Control System
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Control System
Control System
Studio album by Ab-Soul
Released May 11, 2012
Recorded 2011-2012
TDE Recording Studio: House of Pain
(Carson, California)
Genre Hip hop
Length 71:44
Label Top Dawg Entertainment
Ab-Soul chronology
Longterm Mentality
Control System
These Days...

Control System is the second studio album by American rapper Ab-Soul. It was released on May 11, 2012, by Top Dawg Entertainment. The album features guest appearances from Jhené Aiko, Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, BJ the Chicago Kid, Kendrick Lamar, JaVonte, Punch, Ashtrobot and vocals from the late Alori Joh. The album's production was handled by Digi+Phonics, King Blue, Nez & Rio, Skhye Hutch, Curtiss King, Aahyasis, and Tommy Black.[1]


The album is Ab-Soul's fourth full-length project, which was preceded by numerous promotional singles, the first being "Black Lip Bastard" on January 17, 2012. The song was produced by Willie B.[2] On February 28, 2012, Ab-Soul, along with Schoolboy Q, appeared on Sway Calloway's #SwayInTheMorning radio show, where Ab-Soul called "Black Lip Bastard": "pretty much one of the title tracks",[3] the song, however, failed to make the album's final track listing. The first song that appears on the album, to be released was "Showin' Love", also produced by Willie B.[4] On April 6, 2012, Ab-Soul released the track, titled "Terrorist Threats". The song features frequent collaborator Jhené Aiko and Danny Brown, who proclaimed on Twitter that "Black Hippy the new Beatles and I'm Harry Nilsson".[5]

On April 17, 2012, Ab-Soul revealed the album's title to be Control System and unveiled the release date to be May 11, 2012. That same day he also released a music video for "Pineal Gland", a song inspired by the psychedelic drug DMT and of course the pineal gland, a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain theorized to store natural reserves of DMT in mammals.[6][7] On April 24, 2012, another single, by the title of "SOPA" was released. The song, produced by Nez & Rio, references Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a United States bill introduced by US Representative Lamar S. Smith, that would've allowed the US government controversial control over the internet.[8]

On May 1, 2012, Ab-Soul released another music video for a song titled "Empathy"; the song features vocals from JaVonte and his late friend and girlfriend Alori Joh, who committed suicide in February 2012.[9] On May 4, 2012, it was revealed "Black Lip Bastard" was remixed and will feature his Black Hippy cohorts, Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q.[10] On May 8, 2012, his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, titled "Illuminate" was released. The music video would be released on January 15, 2013.[11] The day before the album's release Ab-Soul revealed the track listing and released snippets from the album. The album, as written on the back cover, is "Dedicated to the beautiful soul of Loriana Angel Johnson aka Alori Joh"[12]

Recording and production

Throughout 2011 and 2012, Ab-Soul was working on his second album. He had recorded the songs "Empathy" and "A Rebellion" with Alori Joh. On February 7, 2012, it was reported a young woman committed suicide by leaping from a radio tower; the woman was later identified as Loriana Johnson, also known as Alori Joh. In a June 2012 interview with HipHopDX, Ab-Soul publicly spoke on Joh's death and how it impacted him and the album: "I was actually pretty much done with the project before that happened. Luckily for me and all of us cause I definitely don't think I would have been able to put it out in the time that I did. It was difficult. It's still very difficult. She helps me out with all of my projects. It's a very difficult thing to get over but at the same time this is what we've been - we, me and her, were working on for the majority of the time I've known her. She was one of my biggest supporters so I feel like I owe her and I owe everybody else that's taken a liking to what we're doing." "The Book of Soul" was of the last tracks that he recorded on the project, he touches on a couple topics throughout his life, with Alori Joh being the main subject over a jazzy instrumental produced by Tommy Black.[13]


Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars
Robert ChristgauA-[15]
DJBooth.net4/5 stars[16]
HipHopDX4.5/5 stars[18]
Pitchfork Media8.1/10[19]
XXL4/5 stars (XL)[21]

Upon its release, Control System received universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 83, based on 10 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim."[14] The album was named the 20th best of 2012 by Complex Magazine.[22]Spin Magazine named the album the twelfth best hip hop album of 2012.[23] Robert Christgau ranked the album 46th on his 2012 "Dean's List".[24]

Track listing

1."Soulo Ho3" (featuring Jhené Aiko)3:57
2."Track Two"Tae Beast (of Digi+Phonics)4:03
3."Bohemian Grove"
  • Tae Beast
  • Dave Free
4."Terrorist Threats" (featuring Jhené Aiko & Danny Brown)Dave Free4:24
5."Pineal Gland"
Tae Beast3:52
6."Double Standards" (featuring Anna Wise)
Sounwave (of Digi+Phonics)4:21
7."Mixed Emotions"
  • Stevens IV
King Blue (of Sore Losers)4:08
8."SOPA" (featuring ScHoolboy Q)Nez & Rio4:09
9."Lust Demons" (featuring Jay Rock & BJ the Chicago Kid)Tae Beast3:41
10."ILLuminate" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)Skhye Hutch5:07
11."A Rebellion" (featuring Alori Joh)
Curtiss King3:48
12."Showin' Love"Willie B. (of Digi+Phonics)4:57
13."Empathy" (featuring Alori Joh & JaVonté)
  • Stevens IV
  • Joh
  • Hutchins
Skhye Hutch3:01
14."Nothing's Something"AAhyasis2:30
15."Beautiful Death" (featuring Punch & Ashtrobot)
Skhye Hutch4:30
16."The Book of Soul"
Tommy Black5:11
17."Black Lip Bastard (Remix)" (Black Hippy) (Bonus Track)
Willie B.5:49
Total length:71:44
Sample credits


Chart (2012)[37] Peak
US Billboard 200 91
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard) 12
US Top Rap Albums (Billboard) 9
US Top Independent Albums (Billboard) 13


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Ab-Soul - Black Lip Bastard (prod. Willie B of Digi+Phonics)". 2DopeBoyz. 2012-01-17. Retrieved . 
  3. ^ "ScHoolboy Q & Ab-Soul - 5 Fingers Of Death Freestyle (Video)". 2DopeBoyz. 2012-02-28. Retrieved . 
  4. ^ "Ab-Soul - Showin' Love (prod. Willie B of Digi+Phonics)". 2DopeBoyz. 2012-03-02. Retrieved . 
  5. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (April 9, 2012). "Ab-Soul: "Terrorist Threats" [ft. Danny Brown and Jhene Aiko]". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on June 5, 2012. Retrieved . 
  6. ^ "Ab-Soul - Pineal Gland Music Video". 2012-04-17. Retrieved . 
  7. ^ "Ab-Soul - Pineal Gland [video]". Scoremore. 2012-04-19. Archived from the original on 2013-02-02. Retrieved . 
  8. ^ "Ab-Soul - SOPA f. ScHoolboy Q (prod. Nez & Rio)". 2DopeBoyz. 2012-04-24. Retrieved . 
  9. ^ "New Video: Ab-Soul - "Empathy" (Featuring Alori Joh and jaVonté)". 2012-05-01. Retrieved . 
  10. ^ "Ab-Soul - Black Lip Bastard (Black Hippy Remix) (Preview)". 2DopeBoyz. 2012-05-04. Retrieved . 
  11. ^[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Ab-Soul - Control System (Tracklist x Snippets)". 2DopeBoyz. 2012-05-10. Retrieved . 
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b "Metacritic: Control System". Metacritic. Retrieved . 
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (August 28, 2012). "Ab-Soul/Kendrick Lamar". MSN Music. Microsoft. Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Retrieved . 
  16. ^ S., Nathan (May 16, 2012). "Ab-Soul - Control System - Hip Hop Album Review". Album Review. Retrieved . 
  17. ^ Marrack, Peter (May 23, 2012). "Ab-Soul - Control System Hip Hop Reviews". Album Review. Retrieved . 
  18. ^ Fairfax, Jesse (May 15, 2012). "Ab-Soul - #controlsystem - Hip Hop Album Review". Album Review. Retrieved . 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Mordi, Christian (May 17, 2012). "Ab-Soul, Control System". Album Review. XXL. Retrieved . 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Robert Christgau: 2012: Dean's List". Retrieved . 
  25. ^ "Ab-Soul's Track Two sample of Electric Light Orchestra's Tightrope". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  26. ^ "Ab-Soul's Terrorist Threats sample of Darren Korb's The Bottom Feeders". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  27. ^ "Ab-Soul's Terrorist Threats sample of Jay-Z's Nigga What, Nigga Who". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  28. ^ "Ab-Soul's Pineal Gland sample of Bo Hansson's Attic Thoughts". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  29. ^ "Ab-Soul's Lust Demons sample of Isaac Hayes' Aruba". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  30. ^ "Ab-Soul's ILLuminate sample of Kendrick Lamar's A.D.H.D." WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  31. ^ "Ab-Soul's A Rebellion sample of Midnight Star's Follow the Path". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  32. ^ "Ab-Soul's Showin' Love sample of Ahmad Jamal's Swahililand". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  33. ^ "Ab-Soul's Beautiful Death sample of OutKast's You May Die (Intro)". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  34. ^ "Ab-Soul's The Book of Soul sample of Ahmad Jamal's Swahililand". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  35. ^ "Ab-Soul's The Book of Soul sample of Bobby McFerrin's Moondance". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  36. ^ "Ab-Soul's Black Lip Bastard (Remix) sample of Donny Hathaway's A Song for You". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2012. 
  37. ^ [1]

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