Ab-Soul is a complex emcee gifted with a smooth flow and the ability to be profound and irredeemably profane in the space of a few bars.
On These Days... that versatility is his biggest strength. On West Coast-indebted TWACT, Soul is exuberant - ratchet even - without sacrificing his laser-sharp lyricism. While on Closure, Soul's song about a relationship gone awry, the 27-year-old is tender and mournful - vocally unsteady and on the verge of tears.
On Just Have Fun, over a refrain of "Do the drugs, don't let the drugs do you," Soul juxtaposes occasionally preachy religious exhortations with his own hedonistic appetites.
Ab-Soul is still the third man up in the stacked TDE crew (behind Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q), but this album establishes him as the group's most reliable Swiss Army knife: deft in a wide variety of sonic and thematic situations.
Top track: Closure