Do What Thou Wilt.

  (Redirected from Do What Thou Wilt)

Do What Thou Wilt. is the fourth studio album by American rapper Ab-Soul. It was released on December 9, 2016, by Top Dawg Entertainment. The record serves as the follow-up to his previous studio effort, These Days... (2014). The album was supported by two singles: "Huey Knew" and "Braille".

Do What Thou Wilt.
Ab-SoulDWTW.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 9, 2016 (2016-12-09)
Recorded2015–2016
GenreHip hop
Length76:57
LabelTop Dawg
Producer
Ab-Soul chronology
These Days...
(2014)
Do What Thou Wilt.
(2016)
Singles from Do What Thou Wilt.
  1. "Huey Knew"
    Released: September 30, 2016
  2. "Braille"
    Released: October 28, 2016

BackgroundEdit

In 2007, Ab-Soul signed a deal with Top Dawg Entertainment.[1] In 2014, after the release of his third album, These Days... through the TDE label, Ab-Soul embarked on a national concert tour.[2] Upon returning from the tour, Ab-Soul began recording new material as early as February 2015.[3] On July 14, 2015, Ab-Soul give more updates on the album that day: "My album's almost done..." he wrote on Twitter, adding, "It's a love story". He completed the post with the hashtag "DWTW", presumably the acronym to his album title, to which he kept alluding.[4] On June 8, 2016, Ab-Soul revealed that he had finished the new album and then turned it in for audio mixing.[5][6]

In December 2016, in an interview with HotNewHipHop, Ab-Soul spoke on the album's cover artwork, revealing why he's not featured with his trademark sunglasses: "With the light sensitivity, I knew it would be difficult, but I was up to the challenge. I knew that it was something that the people wanted to see from me. I like to bare it all. I'm very honest. I think this album kinda called for that type of sincerity."[7] He said the photographer wanted to "capture his angst" but "I'm a happy guy," he said, smiling.[7] "But the tone of the album, you can get that from it. I think that that cover is a proper depiction of... the tone of the album. It's the grey area."[7]

Release and promotionEdit

On December 5, 2016, Ab-Soul announced on his Twitter feed that DWTW was scheduled to be released on December 9, 2016. The announcement of the release date coincided with the release of the song "Threatening Nature", on TDE's SoundCloud page.[8] On December 6, Ab-Soul unveiled the album's cover art and track-listing.[9][10] On December 7, 2016, Ab-Soul released the music video, directed by PANAMÆRA, for a song titled "D.R.U.G.S."[11] On December 13, 2016, Ab-Soul released another music video, this one directed by APLUS Filmz, for the album's intro, "RAW (backwards)".[12]

"Huey Knew" was released on September 30, 2016, as the album's lead single.[13] It features production by TDE's in-house producer Willie B, as well as a guest appearance from New Jersey-based rapper Dash. The music video for "Huey Knew", was released on October 14, 2016.[14] "Huey Knew" is listed as "Huey Knew THEN" on the albums track-listing. Ab-Soul released the album's second single, titled "Braille", on October 28, 2016. The song features a guest appearance from New York City-based rapper Bas, while the production was handled by WondaGurl.[15][16] On November 22, 2016, the music video for "Braille", which was directed by PANAMÆRA, was released.[17]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic64/100[18]
Review scores
SourceRating
Exclaim!6/10[19]
HipHopDX4.2/5[20]
HotNewHipHop78%[21]
Pitchfork4.4/10[22]
PopMatters6/10[23]
RapReviews6.5/10[24]
ViceA–[25]
XXL4/5[26]

Do What Thou Wilt. received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 64, based on six reviews.[18] Ural Garrett of HipHopDX said, "Ab-Soul expounds on his cranial compound Do What Thou Wilt and fully revealed himself as an artist who plays mind games with himself and listeners. Although figuring Soulo lyrical intent continues to be a guessing game, at least there are some critical takeaways that linger far after indulging in the music."[20] Michael G. Barilleaux of RapReviews said, "For those who like a swell show of technical strength, a spin of this album will occupy your listen to and from the workplace quite well. For those seeking something more meaningful to go along with their skill showcase, however, don't feel bad about taking a pass on this one."[24] In Vice, Robert Christgau said Ab-Soul's music "emanates intellectual excitement and pleasure as he grows up", highlighting the rapper's "feminist-curious yearnings" while remaining ambivalent toward his "tree-huffing doggishness". Christgau deemed the record, "as listening, more fun than his fellow Black Hippy's outtakes for sure. As wordplay too. As thinking, leaves room for improvement and reason to hope there'll be some."[25]

Scott Glaysher of XXL said, "The kind of God level rapping that Ab-Soul showcases on Do What Thou Wilt means this album will exist predominantly in the headphones of those shrewd enough to understand."[26] Calum Slingerland of Exclaim! said, "Ab-Soul is more successful when he mines his own sorrow."[19] Dan Kok of PopMatters said, "It's an album that embodies the idea of potential that isn't fully realized."[23] Pitchfork journalist Sheldon Pearce was less receptive, regarding the songs as overly abstract, meaningless riddles. He believed Ab-Soul had become "so information-obsessed that he loses sight of actual meaning", while panning what he said were Aleister Crowley-inspired occult references.[22]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."RAW (backwards)" (featuring Zacari)Juice of All Trades4:45
2."Braille" (featuring Bas)WondaGurl4:12
3."Huey Knew THEN" (featuring Dash)Willie B4:30
4."Threatening Nature"Stevens IVPakk Music Group3:24
5."Womanogamy"
3:56
6."INvocation" (featuring Kokane)Rahki5:07
7."Wifey Vs. WiFi" / / / "P.M.S." (featuring BR3)Skhye Hutch4:21
8."Beat the Case" / / / "Straight Crooked" (featuring Schoolboy Q)
5:21
9."Portishead in the Morning" / / / "HER World"
  • Stevens IV
  • Tyran Donaldson
  • Pakk Music Group
  • Antydote
4:27
10."God's a Girl?"Stevens IVPakk Music Group3:14
11."Now You Know"Stevens IVASAP P on the Boards4:03
12."D.R.U.G.S."
  • Stevens IV
  • Francis Nguyen-Tran
FrancisGotHeat5:56
13."Evil Genius" (featuring Teedra Moses and JaVonté)
5:48
14."Lonely Soul" / / / "The Law (Prelude)" (featuring Punch and SZA)Sounwave6:34
15."The Law" (featuring Mac Miller and Rapsody)Bentley Haze5:29
16."YMF"Stevens IVBentley Haze5:50
Total length:76:57

Notes

  • "Womanogamy" features additional vocals from Schoolboy Q
  • "Threatening Nature" features additional vocals from Dash
  • "D.R.U.G.S." features additional vocals from Mac Miller
  • "Lonely Soul" / / / "The Law (Prelude)" features additional bass by Thundercat
  • "Portishead in the Morning" / / / "HER World" features additional ad-libbing from Isaiah Rashad

Sample credits

  • "Evil Genius" contains a sample of "Let You Shine", as performed by Alori Joh.

ChartsEdit

Chart (2016) Peak
position
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ)[27] 8
US Billboard 200[28] 34
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[29] 9

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ramirez, Erika (August 8, 2012). "Ab-Soul's Timeline: The Rapper's Life From 5 Years Old to Now". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 11, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  2. ^ Lyons, Patrick (August 20, 2014). "Ab-Soul Announces "These Days" Tour". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on June 23, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  3. ^ Smith, Trevor (October 13, 2014). "Ab-Soul Reveals "Longterm 3" Will Be His Debut Album". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on May 14, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  4. ^ Smith, Trevor (2015-07-14). "Ab-Soul's Album Is "Almost Done"". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on 2016-03-27. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  5. ^ Schwartz, Danny (2016-06-08). "Ab-Soul Announces Album "Tracclist Turned In"". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on 2016-12-08. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  6. ^ Morris, Jessie (June 8, 2016). "Ab-Soul Confirms His New Album Is Finished and On the Way". Complex. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Schwartz, Danny (December 14, 2016). "Ab-Soul Explains "DWTW" Album Cover". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  8. ^ "Ab-Soul On Twitter: "Threatening Nature... #DWTW 12.09.16". Twitter. 2016-12-05. Archived from the original on 2017-05-13. Retrieved 2016-12-05.
  9. ^ Schwadron, Eli (December 6, 2016). "Ab-Soul Shares New Snippet With 'DWTW' Album Tracklist". XXL. Archived from the original on February 9, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  10. ^ Pearce, Sheldon (December 6, 2016). "Ab-Soul Shares DWTW Tracklist Featuring Schoolboy Q, Mac Miller, SZA, More". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on February 13, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  11. ^ Reed, Ryan (December 7, 2016). "Watch Ab-Soul's Psychedelic 'D.R.U.G.S.' Video". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  12. ^ Blistein, Jon (December 13, 2016). "Watch Ab-Soul's Searing 'RAW (Backwards)' Video". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 21, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  13. ^ "Huey Knew (feat. Da$h)". Apple Music. Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  14. ^ Kreps, Daniel (October 14, 2016). "See Ab-Soul's Bracing, Politically Fueled 'Huey Knew' Video". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  15. ^ "Braille (feat. Bas)". Apple Music. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  16. ^ XXL Staff (October 27, 2016). "Ab-Soul and Bas Link Up for "Braille"". XXL. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  17. ^ Ivey, Justin (November 22, 2016). "Ab-Soul and Bas Travel Through Paris in "Braille" Video". XXL. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Reviews for Do What Thou Wilt. by Ab-Soul". Metacritic. Archived from the original on December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  19. ^ a b Slingerland, Calum (December 9, 2016). "Ab-Soul Do What Thou Wilt". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on January 16, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Garrett, Ural (December 15, 2016). "Ab-Soul Do What Thou Wilt Album Review". HipHopDX. Archived from the original on February 16, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  21. ^ Marshall, Anders (December 16, 2016). "Ab-Soul's "Do What Thou Wilt." (Review)". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  22. ^ a b Pearce, Sheldon (December 22, 2016). "Ab-Soul: Do What Thou Wilt". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on February 13, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  23. ^ a b Kok, Dan (December 7, 2016). "Ab-Soul: Do What Thou Wilt". PopMatters. Archived from the original on February 16, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  24. ^ a b Barilleaux, Michael G. (January 24, 2017). "Ab-Soul :: Do What Thou Wilt :: Top Dawg Entertainment". RapReviews. Archived from the original on February 16, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  25. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (February 10, 2017). "Danny Brown Times Three: Expert Witness with Robert Christgau". Vice. Archived from the original on February 15, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  26. ^ a b Glaysher, Scott (December 20, 2016). "Ab-Soul's Subtle Sophistication Shines Through on 'Do What Thou Wilt'". XXL. Archived from the original on February 16, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  27. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 19, 2016. Archived from the original on December 21, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  28. ^ "Ab-Soul Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  29. ^ "Ab-Soul Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2016.