Able to juggle the profound and the profane along with the mainstream and the underground, rapper Ab-Soul is a member of the Black Hippy crew as well as a solo artist.
Born Herbert Stevens in Los Angeles, Ab-Soul contracted Stevens-Johnson syndrome as a child, a hypersensitivity complex that left him light sensitive and wearing sunglasses most of the time. He rapped throughout high school but didn't take it seriously until after graduation, forming the group Area 51 with rapper Snake Hollywood and signing a deal with Street Beat Entertainment in 2005. The two-year deal ran out with much to show for it, but in 2007, Ab-Soul joined the Top Dawg label with his A Day in the Life mixtape following a year later. In 2009 he formed the Black Hippy crew with fellow Top Dawg artists Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay Rock, then in 2011, he made his solo debut with the album Longterm Mentality. His sophomore and breakthrough effort Control System followed a year later, featuring guest spots from the whole Black Hippy crew along with other artists like Jhené Aiko and Danny Brown. The album climbed to number 83 on the Billboard 200 albums chart while his 2014 effort, These Days…, featured names like Lupe Fiasco plus Rick Ross, and debuted at number 11. ~ David Jeffries