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Ab-Soul (feat. Punch), 'GOODMAN'

Ab-Soul is back and he hasn't missed a single beat. The Los Angeles rapper has always been a wordsmith at the top of his game, but HERBERT sees him at his most vulnerable, dynamic and confident.

"GOODMAN," a standout from his first album in six years, has all the elements of an addictive Ab-Soul track: a remix of a beloved soul sample, a philosophical premise and an energetic, did-I-even-stutter type of flow. The track's title kinda tells you everything you need to know about it: Ab-Soul ponders, "Am I a good man?" over a slowed down, then accelerated sample of Them Two's 1967 song of the same name. "Never wore a rosary or went to confession / But if I could clean this mess up with a message, it'll be a blessing," Ab-Soul weighs faith against his own actions. Top Dawg Entertainment president and rapper Punch catches the second verse, reflecting on the impact of his predecessors, "Standing on the shoulder of giants / A good man turned tyrant / That's the after effects of my environment." By the end of the song, Ab-Soul fails to reach a solid conclusion on the state of his morality — only bringing more questions into the fold. Might as well hit play again.

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Teresa Xie
Teresa Xie is a reporter who specializes in media and culture writing. She recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied political science and cinema. Outside of NPR, her work can be found in Pitchfork, Vox, Teen Vogue, Bloomberg, Stereogum and other outlets.
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