Ab-Soul wants everyone to be clear about Black Hippy: Kendrick Lamar isn't the boss, he's on the team. After XXL's "Kendrick Lamar & Black Hippy" cover title, Ab threatened to quit the crew — also including Jay Rock and ScHoolboy Q — and clarified things in a Q & A interview with Montreality. "I don't want people to think that Kendrick is like Lil Wayne or like 50 Cent," he said. "It's not G-Unit."
A year of hit records and a platinum-selling album made him the most visible of the Top Dawg Entertainment collective, which may have confused some into thinking he runs the imprint and, subsequently, Black Hippy. Not so, Ab reiterated. "My boss is not Kendrick. Kendrick didn't sign me. Kendrick didn't add me to his group. This was a collective. Long before it was Black Hippy, we were all together. I just wanted that to be known to the world. Don't get the wrong idea. We're not band members or something like that. We don't just stand in the background and like, dance when Kendrick raps."
That doesn't mean that the two aren't close or that he has a problem answering questions about Lamar. "Me and Kendrick aren't co-workers. That's my brother. That's my family," Ab said. "He deserves everything that's happening and I will answer every question about him. I'm not bothered by that at all.
"Kendrick's success assists my success," he continued. "He's gonna be at a platform to present me to his audience one day and if I'm ready, maybe they'll accept me too. So, just for the record, TDE, we are a family. Those are my brothers. I'll take a bullet for them. Understand that. This is not like work. Sure, we're competitive. We all wanna be No. 1 of course, but I want to see all of them be No. 1. If it's not me, it's gotta be one of them, so that's just for the record. I'm not bothered by Kendrick Lamar questions. Ask them all. I'll answer them all."
So what's his opinion of K. Dot's feature on Eminem's forthcoming The Marshall Mathers LP 2? "Essential," Ab said. "I appreciate him [Em] for doing that. I really do. The Marshall Mathers LP is one of my favorite albums, I can't wait to hear the next part."
As for his own dream collaboration, the West Coaster says Jay Z takes the cake. "Hands down ... If I can get a record with Jay before he checks out, mission complete," he said. "If I can bring out the Reasonable Doubt Jay, I think I'd be pretty f---n' happy ... But Jay is Jay, I can't really box him in to a certain sound. He really transcends every time."
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(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)