The Top Dawg Entertainment veteran Ab-Soul released his new single, “Do Better,” featuring Zacari. A single focused on his battles with depression, mental health struggles, and how he was able to come to the light.
Ab-Soul has solidified himself as an independent rapper and lyricist on TDE. In the early 2010s, he was a member of the Black Hippy collective. Which includes himself, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock. He also received critical acclaim for his solo albums, such as Longterm Mentality, Control System, and These Days. He’s been on hiatus since 2016 and now is back with new solo material. We first heard from him in April with the song “Hollandaise.” We heard him speak on his upbringing with his signature flow and wordplay over a Kal Banx beat. The track, “Moonshooter” was more so a song of reflection for Ab-Soul, filled with introspective lyrics questioning his place in hip-hop and his experiences with fame. Now we have a third single, “Do Better,” and it might be his best song yet.
Ab-Soul “Do Better” Single Artwork
Breaking Down the Song
The song samples a loop of Nick Hakim’s 2017 song, “Green Twins.” In the first verse, he says, “Pick up the pieces and master the puzzle upon us… Look the man in the mirror in the eye and be honest.” That line resonated with me because we maybe have done or been through certain things that were not proud of. Being able to look in the mirror honestly and be able to make a change within will allow us to master that puzzle of life. The chorus is my favorite part. It serves as a reminder that we have to do better as people, to be the best version of ourselves every single day.
In the second verse, he goes deeper saying, “Doin’ drugs was just a war with boredom, but it’s sure to get me.” As well as the line, “Wear the crown of thorns for sport, I’m just waitin’ for a stone to hit me.” He is reminding himself of all the people he’s lost in his life and is expecting his time to come. But then we go back to the chorus saying I gotta do better before it’s too late. Which is acknowledging those past thoughts and realizing he is above the situation that’s occurring. We get a final verse from the singer Zacari reiterating the same idea that he’s lost his purpose, “gone with the wind.”
What to Expect from the Video
The video starts with a quick spoken word piece from him stating “The know it all that’s always wrong but claiming that I’m advanced, this my second, second chance”. Showing he’s taking accountability for his wrongs in the past and he’s blessed to have a second chance. Within the industry especially hip-hop everything changes so fast, and artists fade in and out and then move on to the next. Ab-Soul is looking inward and continues to be grateful to do what he loves.
The whole video is filmed in black and white and was directed by Omar Jones. He did a great job of depicting the story told in the lyrics. We see him falling off a building throughout the video. Serving as a representation of where his life was heading. Then we see in reverse him being able to pick himself up and chose life in the end. Another spoken word piece follows saying, “I’ve cried enough about it, I’m choosing to laugh now because I’m here. I’m still standing tall, and I’m grateful so that’s how I’m doing the work.”
Ab-Soul has truly overcome so much adversity throughout his career from friends passing to even his own personal struggles. I am so glad he was able to be 100 percent transparent on this track. As fans, we sometimes forget that entertainers are just like us and go through similar things that we do. Salute to him for being able to share his battles and open up. I can’t wait to hear more when the album releases.