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AboutHerbert Anthony Stevens IV (born February 23, 1987), better known by his stage name Ab-Soul, is an American hip hop recording artist from Carson, California, signed to Top Dawg Entertainment. Stevens is best known as a member of hip hop supergroup Black Hippy, along with his label-mates and fellow West Coast rappers Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. He has so far released two independent albums under the label Top Dawg Entertainment, Longterm Mentality and Control System, to moderate success.

Stevens spent the first four years of his life in Germany, right up until his parents split and he and his mother subsequently moved to the United States to live in his grandmother's house, in the suburban area of Carson, California. He once recalled being five years old: "I was serious into video games and basketball, at five. But video games for sure. Five, What was that, Nintendo? Sega. Sonic the Hedgehog. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on TV. But I know early on, I really, really liked Michael Jackson, like we all did. Newborn babies loved Michael Jackson."

At age ten, Stevens contracted Stevens–Johnson syndrome which caused him to be hospitalized and is the origin of his dark lips and light-sensitive eyes: "At ten years old, I got very sick. It was a pretty vivid day. I caught a rare virus called Steven-Johnson Syndrome. And it was very, very life-changing for me. It hindered my vision and my skin configuration. It definitely put a huge dent in my hoop dreams. I even kept trying to play. I tried to keep playing with my shades on, it was real funny when I think about it now. A lot of my friends were real cool about it. They wouldn't make me feel different or anything like that, but I just kind of figured, I won't have the sharp vision for that.

Steven began crafting his rapping skills at an early age: "I was on BlackPlanet freestyle chat, rapping my ass off. Text battle. It is a very interesting world. I think that it still exists online, where you freestyle but you type it. They call it keystyle. I think that is where I developed my rhyming skills. I had been rapping a little earlier, maybe around 12 [years old], but when I hopped online and into that culture, that textcee culture. It really got me going as far as being a rapper.

Stevens claims to have written his first verse when he was 12 years old, to the beat of Twista's "Emotions": "I was like, I can do this; I'll try it out. And I wrote it out. That's a day I remember vividly. From that moment I've had a very keen interest in the whole craft. Being a big fan of words and making the real connection with them. Saying things that can make your eyes open up. I can say something and I can turn heads. It was not until he graduated from high school that he began to take his music career seriously: "I just wanted to be tight with [my raps] but I was growing a passion for it. Wasn't until after I graduated from high school and checked into the community college that I realized I wanted to be a rapper full time. I probably did the equivalent of a half a semester total, in my attendance. I tried one semester and dropped out and then I tried another semester and dropped out. So it just didn't work out."

In 2002, Stevens recorded his first song. In 2005, he signed a recording contract with StreetBeat Entertainment, but just a year later, in 2006, he met Punch, President and Chairman of Carson-based indie record label, Top Dawg Entertainment, who as Stevens says, saw more in his music "than metaphors and punchlines": "As soon as I had graduated from high school I had signed an independent contract with a small label called StreetBeat Entertainment. Take it as a learning experience. But during that time, I had started working with TDE. That deal was for two years, so as soon as that was up, I built a relationship with TDE and became a member of that family.

Most Popular Songs (More)

Ab-Soul feat. Fre$h - Gang 'Nem
Gang 'Nem lyrics
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Ab-Soul feat. Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q - Black Lip Bastard [Black Hippy Remix]
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Life Is Crazy lyrics
Ab-Soul - Tree Of Life
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Ab-Soul feat. Rick Ross - Nevermind That
Nevermind That lyrics
Ab-Soul feat. Rick Ross
Ab-Soul feat. Punch - Can Anybody Hear Me
Can Anybody Hear Me lyrics
Ab-Soul feat. Punch
Ab-Soul - Mayday
Mayday lyrics
Ab-Soul feat. Alori Joh - Passion
Passion lyrics
Ab-Soul feat. Alori Joh

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