If Control System makes for an uncomfortable listen, then Ab-Soul is doing his job. There’s nothing prickly about California MC/Top Dawg underdog’s flow, but his subject matter—gender inequality, anti-dogmatism, political animus, hackneyed conspiracy theorizing—goes a ways toward upending the genre’s tendency to embrace casual, libidinous nihilism. You wouldn’t wanna wind up arguing about the Illuminati with the guy at a backyard BBQ, but there’s something reassuring about knowing that he’s around to help keep rap independent in spirit, if not necessarily rooted in the factual. Tonight he opens for Kendrick Lamar at Terminal 5, so be sure to get there early.
Sat., Sept. 15, 8 p.m., 2012