By Nadeska Alexis with reporting by Sway Calloway
Ab-Soul’s Control System isn’t by any means a light listen, but one of the most moving songs on the album is “The Book of Soul,” which addresses his struggle with Stevens-Johnson syndrome and the daunting loss of his former girlfriend, Alori Joh, last year. During his recent visit to “RapFix Live,” the Black Hippy rapper opened up about how difficult it was for him to pen the song, addressing his loss so publicly.
Alori Joh (born Loriana Johnson), a West Coast native and vocalist, was a part of the TDE family, appearing on ’HiiiPOWER,’ from Kendrick Lamar’s Section 80 mixtape and “’Heaven & Hell,” from Overly Dedicated, in addition to her work with Ab-Soul on tracks like “More of a Euphoria.” Her death was ruled as a suicide in February 2012, and while Kendrick and SchoolBoy Q publicly mourned her loss on Twitter, Ab-Soul also poured his emotions into “The Book of Soul.”
“[It was] absolutely the most difficult song I’ll ever have to write,” he admitted. “And I really don’t like to speak on it like that because it’s one of those things that was necessary for me to do, but I don’t really wanna take too much fame or credit for that. It was a record that I had to do based on the actual story of the song.”
Ab-Soul explained that the story simply had to be told. “[The song isn’t] solely about the relationship that I was in,” he continued, “But I was in a very long relationship with a beautiful young lady and she passed last year, around this time actually.”
“So I just really had to…she was very very influential throughout like half my life, so I had to speak on the situation. Me being an artist, me having a platform, it would’ve been selfish of me not to speak on that situation, so it was just one of those type of things. But [the song is] just kinda looking at my life thorough a microscope, finding the positives, even in these negatives that I come across. The lessons learned.”