Artist Spotlight: Maxo Kream

I’ve said this many times before, but hip hop is such an interesting genre for a multitude of reasons. One of the most interesting things about the genre is the distinct sounds and musical styles that come from different cities. You’ve got Chicago drill, Los Angeles west coast bounce, Bay Area hyphy, New York boom-bap, Atlanta trap, Houston trill, and many more different styles. Today’s post will focus on one of the brightest young rap stars in Houston, Maxo Kream

Rise in popularity  

Maxo Kream first jumped into the mainstream light in 2015 even though he’s been rapping since he was in high school. His first mixtape that garnered him more attention was #Maxo187. The tape was featured in numerous high-profile publications including XXL and more. That tape featured popular rappers Joey Bada$$, Fredo Santana, and more. The sound on the tape was very Houston-influenced, with deep basslines, chopped-and-screwed vocals, and violent street tales. 

Following #Maxo187, Kream released 2016’s Persona Tape and then his 2018 debut album Punken. The 2018 project was met with positive reviews for its high level storytelling and versatility. On the project, we saw Maxo continue to improve his rapping ability while continuing to try new sounds and beats to the delight of many fans.       

Why you should give him a chance 

If you are a fan of lyrical rap that tells great stories while also flowing over beats of all types, you’ll most likely enjoy Maxo Kream’s music. He takes all of those things into his craft along with constant evolution and incorporation of new elements. Kream also has nods to the city he came from, citing his city as a big influence on his musical style. He can also craft great hooks that are super catchy while also not being too repetitive or one dimensional. His voice is quite catchy and distinct compared to a lot of the rappers that sound similar to each other.

I can honestly say that Maxo Kream is up there near the top of the ranks of my favorite new artists. I love the way that he can tell such a compelling story while also making each song sound different from the last.  


Notable songs

When you have an artist as good as Maxo it can be difficult to choose his most notable songs. But without further adieu, here are the most notable songs from Maxo Kream’s discography thus far.    

“Astrodome” – Maxo Kream 

This track was one of the first of Maxo’s that I ever listened to. What draws me to this track is the chopped n screwed vocals, they just fit so perfectly. The feature from Sauce Twinz is so Houston and fits perfectly as well. This is a great track from the #Maxo187 project for sure. 

“Big Worm” Maxo Kream

Remember earlier how I mentioned those unorthodox beats that Maxo somehow sounds great over? Yeah, this is definitely one of those tracks. “Big Worm” is an essential track for any Maxo fan-to-be. His flow is impeccable and that beat though. Damn man, this is a dope track.

“Spike Lee” ft. Playboi Carti & Rich The Kid Maxo Kream 

This song right here is one of Maxo’s most popular, and for good reason. It features a young Playboi Carti and an amazingly catchy hook. The verses from everyone are great and the beat is a work of art. This should be an instant add to your playlist if you enjoy what you’ve heard from Kream thus far. 

Punken Maxo Kream

I’ll admit, I’m kind of cheating this section by including this link. But the whole Punken album is simply too good to not listen to. It is the best version of Maxo Kream that we’ve heard so far and it would be a shame if you didn’t experience that. It was one of the better hip hop releases of a strong 2018 and I would really recommend it. But if you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, my favorite tracks from the project are “Grannies”, “Beyonce (Interlude)”, “Love Drugs”, and “Roaches”

 

What’s next? 

2019 has been a pretty good year for Maxo Kream thus far, seeing as he’s released a few singles during the buildup to his latest album Brandon Banks. The singles that he’s released thus far this year include the excellent “Meet Again”, the hard-hitting “Still”, and “She Live” ft. Megan Thee Stallion. Brandon Banks is set to release on July 19th and I absolutely cannot wait. Check it out on your selected streaming service if you like what you’ve heard from Maxo

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any images contained in this piece. 

J. Cole’s Dreamville Records releases highly anticipated compilation album

Even if you are one of the more casual hip hop fans out there, you’ve most likely heard of J. Cole and his label Dreamville Records. The label was founded by Cole and Ibrahim Hamad in their native North Carolina. The label has many artists signed to it, including J.I.D, Bas, Cozz, Omen, Ari Lennox, and EarthGang. Dreamville also houses producers including Cam O’bi, Childish Major, Cedric Brown, and many more. 

  

Initial hype

The label had released previous compilations Revenge of the Dreamers and Revenge of the Dreamers II in 2014 and 2015 respectively. These projects here hailed as pretty good by fans, but they felt like something was missing. Many fans felt that Dreamville was missing out on a big opportunity by failing to use their many industry connections to get other artists to feature on the projects. But in early 2019, that seemed to change completely with the announcement of Revenge of the Dreamers III. It looked like Cole and the gang were serious about building a lot of hype and creating a great project.     

Artist invites

On January 6th, J. Cole went on Twitter and announced the project with a poster that looked like an invitation to some recording sessions. The dates for the sessions were January 6-16th and were held in Atlanta. These dates were chosen due to the tour schedules of Dreamville artists.

After Cole’s initial announcement on January 6th, many different artists began popping up on social media sites with their invitations to the recording sessions. There were over 100 artists and producers invited to the sessions including most notably 6lack, Akon, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Big KRIT, Buddy, Currensy, Isaiah Rashad, Lil Baby, Meek Mill, Reason, Rick Ross, Saba, Ski Mask the Slump God, Smino, Syd, Tay Keith, and Vince Staples, among many more. 

The recording sessions came and went and it is said that there were actually over 300 invites in one studio with 142 songs recorded and almost 260GB worth of music. That is an absolutely insane amount of content and it really put fans on edge to hear the project when it was released.

    

Final project

Early in the week of July 1st J. Cole made another announcement, one that fans had really been waiting for. He announced the Revenge of the Dreamers III would be released on July 5th, 2019. This immediately raised the hype levels through the roof and kept fans on edge until the day it came out.

According to Dreamville, the final project contains 18 songs with 34 artists and 27 producers. That leaves over 100 songs that fans will not be able to hear for the time being.

Regardless, this project had an amazing rollout and recording process. It seems to be one of the most unique projects that I’ve come across thus far and I can’t wait to listen to it even more. 

Revenge of the Dreamers III is now available on music streaming platforms! Hit me up on my Instagram once you’ve listened and let me know what you think of the album.

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images in this piece. 

Chance The Rapper finally releases old mixtapes on streaming services

June 28th was a great day in the hip hop world for many reasons. I mean it was a Friday after all, which is known as the best day of the week for new music releases (you can check out all of June 28th’s new releases here). But the biggest reason that it was great is because Chance The Rapper has finally released his beloved 10 Day and Acid Rap mixtapes to music streaming services. The only streaming platform these projects had been on before today was Soundcloud, simply because they contained a lot of unreleased samples. But that’s a thing of the past now for the most part, so let’s dig into the projects a bit. 

10 Day

10 Day was inspired by Bennett having to serve a 10 day suspension from high school for marijuana possession in 2011. It is a very special project for me and a lot of other Chance fans. It was our first exposure to Chance and made him really stand out among his young Chicago peers.

10 Day was his first official release under the Chance The Rapper name that we all know and love today. It gave us a sincere and honest look into the life of a young high school aged Chance Bennett. The project is absolutely full of amazing and heartfelt jams that you don’t hear that much these days… 

  

Essential 10 Day Tracks

which leads me to my next point: there are so many songs on this project that are essential for any Chance fan or person wanting to get into his music now that it’s more accessible. Here are my most essential 10 Day tracks that you need to check out:

Acid Rap

Oh man, this is where it really starts getting good. I will say this right now: Acid Rap is a top five mixtape of all time, no question about it. The love and passion that went into creating this project is palpable; it just evokes so many different feelings. 

Acid Rap was released on April 30th, 2013 to widespread critical acclaim. The project was inspired by Chance’s use of psychedelic drugs LSD and acid, even though it wasn’t the only reason the project was created in the first place. He has said that Acid Rap is more musically than story based compared to 10 Day, while also being cohesive in its own way. Most of the artists and producers on the project are based in Chicago, making for a bigger hometown feel.  

      

Essential Acid Rap Tracks

Honestly all of the tracks on this project are essential, but me saying that isn’t the purpose of this section. Here are some of the most essential tracks off Acid Rap, even though you wouldn’t be wrong to just listen to the whole thing:

Should I listen?

To put it bluntly: if you are a fan of modern hip hop even in the slightest, you need to listen to these projects. There are both amazing in their own way and deserve the respect of hip hop fans everywhere. I can’t put into words how excited I am to finally add these classic tracks to my playlists and bump them all summer!

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any images found in this piece.

“7” Review: Lil Nas X drops captivating debut project

If you’ve been anywhere near a radio for the past few months, you’ve most likely heard “Old Town Road” or its several remixes at least once. You may not know who Lil Nas X was before hearing the song, but honestly who did?

He got his first taste of fame on Twitter by running Nicki Minaj fan accounts and also creating Vines and TikTok videos. He released “Old Town Road” in late 2018 and it began picking up steam in early 2019. By April 2019, it had a remix with legendary country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and had broken Drake’s record of most streams in one week with over 140 million.

Once he began gaining social media followers like crazy, Nas began posting snippets of his new songs all over Instagram. This made fans want to hear what else he could do. Without further adieu, it’s time to see what Lil Nas X can bring to the table on his first official project.   

First impressions

  • The Good: On my first listen through this EP, I was actually surprised at how versatile Lil Nas was one most of the tracks. It makes for an interesting listen especially because I expected him to stick to the country rap fusion for the whole project honestly.  
  • The Bad: Even though I do think the songs were pretty good and different sounding, the lyrics were kind of bland. No songs really stood out from the others in terms of what they actually talked about.  

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: One of the things I appreciate most about this project is Lil Nas X’s voice. He has a great singing voice and a decent rapping flow from what I can tell. We didn’t get to see too much rapping from him but what we did see wasn’t bad at all. He has a lot of potential in that regard and it’ll be interesting to see where he goes with rap in the future.  
  • The Bad: As I said before, each song sounded different in terms of sonic elements but not much else. The lyrics were pretty lackluster and forgettable, with the exception of the hyped up “Panini” and “Rodeo”.  
  • Score: 6.8/10

Beats

  • The Good: Another good part about the project was honestly the beats. They were all pretty different and actually pleasing to the ears. Nas’ voice works pretty well on different production and I would encourage him to continue breaking new ground on his debut album. Producers on this EP include Take A Daytrip, Young Kio, Business Boi, and Boi-1da.
  • The Bad: I don’t have anything bad to say about the beats on this project. As I mentioned, Nas flows really well on all the tracks whether he’s singing or rapping. This was just a little taste of what we’ll see from him in the future, so hopefully he can still choose beats he sounds good over.
  • Score: 8.3/10

Replayability

  • The Good: Being that this project is an EP, it is quite easy to listen to all the way through. It is only 18 minutes over 7 tracks, so I would definitely suggest multiple listens in order to digest it fully. I’ll be revisiting this project in the future simply due to the fact that it has so many different sounds on it and it is so short.  
  • The Bad: As with many EPs, it just feels like a random collection of songs. Including “Old Town Road” twice really bloats the project a bit, but I can understand why he did it. I’m hoping he’ll go for more of a concept on his album, but we’ll see when that arrives.   
  • Score: 7.5/10

Standouts

  • Being that this EP is quite short and has a variety of different sounds, it was quite hard to choose songs that stand out from the rest. My personal favorite tracks on the EP were “Panini” and “Bring U Down” but I’d say to listen to the whole thing because it’s so short.  

Final thoughts

As with most music fans, I didn’t really take Lil Nas X very seriously after first hearing “Old Town Road”. I thought it was just another meme song that would be dead within a few weeks, just like all of the others before it. Obviously that didn’t happen and Nas is really out here with a number one Billboard hit that is about to tie the all time record for most weeks at the top.

Once Lil Nas X announced this EP, I was actually pretty excited to see what he could bring to the table. I heard the “Panini” and “Rodeo” snippets when he previewed them on Instagram and was impressed, but I didn’t hear any of his other snippets.

After listening to the full EP more than a few times, I can say that I’m impressed with what Lil Nas X has given us here. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it is a good start to a hopefully prosperous career for him. He showed us that he’s really with the multiple genre music creation and that it actually works for him. Lil Nas X isn’t just a meme and I think he’s here to stay, at least for a little bit. If you like what you heard from his EP, be on the lookout for his debut album coming soon.    

Final Score: 7.3/10    

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images in this piece.

Opinion: YG is starting to fall off hard

Yeah, you read the title right. And before all of you YG fans get pissed at me and swear to never read my writing again, hear me out. As much as it pains me to say it, YG’s last two albums have not been up to par with what we’ve come to expect from him. He was once a rising young voice with two critically acclaimed and near-classic status albums but has shrunk down to making generic west coast bangers with no substance in less than a year. How did we get to this point?

2009-2016

As most everyone knows, YG broke out with his 2009 single “Toot It and Boot It” and signed with Def Jam Recordings. He released many mixtapes and then finally released his debut album My Krazy Life in early 2014. The album garnered critical acclaim from critics and fans alike for its narrative qualities, catchy lyrics, and tough beats. It is often called a modern west coast classic.

Following the success of My Krazy Life, YG began working on the follow-up album that would eventually be called Still Brazy. In the leadup to this album, he released “Twist My Fingaz”, “FDT”, and “Why You Always Hatin?”, which were all met with praise. Still Brazy was released in June 2016. The album was met with critical acclaim as well, giving YG two very well-received albums in a row. It seemed that he was on top of the world and could only go up from here.

2017-Present

2018 arrived with YG releasing his third studio album Stay Dangerous. The album was met with generally positive reviews from critics, but many fans considered it a drop down in quality from his previous two efforts. Reasons for dislike included meaningless lyrics and songs that didn’t really fill a purpose. 9 months after the release of Stay Dangerous, YG released his latest album 4Real 4Real. The album was supported by the singles “Stop Snitchin” and “Go Loko”.

But how is he falling off?

I honestly can’t believe that the guy who made “Meet The Flockers”, “Sorry Momma”, “Who Shot Me?”, and “FDT” is the same guy who made “Handgun” and “Stop Snitchin”. It’s such a crazy drop off in quality to me.    

If you have yet to listen to My Krazy Life and Still Brazy, please do so ASAP. They are certified classic west coast albums and some of YG’s best work yet. Once you listen to those albums, check out a few tracks from Stay Dangerous and 4Real 4Real. You will see the stark contrast between the first two and two most recent albums in his discography.

My Krazy Life and Still Brazy gave us a version of YG that was on a mission to prove that he belongs. His next two albums give off cocky vibes seem to show that YG thinks that he’s made it and there is nothing left to prove. I’m not even trying to say that Stay Dangerous and 4Real 4Real are super bad albums, because they aren’t. They just made me think that YG has become super lazy with what he deems worthy to put out.

What’s your point?

It was so cool to me listening to My Krazy Life for the first time and feeling like I was actually in the hood with YG doing the things that he did. I also loved the politically-charged nature of Still Brazy and the amount of passion that he put into that album. The problem now is that YG seems to think that he can just pump out album after album until he gets bored and decides to retire. He doesn’t seem to understand that most fans would rather wait a couple years between releases if it means something truly special is on the way.

Honestly, I can proudly say that I own both My Krazy Life and Still Brazy in physical format as well as some of his merchandise from a show I went to in the past. But I sincerely think that YG needs to reevaluate where he wants to head in the future and what kind of legacy he wants to leave behind, because his latest music isn’t doing it for me and a lot of other fans.  

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images in this piece.

“IGOR” review: Tyler, The Creator creates one for the ages

I recently wrote a piece about why Tyler The Creator completely finessed his way into the position he has in the rap game. If you are confused as to what I mean by that, you should check out that post before reading this one. It details his rocky rise to stardom and the progression that he has shown since jumping onto the scene 10 years ago.

Tyler first announced his new album IGOR in early May 2019 after a report leaked that showed he had an album on the way before June 1st. The rollout for the album consisted of him dropping snippets of some of the tracks on YouTube and Instagram as a way to hype the fans up. He also dropped a few merch packs containing some interesting items for those that are interested.  

Needless to say, the album has finally materialized and I cannot wait to jump right in and listen. Here is my review of Tyler The Creator’s latest album IGOR.  

First impressions

  • The Good: On my first listen through this album, I was honestly stunned at how sonically pleasing it is. Each track has different musical elements that are very pleasing to the ear. Tyler’s flow is as crisp as ever and he even breaks new ground on this album. I’m really enjoying the project thus far.
  • The Bad: The only knock I can see is that a few of the tracks sound a bit similar. There are some tracks that mainly consist of very heavy base with other little elements in the background. These tracks are good in their own way, but may be slightly boring to those who don’t like that sound.  

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: As I mentioned, the flows on each track are very good and fit the vibes very well. The subject matter is interesting in itself and discusses themes such as love, relationships, and life in general. There is also a decent amount of singing sprinkled into the project. It really compliments the rapping and makes the tracks stand out even more.
  • The Bad: The only negative I can see in this category is that there aren’t too many new themes discussed. We’ve heard Tyler talk about love and his relationships before, but it doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the project. It is just a small knock on an otherwise exceptional album.   
  • Score: 8/10

Beats

  • The Good: To put it simply, the beats are the best part of this project. Each one has its own distinct feel while also sticking to a constant theme. They just work and sound great. The entire album was produced by Tyler, as with most of his previous work, but something feels different. T got to a new level on 2017’s Flower Boy, but I think he leveled his production game up even further on IGOR. We also see him explore some new sounds yet again, which is always a highlight of his projects.  
  • The Bad: As mentioned in the intro, a few of the tracks sound similar in terms of the beat and that may annoy some listeners. Even if they do sound a bit similar, that does not ignore the fact that they sound great and carefully crafted.  
  • Score: 9/10

Replayability

  • The Good: Over the course of his career, Tyler The Creator has been working very hard to make his projects more concise and cut out extra tracks that may not be necessary. He does just that on this album due to it clocking in at 12 tracks. The project has no filler and each track brings its own vibes due to the different sounds. This will be an album that ages well due to the diversity it contains.  
  • The Bad: If you aren’t a big Tyler fan, you may see this as just another one of his random sounding albums. And admittedly, it is random sounding at times. But that isn’t a bad thing if each track is quality and has a place on the album. I recommend that every hip hop fan give this album at least one listen.  
  • Score: 8.5/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

As I wrote in my previous post about Tyler The Creator, it’s crazy to me that he released Bastard nearly 10 years ago. He has shown so much growth in those 10 years and it is very admirable. On IGOR, he continued with that growth in the best way possible.

What I already love so much about this new album is how it stands out all on its own among his discography. None of these songs sound like anything else that Tyler has ever made and will probably ever make again. He said that this album is supposed to stand out from the rest and he definitely delivered on that. Here is what he said on Instagram the day before the album came out:  

Besides maybe Flower Boy, IGOR is easily the best album that Tyler The Creator has ever made. It simply shows a beautiful artistic progression while also allowing him to be true to who he has been all along. To put it simply, an album is great when it actually serves its purpose and delivers on all of your expectations and more.

IGOR has the ability to evoke many emotions and helps you to think deeply about love, relationships, and what it all means to love. That’s what makes it a fantastic album. It is the best album from a primarily hip hop artist thus far in 2019. It stands out among Tyler’s discography and among the work that his peers are creating due to the creativity and experimental sounds it contains. I would highly recommend giving this project a shot because it isn’t your average everyday album, it truly is something special.

Final Score: 8.8/10    

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any images in this piece.

Tyler, The Creator finessed the entire rap game

Is it just me or is it crazy to think that it has already been 10 years since Tyler The Creator released his debut project Bastard? Well believe it or not, it is true. In that 10 year period, Tyler has become one of the most polarizing and controversial hip hop artists ever. From my experience, you either hate him or love him and there really isn’t an in-between. But no matter what your opinion of Tyler is, you have to admit that he is one hell of an artist that completely finessed the music industry.

Beginnings

Tyler The Creator, born Tyler Okonma, has loved music since he was a kid. He co-founded the creative collective Odd Future in 2007 and began releasing music in 2008 with The Odd Future Tape. A year later, he released his debut project Bastard. The project was met with critical acclaim by fans and critics. Meanwhile it was disliked by older audiences due to some vulgar and disturbing themes that it contained.

Following Bastard, Tyler released his first studio album Goblin in 2011. This album continued the concept of Tyler talking to his fictional therapist Dr. TC. The therapy sessions can be found on many tracks on the album. Goblin was another project that was loved by fans and critics for the most part, but disliked by older audiences. The project was considered horrorcore by many listeners, which made Tyler quite upset as he didn’t see it that way.      

Artistic progression

After releasing Goblin, it seemed like Wolf Haley was ready to make a change for the better in his career. A few years after releasing his debut album Goblin, Tyler released Wolf. Many saw this album as a great step up in maturity, cohesiveness, and subject matter compared to his previous releases. The project still had an interesting narrative concept like his previous releases and showed tinges of the type of horrorcore-esque vibes that made him popular in the first place, but it was something new entirely. He stepped up both is producing abilities and his rapping that made for a great project. It was met with generally positive reviews from critics and sold the most albums of his career thus far.

2015’s Cherry Bomb was another step in a new direction for Tyler. The album was his most varied and experimental work yet due to the many different genres it incorporates. Critics praised the album for the layered production it had as well as the increased maturity displayed by Tyler. Common knocks on the project include subpar rapping on some tracks as well as the feeling that a bit of the project was simply thrown together. The album didn’t have as much commercial success as his previous efforts simply due to it being a surprise release.

If you are a fan of Tyler The Creator, 2017 was almost certainly a great year for you. That year we received perhaps his best project yet in Flower Boy. The project was universally praised by critics upon release. It was given an average of 84/100 based on 18 reviews that were written. The project was highly praised because of how vulnerable Tyler was, how cohesive the project was, and how beautifully composed each track was.. It is widely agreed upon that this is his best album yet and even received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album for it.

What’s next?

2019 is looking like another great year for Tyler and his fans. He recently announced the follow-up to Flower Boy in the form of his new album IGOR. Not much is known about the project at this point other than the title, cover art, and snippets of two songs. The album will release on May 17th, 2019 so check it out on streaming services and come back to kuteradio.org for an IGOR album review!        

What’s your point?

To put it frankly, Tyler The Creator wasn’t supposed to make it this far. He was one of the notorious bad guys in hip hop at a young age. Some of his critics even went as far as to say that Eminem already did what he was trying to do and did it way better than Tyler could ever think of doing it.

In response to the harsh criticism, Tyler showed maturity on each subsequent release in his career and proved everybody wrong. He is now considered by many as one of hip hop’s brightest stars at the ripe old age of 28. Tyler The Creator absolutely finessed the rap game and proved that no matter how you start something, there is always a way to get to where you want to be. He is the shining example of doing it your own way and creating a legacy that inspires people to truly be themselves.  

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images in this piece.

“CrasH Talk” review: ScHoolboy Q hits listeners with interesting new album

The day is finally here. We’ve been blessed with a new ScHoolboy Q project for the first time in almost three years. I couldn’t be more excited to dive into this album as Q has been able to maintain a spot in my personal top 10 hip hop artist list since he first dropped Oxymoron in 2014. 2016’s Blank Face LP may be a tough project to follow up, but myself and many others believe that ScHoolboy Q can without a doubt do it.    

If you are wondering why it took so long for CrasH Talk to come out, there are a variety of reasons that may have contributed to the long time period between releases. As I wrote in my ScHoolboy Q album wishlist piece, label politics and personal issues may have had an influence on this project’s release date. Regardless, this project has been quite hyped up by the hip hop community and we’re all ready to hear it.

Let’s jump right into CrasH Talk and see what Q has for us in 2019.

First impressions

  • The Good: During my listen to this album, it is quite different than any other ScHoolboy Q project. It has a mix of different styles during different parts of the album and it is pretty interesting. We’ll see how it ends up sitting with me during additional listens.  
  • The Bad: The only negative I see on the project is that some of the songs feel a bit generic and uninspired. For example: the ones that sound exactly like they are reaching for radio play (“CHopstix and “Lies” specifically). If you listen to Q for party bangers, these tracks right here are great for that. They aren’t terrible songs but they do bring the overall quality of the project down a bit in my opinion.   

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: A staple of most of Q’s past music was his amazing and unique storytelling ability. Luckily we see a decent amount of deep and conceptual songs on this project. These tracks really shine and show his value in the hip hop community. His flow is impeccable on most of the tracks and we even hear a few new flows here and there.  
  • The Bad: As I mentioned before, a few tracks are quite generic and have the same old subject matter as a lot of the popular rap songs out right now. The flows are good on these songs but the actual lyrics don’t stand out from other songs out there right now. I respect that Q went with a bit of a different direction but I’d much rather hear more personal tracks from him in the future again.  
  • Score: 7.7/10

Beats

  • The Good: The best thing about this project is that we see ScHoolboy Q stick to the kinds of beats that he is good over while also trying out some new styles. While we didn’t get to hear him over soulful beats like I wrote in my album wishlist piece, I can still say that the beats are very good on this album and they met my expectations.
  • The Bad: Man, I really don’t understand why every rapper (even the non-trap artists) feels the need to make trap bangers on their album. If they have a great niche sound that works for them and makes them sound great, maybe they should stick with that the majority of the time. Q used a few too many trap beats on this album for my taste and I think it makes the quality suffer a bit.  
  • Score: 7/10

Replayability

  • The Good: Another great thing that I’ve found about this new album is that it is quite a pleasant and fairly short listen. It clocks in at 39 minutes over a perfect number of 14 tracks. I like that it was kept more concise instead of including bonus tracks that ruin the pacing.  
  • The Bad: To be honest, if you aren’t a fan of ScHoolboy Q making trap bangers you might not like this album or want to listen to it more than once. I understand that label pressure may have pushed Q to include these types of songs on the project, so I can’t fault him too much for it. I still enjoy the project but I understand that others may not in the end.  
  • Score: 7.4/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

It is absolutely crazy that we had to wait almost three years for this album to come out. It feels like just yesterday that Blank Face LP came out. A lot has changed in Q’s life and we can see that reflected in his music.

I’m not disappointed with this album. In fact, I actually quite enjoyed it. It is by no means perfect and it has a few tracks that I feel didn’t really need to be included, but mostly it is really good. Q tried something new in terms of what beats he rapped over and the artists that he enlisted for features. He says that he is happy with this album and that this is a new phase in his career and I must say that I am too. It is always good to see an artist step out of their comfort zone while also continuing to do what they are good at.

Honestly, I would consider this project a bit of a regression from the near-masterpiece that was Blank Face LP but it was pretty good nonetheless. If you like Q you should mostly like this album and if you’re just getting into him I’d suggest you check out Oxymoron and Blank Face LP before this project. Overall, I think that this album is solid and is one of the best of this slow 2019 thus far. It won’t blow your socks off, but if you like ScHoolboy Q you should like this project and I would recommend checking it out.  

Final Score: 7.4/10

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any images in this piece.