“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.

Sportsmanlike Conduct April 29th – Interview with Gary Neeleman

During this week’s episode of Sportsmanlike Conduct, join hosts Bennett Johnson and Damon Ngo as they interview Gary Neeleman. Gary, an accomplished journalist and diplomat, shares his insights on the media world, his experience working in Brazil, and the sports influence his family has on Utah.

Intro and Outro Music by: Brooke Johnson

Concert Review: The Faim

April 16th, 2019 @ The Depot

Normally, on a Tuesday night during the heat of finals, you can find me cramming textbooks and coffee in a dark corner of the library.  Last Tuesday, though, I was at The Depot in the heart of a crowd, dancing away my assignments, just to anxiously remember them in the morning.

Back in Black

The first thing I noticed as I arrived to the Depot was the long line filled with jet black swooping hairstyles, ripped skinny jeans and more fake leather than a Harley Davidson store. I should have expected this, considering the opener was Andy Black, lead singer of the infamous emo punk band Black Veil Brides. I changed and grew out of that phase, and I assumed others had too. Clearly I was wrong. It was at this point I knew the crowd had not come for The FAIM. But by the end of the show, would leave with them.

The FAIM

If Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco had a love child, it would be The FAIM. Still, their music is a melting pot of musical diversity, every song bringing a new sound. Lead singer Josh Raden stunned the crowd with his polished melodic voice that is even better live than on the recording. They started with “My Heart Needs to Breathe”. A jumping, pumping bop of a song and the perfect opener. Within seconds they had the crowd dancing along with them, with a few singing along as well. Truth be told, I can’t remember what came after the first song. It didn’t matter because all of their songs carried the same hyped up intensity as the opening act, a feat not many bands can achieve.

The FAIM didn’t falter for a minute from start to finish. Their set was mesmerizing and passionate. Intoxicating the crowd, holding them captive, and making them beg for more. Songs “Amelie” and “The Saints and Sinners” feature entertaining rock riffs and a catchy drum beat paired with dark lyrics. Ambitious and unpredictable with their shows, The FAIM create an ultimate alt-rock vibe. I caught up with bassist/keyboardist, Stephen Beerkens. He told me that every night is different, no show is the same. This is a band that truly loves what they do and are humbled and full of love for fans. Night after night The FAIM rises to the stage to live their dream and it shows.

Song review: “Crowd-Pleaser” by CJSleeves

Here at K-UTE Radio, we love showing support to local artists because we believe in the beautiful art that they create on a constant basis. One of the artists that K-UTE has written about before is Provo, Utah artist CJSleeves. If you’re unfamiliar with him and would like to know more, check out K-UTE’s Artist Spotlight of CJSleeves from February 2019.

New music

Sleeves has released two tracks thus far in 2019, January’s “Paean (Alright)” and February’s Mac Miller tribute track “Objects In Youforia”. But it’s April now and CJSleeves is ready to release some more new music.

He has prepared a new single to be released very soon called “Crowd-Pleaser”. Sleeves is very confident in the track and says that “It speaks on the never-ending struggle artists go through to make the music that they want to make, and the music that people want to hear”. Topics included in the song are things that artists usually want from creating music (recognition, respect, for people to recognize the meaning in my songs) as well as money and clothes.

Song review

After listening to this track numerous times, I can confidently say that I really like it. The concept behind it is pretty unique and it is executed very well. The beat is also very quality and CJSleeves flows on it very well. His flow on this one is reminiscent of early Logic and that isn’t a bad thing at all. To be honest, this track is an earworm and you’ll probably find yourself repeating “they want it like like like that” in your head for the rest of the day, just like I have.

Just like most music that comes out, this track isn’t perfect. I think it could benefit from the incorporation of more melodies and maybe another verse. I really like the concept and would like to see it fleshed out even more. That isn’t a huge knock, but just something that I noticed.   

Overall, I’d definitely recommend that you listen to this track. It showcases the talent of one of Utah’s up-and-coming hip hop artists. It is not perfect, but it is very good and is a huge earworm which is never a bad thing. I look forward to CJSleeve’s next track as well as a full project in the future to see how he can flow over multiple songs!

Rating: 8 out of 10

If you like what you heard on this track, you can follow CJSleeves on Instagram @cjsleeves to keep up with his dope output!   

Sportsmanlike Conduct April 22nd – What About the Refs?

Join hosts Damon Ngo and Bennett Johnson on this week’s episode of Sportsmanlike Conduct for a discussion about referees in sports. Bennett and Damon discuss their thoughts on how we can hold refs more accountable for their mistakes, and wonder why there aren’t more female referees in male sports.

Intro and Outro Music By: Brooke Johnson