Album wishlist: ScHoolboy Q

Kyle Atkinson

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If you are at all familiar with hip hop label Top Dawg Entertainment, you’re most likely aware that they have one of the most coveted artist rosters out there. Their most popular artist is the amazing Kendrick Lamar, but you’ve probably heard of some of their other artists including Hoover Street’s own ScHoolboy Q.

Q was one of the biggest stars in hip hop just a few years ago when he dropped his 2016 album Blank Face LP. The album spawned hits including “THat Part” ft. Kanye West and “By Any Means”, along with many more great tracks. But now it’s 2019 and aside from a few features here and there and appearances on the TDE-produced Black Panther Soundtrack, Q has been super quiet.

On March 14th, Q finally released a new solo track after almost three years. The new track is called “Numb Numb Juice” and it is assumed to be included on his yet-to-be-titled fifth studio album, which is expected to drop soon. As always when artists are about to release a new project, it is fun to speculate what kinds of tracks and themes will be on it and what we would like to be on it. Here are some of the things I think that Q should/will include on his new studio album.

Length

Generally the sweet spot in regards to number of tracks for albums is anywhere between 10-17 tracks. Luckily Q has been quite good at staying within this guideline, seeing that 2014’s Oxymoron and 2016’s Blank Face LP were 12 and 17 tracks respectively. As with many projects I’ve reviewed in the past, I usually knock them if they are too long simply because that means there are at least a few filler songs that don’t need to be included.

To avoid having any filler, my preferred length for Q’s latest album would be around 12-14 tracks, so as to keep a collective theme and tell a more cohesive story. This isn’t a strict suggestion simply because we’ve seen albums in the past go over this amount of tracks and still be perfectly fine, but I think it would benefit the album’s possible award consideration if it is more cohesive and slightly shorter.  

Subject matter

In the past Q’s subject matter has been one of the best things about his music. Many of his album cuts are so deeply personally and still hold up today after many listens. With that being said, this is the category thatScHoolboy Q can truly shine in on his upcoming release. In the time period between the release of Blank Face LP and now, so much has happened in Q’s life publically and I’m sure privately.

One of the biggest things that I’m looking for Q to talk about on his new album is the tragic death of one of his closest friends Mac Miller. If you were unaware, Q and Mac had one of the best feel-good bromances in hip hop while also creating amazing music together (this video is a classic and is very representative of the type of close friendship that they had). Miller’s death was another reason that this album was pushed back according to Q and his label.

More things that we could hear ScHoolboy Q talk about on this project include his daughter growing up, his family life, his homies, his street experiences, and much more. His third album Oxymoron was the closest thing that Q has delivered to us in regards to a concept album, so I think it would be good for him to go somewhat in that direction on this release.

Beats

On every release so far, it seems like the quality of the beats Q has rapped over has increased exponentially. That may or may not be due to his major label backing, but regardless I’m looking for another increase in beat quality.

In the past Q has proven that he can ride almost any type of beat, so I’d like to hear some variety on this new project. I’d like to hear him over some soulful Madlib type production with a lot of samples. That could potentially be an amazing standout track.

Another thing that ScHoolboy Q does amazingly well is choose great beats to tell a story over. His track “Blessed” (which is in my top 5 Q tracks) is a perfect example of this. The beat has a haunting vocal sample in the background as well as some stellar verses from Q and Kendrick Lamar. This is the type of music that we need more of from Q and I’m confident that he can deliver it, without a doubt.

What do you want from Q’s next album?

It would honestly be foolish if I expected Q to incorporate everything I suggested into his album, but I think the things I discussed have the makings of a great album. Now that you’ve heard my ideas for his next album, I want to hear from you and see what you’d like to see from Q. Hit me up on Instagram @youngthuggamanekyle with your thoughts or leave a comment below!

Once ScHoolboy Q actually drops the album, be sure to check back here for my album review on it!

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