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.
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.
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
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
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
Even with the inclusion of so many trap-centric tracks, I actually enjoyed most of the album. The tracks that stand out the most from the rest would be “5200”, “Black Folk”, “CrasH”, and “Attention”.
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
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