After the chart-topping success of his first major-label debut album Oxymoron, ScHoolboy Q, also known as Groovy Q, has faced high expectations with the recent release of Blank Face LP. Luckily, the West Coast rapper has not disappointed. Never sticking to one sound, ScHoolboy Q is a hard, gritty rapper with an unique vibe that sets him apart from his East Coast brothers. ScHoolboy Q is also able to masterfully “break the rules” with rapping, mixing his verses and, at times, taking a more aggressive take to his tracks. ScHoolboy Q has mentioned in interviews that he views rappers who play by the rules as “boring.” Through Groovy Q’s verses, we enter a twisted path through the depth of his mind, filled with dark revelations and hardcore bars.
The question we must face is this: does Blank Face LP surpass Oxymoron? Or do they both excel in different degrees? Oxymoron was a debut major-label album that shook the foundations of hip-hop in 2014, successfully topping charts and becoming one of the MVP’s of Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). After the release of Blank Face LP on July 8th, the album reached number two on the Billboard 200 and was the highest selling album in its debut week. Blank Face LP reveals a maturity through ScHoolboy Q’s music as he samples different sounds and tests the loyalty of his fans while tackling various elements of hip-hop. Oxymoron consisted of all hits and club-bangers; the memorable tracks “Man of the Year,” “Break the Bank,” and “Collard Greens” continue to be fan-favorites, but supporters can appreciate Groovy Q’s ability to make music that is not only mainstream-friendly, but also true to himself and the struggles he has faced throughout his life. Growing up from the tough streets of “Hoover Street,” ScHoolboy Q is able to move past his mistakes and focus on today’s issues. Weaving dark, haunting stories that reveal a more “otherside of the tracks” outlook, ScHoolboy Q is able to learn how to cope with his hellish upbringing through Blank Face LP.
The album is composed of a lengthy 17 songs, with a surprising 11 features. Normally rappers are criticized for filling up their album with too many features and not enough solo tracks, but ScHoolboy Q does not allow the featuring artists voices overpower his own. Featuring Kanye West, E-40, Vince Staples, fellow TDE labelmate SZA, Miguel, and various others, the album caters to all the highs and low of summer. Three themes are relevant in the album: mellow, gritty tracks, club-bangers that help Groovy Q rise quickly to the top, and smooth, catchy songs that will help sway the skeptics. “Gangsta” rappers are consistently criticized for solely catering to one specific audience, but rappers like ScHoolboy are able to provide for various audiences and still hold on to his “gangsta” rapper image.
The more somber, thought-provoking tracks that takes us to the tough streets of LA are: “TorcH,” “Lord Have Mercy,” “Groovy Tony/ Eddie Kane,” “Str8 Ballin,” “Black THougHts,” and “Blank Face.” The track “Kno Ya Wrong,” though mellow, is a moment of realization for ScHoolboy Q as he realizes the faults in his past. Currently playing on any radio station, “THat Part” features Kanye West, and together they are an explosive force. Though not as lyrical as his other songs, “THat Part,” “Ride Out,” “Tootie Knows II,” “JoHn Muir,” “Dope Dealer,” and “Big Body” are club-bangers. [They’re] fun party songs that can–and will–get everyone out of their seats. Momentarily breaking away from the hard beats, ScHoolboy Q slows it down with the haunting melodies of “Neva CHange,” “WHateva U Want,” and the sensual seduction of “Overtime.”
The Blank Face World Tour has also been announced. The rapper will be performing throughout the rest of the States and I am extremely excited that he will be playing in New York City. Blank Face LP is another win for Top Dawg Entertainment, and I cannot wait to see the follow-up.
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ScHoolboy Q Tops Charts Again with ‘Blank Face’ LP: Photo provided by consequenceofsound.net and thestashed.com