Schoolboy Q displays consciousness on ‘Blank Face’

After a two-year hiatus, a slow down due to a promethazine issue, and confusion among the masses with regard to album covers and artwork, West Coast-TDE affiliate Schoolboy Q released his second commercial album, Blank Face on July 8, 2016. The album is a follow-up to his first album, Oxymoron, which was released in 2014 and recently went platinum due to new regulations set by RIAA.

Blank Face is sitting at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 chart with 73,935 album units pushed, 51,000 albums sold and 27 million streams so far. Not bad for a guy who wanted to stop rapping altogether after his first project.

Schoolboy Q has shown his versatility in past projects, but he took it up a notch with Blank Face. On the intro track “TorcH,” you hear a chorus of voices all saying, “Blank face,” and this is followed up by a depiction of raw reality that Schoolboy Q has experienced in South Central Los Angeles throughout his 29-year existence.

“Lord Knows,” featuring Swizz Beatz and “That Part,” featuring Kanye West are typical Schoolboy Q in his finest form, but on “Kno Ya Wrong,” featuring Lance Skiiiwalker there is an entire shift sonically. Split into two pieces of production, on one part, Schoolboy Q borrowed some of his flow from one of his mentors from the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol Dirty Bastard. On the second part, Q and Lance go back and forth through their verses while being backed by the angelic sounds of Terrace Martin on the saxophone and dirty guitar riffs that permeate the ambiance.

“WHateva U Want,” featuring Candice Pillay and “Big Body,” featuring Tha Dogg Pound is pure G-funk gold which has returned to the forefront of West Coast hip-hop over the past 10 years.

Fellow TDE artist SZA’s beautiful vocals accompany Q’s hearty delivery on “Neva Change.”  This is one of those feel-good tracks that has that backyard barbecue feel while still super tough at the same time.

“Black THougHts,” sounds like a Herbie Hancock masterpiece infused with a small room backbeat. Schoolboy Q’s flow is choppy and subdued while Kendrick Lamar makes a guest appearance through the background vocals on this specific track.

“Blank Face,” featuring creative maestro Anderson .Paak is impactful even though there is no beat that’s attached to the guitars and vocal shouts. The last track, “Tookie Knows II,” featuring Traffic and TF, is an ode to gang life while explaining the difficulties of being Black and funneled into the justice system. Schoolboy has expressed an affinity with Stanley “Tookie” Williams, the co-founder of the Crips who was executed in 2005.

If Oxymoron cracked the door open for Schoolboy Q, then Blank Face has torn the door off the hinges. This project was pure L.A. throughout and I encourage everyone to purchase it.

Purchase Schoolboy Q’s “Blank Face EP,” right here on iTunes

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