yellow vinyl version, limited to 2000 - Five albums deep, ScHoolboy Q has amassed a reputation as one of hip-hop’s most reliable acts. The prestige of TDE would not be so lofty were it not for his presence in the mix, which speaks to his quiet status as a visionary. Albums like Oxymoron and Blank Face showcased the depth of his artistry, though they ultimately raised the dreaded bar of expectation. Such is often the curse, revealing a bittersweet reality: delivering strong work can ultimately have diminishing returns. In hip-hop, fortune tends to favor the tortured, with many an opus coming from a place of personal turmoil and depression. What then might happen when an artist reaches a well-earned peace of mind?
The product of two scrapped efforts, ScHoolboy Q’s CrasH Talk feels unapologetic in a sense. Unabashedly designed as the album he intended to make in his heart of hearts, a sense of comfort becomes evident within the opening tandem of “Gang Gang” and “Tales.” A veteran in the game, Q’s technical prowess keeps his new music compelling, if occasionally underdeveloped from a structural perspective. A consistent adherence to brevity highlights his brilliant ear for sonic transitions, but it presents a small window for his ideas to fully gestate. Despite that, Q’s reflections on past experiences never feel dull, a testament to his prowess as a storyteller and penchant for vivid imagery. “The pigs been on us, my heart been skipping, I lost religion, my nine ain't perfect,” he raps on “Tales.” “A star is born, sometimes a drive-by needed.” There’s a lack of urgency to his tone, softened by the presence of hindsight; it’s not unlike revisiting a suspense film in which your favorite character emerges unscathed. He’s survived the struggle, bounced back from a crippling depression, and gained a newfound perspective.
|A4||Numb Numb Juice||1:47|
|B4||Die Wit Em||3:09|