ScHoolboy Q’s ‘Blank Face LP’ Is Still One Of The Best Of 2016
[Album]: Blank Face LP
[Artist]: ScHoolboy Q
Overall Grade/Rating: 9/10
Subject Matter: B
Replay Value: A-
Fav Songs: Big Body, By Any Means, Groovy Tony / Eddie Kane, TorcH
Least Fav Songs: Overtime
Play or Nay: Play
TDE’s ScHoolboy Q managed to combined elements of his last two albums: Oxymoron and Habits & Contradictions. It’s got some mainstream appeal, but still has Q with both feet firmly planted in gangsta rap. From start to finish, virtually every song on the album is un-skippable, even if some songs are better than others. ScHoolboy did not come to play around this time. The album’s production is certainly one of its strongest elements, if not *the* strongest.
Songs like “Los Awesome” from Oxymoron standout as odd, for sure. Something that Q doesn’t necessarily sound good on. That type of pop-like production doesn’t suit him well, but that problem does not exist on Blank Face LP. Even when he brings in fellow west coast artist Tyler, the Creator on a song like “Big Body” for the production, it’s done so ridiculously well. Something that funky and west coast, Q finds the perfect way to ride the beat and make it work. It proves that Tyler is a pheonomonal producer and Q actually made a better version of “Los Awesome” with this track.
The beat-flips, in songs like “Groovy Tony / Eddie Kane,” are immaculate. Every song is able to sound completely different from the one that preceded it or comes after it. From the very first track, “TorcH,” ScHoolboy Q has your head nodding. It’s got an incredibly fun and infectious and anthemic hook. The song hits hard, feels a bit dark, even a little spooky – but that’s actually perfect. Even the album artwork looks a bit creepy. It matches the tone of the entire album, as Q takes us on a fun yet dangerous ride through his mind. And it features some pretty stellar production.
So many of these songs are meant to be played in your car with the volume turned all the way up. The album takes a break every now and then with a song that isn’t quite as hype as the rest. In that way, the flow of the album works quite nicely and does not wear out its welcome.
There are great features scattered all throughout this 17-track project. Kanye West and Jadakiss just steal the songs they are featured on with their verses. E-40 also pops up on the track “Dope Dealer,” and delivers a pretty hilarious set of bars. Lance Skiiiwalker fits nicely on the slow-paced and smooth “Kno Ya Wrong.”
ScHoolboy makes his stories regarding his drug dealing past, to how he feels about the current state of the hood and gang violence, extremely interesting to listen to. “JoHn Muir” and “Black THougHts” being perfect examples. And he’s able to just wild out like he always does and make you bob your head to it. For many, this serves as a fantastic improvement on his last project. Blank Face definitely one of the best hip hop albums of 2016, and one of the more memorable albums in general for this year.