ScHoolboy Q
Blank Face LP



by RaymondPelayo USER (36 Reviews)
July 16th, 2016 | 6 replies

Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Blank Face LP is a return to form for Schoolboy Q, proving to be his most cohesive and impassioned album so far

Blank Flace LP is straight gangsta. Raw and charismatic, Schoolboy runs through dark street narratives with menacing enthusiasm while also letting his persona dominate every shadow of this amazing 17-track ensemble. Not so much a concept album as a broad sweeping story told through individual set pieces conjoined together, Blank Face is a poignant statement from Q. Brimming with emotion and character, the West Coast rapper gives a remarkable performance.

And Schoolboy Q went in! At his best, Q can be tough, solemn and comedic, transitioning seamlessly through each persona. There are plenty of intriguing flow switches from frenetic bursts of rapping to rough melodic singing that keep the atmosphere engaging. Throughout, Q rattles off fully painted scenes of street hustling, probing the undying loyalty for a gang and that fidelity’s potential consequences. On tracks “TorcH” and “JoHn Muir,” Schoolboy Q will revel in his environment’s supply of drugs and violence with unapologetic swagger. The latter track the type of song for driving down palm-laden streets feeling coolly wicked.

Yet there will also be the contemplative “Lord Have Mercy” and the observational “Neva CHange,” spitting lines on the cyclical impoverishment and violence in his neighborhood, destroying the illusory self-mythology of the street hustler (you still livin’ with your mama/ 30 with no ambiton/ your kid got no pot to piss in) and calling out unpunished police brutality (they pull me out for my priors/ won’t let me freeze ‘fore they shoot/ you say that footage a liar). Schoolboy Q proves himself to be the darker counterpart to his Black Hippy co-member Kendrick Lamar; both give complex studies on gang psyches yet Q presents his musical studies in a bleaker fashion while actively partaking in the streets’ distorted actions. However, he narrates those same actions with deft criticism at times. He calls himself a deadbeat father on “Lord Have Mercy” and calls for an end to the destruction gang culture causes to neighborhoods on “Black THougHts” (Let’s put the rags down and raise our kids/ Let’s put the guns down and blaze a spliff). Because that is what is so admirable about his music as he continuously defies simple escapism, instead challenging the genre’s stereotypical perceptions to create three-dimensional renderings, tales of visceral realism.

As for the musical atmosphere on this album: I would gladly drown in the instrumentals on Blank Face LP. Live instrumentation is incorporated throughout, especially an organic and intricate electrical guitar. Schoolboy Q’s narratives ride over dark, brooding production, the electrical guitar bringing a benighted psychedelia to the album. “Groovy Tony/Eddie Kane” is twisted, sinister and haunted in sound, which also sports some beautifully spectral vocals toward the end that are both creepy and sweet, the accompanying subtle dips in production like somber wallows. The Tyler The Creator produced “Big Body” is fast-paced boogie entranced funk. There are also plenty of beat switches too that wind into each other at unexpected moments. All the musical elements feel deeply orchestrated and complexly layered together.

For those who were not satisfied with Oxymoron, Blank Face LP is much concerned with deep cuts, foregoing his last album’s focus on mainstream appeal and instead opting for more personal storytelling. Tracks on Blank Face LP share more of similarity to past songs “Hoover Street” and “Prescription/Oxymoron” than “Man of the Year.” “Overtime,” the basically record label mandated Miguel and Justin Skye feature, feels somewhat lopsided as it tries to recapture the radio sanctioned sound of Oxymoron’s “Studio.”

But there is a lot to love about this album. Even the cornucopia of incredible features from Anderson .Paak, Tha Dogg Pound, Kanye, and Vince Staples to the minor roles of SZA and Candice Pillay are enough to make eardrums explode with excitement. Beside them all is the album’s musical curator himself, Schoolboy Q, shining in every way possible with hard-hitting lyrical dexterity and subject matter to just his mere presence on every track. Legacy is hard to determine from the inadequate foothold of the present yet this album feels major in every way possible; it should quiet any dissention here and forever onward. Blank Face LP is Schoolboy Q’s most cohesive and impassioned record so far as he does not just conquer the steep hill of potential before him but exceeds it in phenomenal fashion.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
July 16th 2016


Album Rating: 5.0

return to form???????

July 17th 2016


Album Rating: 4.5

Looking at Habits and Contradictions to Oxymoron there was lowkey a drop in intensity (I actually really like Oxymoron but objectively speaking it's not his best). Plus Oxymoron was focused on commercial appeal, which doesn't necessarily mean bad but for an artist like Q the mainstream dropped him a level

July 28th 2021


Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review pos

July 28th 2021


Album Rating: 4.0

We need more fuckin Q

July 28th 2021


Album Rating: 5.0

He's gonna drop an album soon so I'm hype.

July 28th 2021


Album Rating: 5.0

Damn this is a great review. Pos'd

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