Thursday, May 17, 2012

Getting ScHooled

Many know ScHoolboy Q by association. He's known as the featured artist on the A$AP Rocky track "Brand New Guy" or as that guy who has something to do with Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment. After his first album Setbacks, his sophomore album Habits & Contradictions went from a free download to an iTunes purchase within a few days. With such a quick mark of accomplishment, ScHoolboy Q deserves to be known because he has a presence all his own.

With its trance-like "I'm so high even though I haven't smoked at all" style, head nodding is the most common effect on the listener throughout all tracks. And when one finds themselves nodding in agreement listening is soon to follow, which is what this album begs for - this is his coming out.

Thanks to more conscious tracks such as "Sacrilegious" and "Blessed," a song that encourages things to be put into perspective "really think about it could be worse my nigga," (is that a jab to Nicki's flow in the first few bars) you quickly realize not to write this album off as just any other "hip thug kid" album about money, drugs and hoes. The album's best asset is its utilization of the element of surprise. Each track has it's own unique sound embodying the story of each song. "Nightmare on Figg St." induces a fear not only with the hip-hop-ized horror movie theme and heady bass but also with lyrics such as "won't stop shootin' til you all red."

In stark contrast, "My Homie" in a type of musical pouring a forty out for a dead homie vibes along to cool tones and seductive beats. But to scare and to preach is by no means the intention of this album. Equally as successful (and earned) are the cocky, "suck dick, but she don't gimme no lip" hype tracks such as "Druggy Wit Hoes" and "Sexting," in which the "you only live once" mentality is glorified to the fullest extent.

The title says it all. Habits and Contradictions plays with the internal. It's a brief look into the life of a thug on his grind and while there are times that you may have heard this story before, the balance with which ScHoolboy Q tells his story helps you appreciate the unpredictable journey.

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