Review | ScHoolboy Q - CrasH Talk
It’s been a hot minute since we’ve heard from seasoned Californian ScHoolboy Q and with a pair of polarising singles, CrasH Talk was a mystery until the minute of its release.
A driving force behind TDE’s lofty status and grandmaster of his own gallivants, Schoolboy Q announces his presence in 2019 through his fifth album, CrasH Talk. However, it is not necessarily the triumphant announcement that Q and his fans were hoping for. It’s no secret that Q set the bar high following the critical and commercial success of his two previous albums. Oxymoron (2014) launched Q to a position of high prominence within the rap game, this was followed up by the Blank Face LP (2016), an album that was, and still is Q’s magnum opus.
In the simplest of explanations, CrasH Talk is inconsistent. Evidence for this conclusion could be found before the full album even dropped. The singles Q dropped appeared completely disconnected as if CrasH Talk would be a double album. With the first single Numb Numb Juice representing a more classical, street wise collection of hip hop, whilst the second single CHopstix would usher in a new age in Q’s music of spaced out, simplistic trap. Not only different stylistically, the singles in question also oppose each other in terms of quality. Numb Numb Juice was a pleasantly aggressive cut, that whilst short in length, was not short on themes and technique from Q as he manages to sound like a feature on his own song after a flow switch. However, CHopstix offered a depressingly basic and uninspired hook from Travis Scott and equally basic lyrics from Q (“I like them legs up like chopsticks” and “Beat the pussy up, stab at it.”) All in all, CHopstix felt like a bad Travis Scott song with Q as a feature coming by to drop some throwaway bars that ponder the sexiness of kitchen utensils.
The inconsistencies continued once a listener wrapped their ears around the whole album. It wouldn't be right to discredit some moments of brilliance on this album, such as the opening two tracks Gang Gang and Tales. Both tracks feature some the hardest lyrical content (“Talkin' shit but you ain't down to fool / Know no dudes that be on pace to lose / Meet my dawgs and what we 'bout to do”) on the album and the opening yell of “Whole lotta fucking gang shit” delivered by TDE stablemate Zacari sets a tone for the album that wouldn’t have been dulled if CHopstix wasn’t the third song in. Lies also comes in as an unlikely strong point. Whilst it is in essence a radio-focused track, it does a good job of being one. Dangerous is also a strong point, as Kid Cudi delivers a mellow and foreboding hook before truly unsettling yet suitable gyrating, chopped guitar chords back Q’s lyrics that focus on the perils of a modern day rapper's lifestyle.
However- time for the bad, or maybe just underwhelming. Drunk and Black Folk are okay songs, but lack the replay appeal that previous albums have shown. Floating is also a puzzling cut as Q’s flow is offset by 21 Savage’s choppy feature, interrupted a little too repeatedly by his trademarks ad-libs. Sure this album is worth a listen, and there are plenty of tracks to enjoy, but CrasH Talk is inconsistent in nature with some incredible highs and ugly, incoherent lows.
Best Song: Dangerous (feat. Kid Cudi)
Worst Song: CHopstix (feat. Travis Scott)