ScHoolboy Q’s ‘CrasH Talk’ is his take on Hip-Hop’s current state


Dylan Whybra, Asst. Managing Editor

2019 has been anticipated to be one of the better years for Hip-Hop. This is in the idea that many artists are expected to re-lease music including Kanye West, and J. Cole. Up to this point in the year though, there have been little to no artists of a higher caliber that have released music leading to an extremely dry start of the year for Hip-Hop. After hearing that ScHoolboy Q was gearing up to release music I was excited.
At this point critics have not received the album particularly well. They have all expressed disappointment in the fact that they don’t believe CrasH Talk is a trans-formative body of work for Q. It’s not, but it really doesn’t need to be. Q’s last album, Blank Face LP was Grammy nominated and thought to be the best of his albums to date making it exceedingly difficult to follow up. The album is being interpreted as something meant to be sonically unique and groundbreaking when that wasn’t the goal.
The best way I can describe this al-bum is that it’s ScHoolboy Q’s equivalent to Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. This is to say the artists aren’t trying to push boundaries, but adapt to the new forefront of the music genre that they have slowly taken more of a backseat in. So if instead this album is thought about in a way that you simply ask “How does this sound?” the answer I would give is “Pretty Good.”
CrasH Talk doesn’t open the best, it begins with the track Gang Gang. It doesn’t serve to do much except reiterate ScHoolboy Q’s participation in Los Ange-les gang relations. It’s a common theme throughout his music and something he uses to set the tone for the album. That being said it really isn’t a song I return to much and something I consider to be a low point on the album. The only other track that really doesn’t do much for me is Lies.
The song features other west coast artists Ty Dolla $ign & YG. The song isn’t as bad as much as boring, the artists fea-tured have a definite sound to them and I pretty much already knew how the song would sound before I heard it as Q seem-ingly disappeared on the track and plays a background role. While it’s never the goal to produce a song of this caliber, it’s really not that bad.
Other than that I see the album to have three different sounds of songs. The first and largest group are really high energy and upbeat songs. Included in this category is Chopstix (feat. Travis Scott), Numb Numb Juice, 5200, Die Wit Em & CrasH. The highlight of this group has to be 5200. While these are all good songs and have their place, 5200 is in a league of its own. The way it makes me feel when I hear it I just need to start moving. I don’t know what I’m doing, but be assured I’m going.
The next group of songs are more laid back and relaxed songs. While it doesn’t provide the same need to move, they have more simplistic instrumentals that allow one to concentrate on the content of Q’s lyrics. Songs in this category are Tales, Drunk (feat. 6LACK), Black Folk & Dan-gerous (feat. Kid Cudi). The standout track here has to be Dangerous. Kid Cudi has a fantastic hook here that just makes the feeling of floating around in space as Q contemplates different portions of his life. On his first verse Q raps:
Can’t get high enough to get over the hump, huh
How many friends around me helping me lose?
How many excuses until I’m ex-cused?
Shadow my morning, I ain’t dreaming it right
Ain’t no way a flower could bloom in the night
Family tried to warn me, couldn’t keep me away
‘Til I figure flying, I better escape
The last group of songs have a menacing and really dark sound mainly because of the production and how it’s mixed. Floating (feat. 21 Savage), Die Wit Em, Water (feat. Lil Baby) & Atten-tion. Attention sits around 3 minutes being one of the longer tracks on an album compiled of brief and easy to digest tracks. The song is similar to Dangerous as it is a reflection but Q goes about it in a more braggado-cious manner behind some menacing pro-duction to make a really interesting track. On the only verse on the song Q raps:
Favorite rapper Nas been told me that
I’m the best
Had a couple sessions with Dre, knew
I would win
Alchemist my favorite producer, and
he my friend
All this love from the greats put my pas-sion in pen
Let me tell you ’bout this story, when Quincy died, it had started
I left jail on house arrest and now ever since I’ve been starvin’
CrasH Talk comes off the high of a fantastic Grammy nominated album and has a ScHoolboy Q who had lost friends Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle while in the process of making this album. Despite this Q still delivers an album that is enjoyable throughout with interesting features from the legendary Kid Cudi to Q’s co-signs of 6LACK & Lil Baby. It may not be the album of the decade, but it gets the job done.