Published May 01, 2019Good news, ScHoolboy Q fans: he's still as menacing, off-kilter and creative as ever, maybe more so. But this time, he makes all those compelling elements easier to dance to.
Thankfully, any concerns that ScHoolboy Q might have stooped to awkward mainstream preening are quickly dashed, once you stop reading the track list and actually listen to CrasH Talk. Actually, ScHoolboy has surprisingly abundant chemistry with more pop savvy guests like Travis Scott and Ty Dolla $ign.
For instance "Drunk," which features Atlanta hotshot 6lack, is more earwormy than most pop chart toppers that garner more hype. The Scott assisted "CHopstix" meanwhile, is irresistibly catchy, thanks to that Houston heavyweight's glistening psychedelic hooks. The biggest standout of all, however, comes courtesy of Kid Cudi on "Dangerous." He grinds the instrumental with guitar riffs, before serving up a melodious chorus that somehow finds overlap between melancholy and euphoria.
ScHoolboy never shies away from that star power, however, instead spitting with palpable enthusiasm and adapting his cadences to suit each track — from his deliberate and unhurried bars on "Die Wit Em" to his bouncy swiftness on "CrasH." And the aptly titled "Water" finds this versatile MC flowing like liquid.
On top of all that, ScHoolboy also has impeccable taste in beats. "5200" boasts a deeply distinctive instrumental, with a riff falling somewhere between flute notes and the chirps of an old Nintendo. Its hi-hat samples, meanwhile, crackle in the background and ratchet up the tension. Then there's "Tales," which boasts gripping marching band percussion and wholly ominous keys.
"Tales" also features some of ScHoolboy's most poignant lines, such as: "Before I called you my friend, we shot the ones / Stress smoke in my blunt, I need the funds." Then, on "Black Folk," he goes grander, declaring "Who knew failure make you better? / My adversities done turned me to a killer." That earnestness makes the track a winner, while the grunts that he creatively ad libs put it well over the top.
From those raw, candid lyrics, to ScHoolboy's increasing pop acumen, CrasH Talk reveals many sides of an increasingly (and compellingly) unpredictable MC. (Top Dawg)