In 2016 ScHoolboy Q gave us Blank Face — an album that reflected on his troubled past with much introspection and newfound growth. Fast forward into 2019 and now he presents us with his latest album, CrasH Talk.
It’s a project that ignores all the blind spots and takes a coercive approach to find the good when life takes an unexpected turn. Still, he doesn’t care about his time tables. Moreso, CrasH Talk is all about the craft and changing it up.
An embodiment of himself and not others, CrasH Talk follows his lavish lifestyle and a proverbial phase. Though the rapper had some lemons tossed his way, he still managed to make a delectable concoction of music with fair amounts of sugar and spice.
In the same way, CrasH Talk‘s beat selection pours the listener a refreshing glass of guitar and piano riffs and drum kits. To top it off, CrasH Talk cruises into a sub-genre of West Coast rap, hip-hop, and trap.
Like his complexity, the artwork features a somber comic book-type animation of Schoolboy Q with a paper bag over his head and dollar bills on his hoodie. Interestingly, the album is an introduction course to ScHoolboy’s thugnificence.
“Gang Gang” speaks on his whip game, drug dealing days, and legendary status in the hood. Tactfully the beat infuses a dark organ, vibrant drum-kit, and sustained synth loop.
Really, the song is candid.
“Been popping, ah (Ah)/Hood legend, ah (Ah)/Chef, boiled it, ah (Ah)/Weight, curled it, ah (Ah)/Gang shit been hot (Ah)/Gang shit, get caught (Get got)/Gang shit, get dropped/Whip clean, dope boy, ah.”
Rolling in at 2:15, “Tales” instantly comes through the speakers. Just like its swift delivery, “Tales’” production goes in the same way with its drum line. Alongside is a distinct dark-toned piano chord that never changes.
In this song, ScHoolboy Q lets loose and speaks on his past life and drug dealing days. Strangely enough, he was even depressed at a point which isn’t apparent on the surface because he’s never spoken about it before.
“How many tears am I gon’ shed ’fore I go? Uh/The pigs been on us, my heart been skipping/I lost religion, my nine ain’t perfect/A star is born, sometimes a drive-by needed/My baby mama paid the bills, I ain’t have shit on the smoke/The homies tell me I’m a burden but never threw me a rope/They left me hanging on the corner, my whole life is my stash/One more strike, I’m with the lifers, split the fifty in half.”
“Chopstix” will probably cause your car to switch into its hydraulic function. The third track off of CrasH Talk wavers in some appeasing auto-tunes from Travis Scott, a drum-kit, and reverbs.
As ScHoolboy Q spits about his lust for women with #thickthighsthatsaveslives, Travis Scott makes a tie between her legs and chopsticks. Still, self-branding his gangster, ScHoolboy Q raps about how he’s validated to pop shit.
“I’m a high profile, hunnid mile, flex/Flyin’ down the aisle, blowin’ loud, flex/I got a bad habit with bad habits/Beat the pussy up, stab at it/Divin’ in like I’m mad at it/Secured the bag, I need all static, ayy.”
“Numb Numb Juice”
“Numb, Numb Juice” sticks with the times, using a trap approach to make the crowds go stupid. He sounds so different in this track that it doesn’t even seem like he’s the one rapping at first. Maybe it’s because of his Kendrick Lamar-influenced production and flow.
The bass is very intimidating and just jumps at you like its lyrics. On sight, ScHoolboy Q is ready to go and it’s guaranteed that the gun won’t jam.
“We gon’ slide ’em, we lined ’em, straight reclined ’em/Pistol grip, I got all kinds of, I’m not your driver.”
The fifth track “Drunk” uses elements of 1930s-era blues and jazz for its production along with a drum kit, hi-hats, and record scratches. Even though the duo isn’t really drunk and just a little buzzed — the slight slur in ScHoolboy Q’s voice might make the listener think otherwise.
As he tells us all about his family and personal losses, 6lack’s clear-cut, sooth vocality comes into play to add a sweet touch. While both speak on separate things — 6lack on “hitting-and-quitting” it and ScHoolboy Q on self-intoxication to get rid of the pain — you can almost hear a short-lived guitar chord and deep reverb.
“See the sirens pulling up, pigs on my ass, ayy/Even when the money come, gone way too fast, ayy/Why my grandma couldn’t live? Gone way too fast, ayy/Cousin murdered in the field, gone way too fast, ayy/Got a liver full of ‘yac, weed in the back, ayy/Got Cîroc for the hoes, chill on the stash, ayy/Uh, pass me the gas/488, stunt man, blast from the past.”
Derived from Ty Dolla $ign and YG’s authentic style, “Lies” has a subtle West Coast vibe for the artists to speak on the root of all evil — money. But the women they speak on also seem to place themselves in the same category.
Harmonious at most, Ty Dolla $ign sings the chorus “Stop tellin’ lies on me, that shit ain’t okay, hey, hey, hey/Lil’ bitch/You ain’t got no, you ain’t got no, you ain’t got no leverage.” All the while Schoolboy Q and YG speak on their experiences.
“Nine on my lap, I ain’t never play it safe/ I ain’t gotta rap to you niggas, been straight/You ain’t Q/Lying for the ‘Gram, bitch, you ain’t cute/Hate this, hate that, that ain’t cool/Said I did you dirty, but that ain’t true, ayy.”
Additionally, YG comes in on the second verse,
“You said I hit it raw, you lyin’/You said I ate them drawers, you lyin’/Reachin’ for the stars, you tryin’/The homegirls wanna beat your ass and now you hiding/I fucked you once, once enough/I beat it up, then left you stuck/We not in touch, you mad as fuck.”
The beat uses a bass guitar, drum-kit, harp, and even the clap effect to create the perfect orchestra.
For the seventh track, “5200,” a flute, low hitting drum-kit, and random “caw” sound effect, force the production to scream “Kendrick!”
Still upholding his gangsta quality, you’d think one of the TDE members would be on this track but ScHoolboy Q rides it solo as he speaks on “doing the most.”
Essentially the rapper just speaks on his stain.
“Ain’t no smut, no chatter on me/Money on me, hundred on me/Both got rocks, look better on me/Spaceship parked, no landin’ on me.”
“Black Folk” is more laid-back, using a boom-bap feel to keep the old heads enticed. The production is spacious and has an undertone of kick-drums and piano riffs. Thus carrying the weight of ScHoolboy Q’s emotion and the track’s melodious chorus.
In this song, the matter at hand is money and his talent, which seem to just be a waste. Despite all this, ScHoolboy Q keeps a positive demeanor because he “runs this” after all.
“I run this, I’d rather gun shit, I’ll hit the function/I’m basic, don’t wanna chase it, my talent wasted/I knows it, somehow I lost it, the way I folded/The black mind is where it started ’cause we was chosen/The water is where we crossed it and got to build it/With dreaming but lost the feeling, we stopped believing in, uh.”
Swag on max, “Floating” featuring 21 Savage makes you go Danny Phantom. The beat sneaks in with elevating piano keys that make you feel like you’re going through a ghost battle in a Pokémon video game.
It even has an undertone of heavy hitting kick drums that crawl under your skin. It seems like the two are in a haze because of a “ten-tone yellow pill.” Still, that doesn’t stop them from creating this banger.
Whilst ScHoolboy Q speaks on chasing his money and not these women, 21 Savage brings some light humor about how he’s doing the same and how his hater is just “a broke Ford Focus ass ni–a.”
To keep this energy are these lines from the duo, “The money I chase, the ‘Rari don’t break/You killing my pace, the Carti’ my face/A mil’ in my safe, now hand me that tape/Ten toes in the mud, who the plug getting wrapped?”
21 Savage adds,
“Can’t run the game ’round rappers (Straight up)/’Cause I hang around all robbers (On God)/Little nigga, do you got a problem? (What?)/Little nigga, we’ll come and solve it (Straight up)/Cash coming in, can’t stop it (21)/I’m running to the money, y’all jogging.”
“Dangerous” falls in as the tenth track with a distorted medley of dope sounds. Additionally, it is supported by a soft drum pad and guitar chords that send chills down your spine. From here we understand why Kid Cudi once sang that “Kids See Ghosts.”
As the duo talks about their altered state, Cudi uses his signature hum in the chorus whilst setting a dark and moody vibe. What also comes into play is ScHoolboy Q’s subtle mention of his past depression.
“Head is in the cloud with my stomach below/Somethin’ ’bout this feeling, I felt it before/Took this pill and it swallowed me whole/Pinch me on my arm, is it Heaven or fun?/If I don’t come back, had a hell of a run/Taste you through my nose, smell the death on the tongue/Can’t get high enough to get over the hump.”
“Die Wit Em”
As ScHoolboy Q brings back the trap feel in “Die Wit Em,” you’d think 2 Chainz’s would be a feature due to the direction the beat takes. But once again, ScHoolboy Q takes on this beat solo.
With a “40 on his lap,” ScHoolboy Q spits rhymes about how his eminence in the streets. In pursuit is some 808’s that gets the blood flowing.
“I’m a legend in the set, yeah/Your big homie getting checked, uh/The realest nigga out the West, uh/Makaveli in the flesh, uh.”
Although his life has taken him in many directions, ScHoolboy is more than able to find his way in the twelveth track “CrasH.” Held-up by deep ad-libs, hi-hats, faint violins and kick-drums, ScHoolboy speaks with optimism.
He breaks the chains that have kept him latched down for way too long. Also, he speaks about his profound freedom.
“Tried to lock me up, but can’t catch this/Now where we touch down is on my X list, I’m on a fresh tip/Too much time of livin’ reckless/Now add that time up on my left wrist.”
Having the water, no raindrop, “Water” featuring Lil Baby, ScHoolboy Q speaks on the apparent drip that they have. They elaborate on their “ice-ice” by using short-lived ad-libs, violin chords, hi-hats and 808’s.
Simply put, their swag is so dripped out that others might want to stomp in their puddle. The best line to capture this is rapped by Lil Baby.
“I be wet like I jumped in a fucking jacuzzi/Blue hundreds stacked taller than Uzi/Young hitter, got your vibe in here choosing/Tell these fuckin’ niggas they ain’t cool/Half of this thing’ll send you to the moon.”
The best of the bunch labels itself as the last track, “Attention.” The production has a New York 90’s feel. Intricately, it mixes golden rap with boom-bap and pays homage to rap icons Nas, Jay-Z, Tupac, Dr. Dre and more.
At most, the track speaks about his journey. Still, Q doesn’t forget to add a little humor in the chorus with an 8 Mile passage, where they were all in the parking lot, freestyling.
“M’s in the bank, I need all that, all that/Ten freaky girls, need all that, all that.”
All in all, CrasH Talk focuses more on a modern day sound. Even though ScHoolboy Q took a long hiatus, he shows why he never lost his place, to begin with.
He’s always been that ni–a with the strap. Still, he doesn’t put on a facade like the others. In a world full of losses, ScHoolboy Q takes a W… Every single time.