ScHoolboy Q seems like he’s got this rap stuff figured out. After surviving a gang affiliated upbringing and the throes of addiction, he’s happiest now whilst either homeschooling his daughter or hitting the links.
On ‘Crash’, the semi-title track, he raps, “Bought my daughter that mansion (mansion),” and later, “Your tax bracket ain’t impressive.” Of course, the whole record isn’t a stern father’s lesson, however, whilst he still recalls his more adventurous days on tracks such as the single ‘Numb Numb Juice’, ScHoolboy Q isn’t trying to convince anyone he’s not 32.
Presumably, something happens when you turn 30 and you realize there’s more to life. ScHoolboy Q has survived a lot throughout his years, and CrasH Talk reflects this. While the album was recorded prior, the death of Mac Miller and murder of Nipsey Hussle weigh heavy on much of this album. ScHoolboy Q lives in a mansion with his daughter, and although is undeniably proud of this, seems to remain keenly aware through the album that it is a life Nipsey, Miller, and so many others in the industry have been robbed of.
This awareness of survival and success makes CrasH Talk a far more upbeat album than its predecessor, Blank Face LP, despite the heavy toll surrounding the album’s release. Most of the production, largely by DJ Dahi, Sounwave, and Cardo, lends itself to a cruise around ScHoolboy Q’s native Hoover Street. Some tracks, like ‘Floating’ featuring 21 Savage, are fun but inessential. Others, like ‘Lies’ where ScHoolboy Q is ably assisted by Ty Dolla Sign and YG, are just the opposite.
TDE Record Label trusts its roster enough to experiment, one need only look at Kendrick Lamar for proof. It’s therefore not surprising to see TDE supporting ScHoolboy Q in his musical experimentation and his eclectic list of guests. Lil Baby sounds like he’s having a blast, and 6LACK’s hazy crooning is a great marriage of subject matter and sound. Still, one must contend with Kid Cudi begging us all to remember 2009, and Travis Scott acting like he forgot he was even supposed to be on this thing.
But by the conclusion of the album, it’s hard not to cheer the former South-Central resident on. This isn’t an album that shifts the paradigm. When it works, it’s more like comfort food. For a few years in the early 2010s, ScHoolboy Q was an LA cornerstone, now it seems he’s transitioning into an elder statesman role. If future albums are like this, that’s not a bad thing for him, and likely not for his listeners either.
Standout Tracks: ‘Numb Numb Juice’, ‘Lies’, ‘Tales’, ‘5200’, ‘CrasH’.