Attempting to consider ScHoolboy Q’s arc, the closest thing resembling his run from Habits & Contradictions to Blank Face LP is Walter White’s descent from middling meth dealer to ruthless drug kingpin on AMC’s Breaking Bad. Q has always emanated a rugged persona, but Habits had undeniable bangers like “There He Go” and “Hands on the Wheel.” Oxymoron had less gloss but still had the requisite jams, in tracks such as “Studio” and “Man of the Year.” But Blank Face is ScHoolboy at his most hardened, devoid of the gloss that hovered over those previous tracks. Don’t get me wrong, songs such as “THat Part” and “Drug Dealer” knock hard, but Q sounds unnerved even on those cuts, not at home. His list of collaborators is carefully curated, and each one feeds off of Q’s aggression. I don’t think Kanye West has sounded so hyped to be featured on somebody else’s track since Jeezy’s “Put On.” “Ride Out” reminds everyone Vince Staples is a goddamn treasure, and E-40 sounds fucking fantastic trying to match the “Drug Dealer” beat’s leaned-out drawl with his vernacular. It’s spectacular. The same could be said of the majority of Blank Face.
Blank Face LP features contributions from Anderson .Paak (“TorcH,” the title-track), Kanye West, Jadakiss, Luke Skiiiwalker, Vince Staples, Candice Pillay, E-40, Tha Dogg Pound, SZA, Miguel, Justine Skye, Traffic & TF.
And for other great new music released this week, check out the Avalanches’ Wildflower, Shura’s Nothing’s Real, Roisin Murphy’s Take Her Up to Monto and the Nite-Funk EP.