Published Jul 11, 2016Fans have been foaming at the mouth for weeks awaiting the release of ScHoolboy Q's latest studio effort, Blank Face LP. And for all of the anticipation it's built, the album doesn't disappoint.
Blank Face's narrative should be familiar to Q's fans by now. Like the projects that came before it, this album reflects on gang life in L.A., being a Black man in America and the everyday challenges of navigating both the streets and fatherhood. However, Blank Face LP refines the slight missteps that Q's 2014 album, Oxymoron, made; where Oxymoron tried too hard at times to keep up with passing trends, Blank Face LP manages to be versatile without sounding desperate. In many ways, it like an Oxymoron do-over, but don't mistake that to mean it's redundant.
Throughout, Q steers effortlessly through a heterogeneous collection of styles and sounds. On "Kno Ya Wrong" (featuring Top Dawg Entertainment's newest signee, Lance Skiiiwalker), veteran producer the Alchemist and Inglewood's J.LBS team up to deliver a mellow, jazzy track that fuses sounds from the California of yesteryear with the spacey, more futuristic stylings of today. Q and Long Beach spitter Vince Staples have impeccable chemistry on the earth-shaking "Ride Out," volleying rhymes with expert precision. "Big Body" is quintessential West Coast funk, a house party anthem featuring '90s duo Tha Dogg Pound. And intimate, introspective moments like "Black THougHts" and the titular "Blank Face" (featuring Anderson .Paak) showcase Q at his rawest and most lyrically dense.
Like almost every album, there are a few moments where you can afford to put your headphones down for a moment — "Overtime," "WHateva U Want" — but overall, Blank Face LP has enough meat to warrant several satisfying helpings. (Top Dawg)