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Blank Face LP by ScHoolboy Q

Steven - AV February 10, 2017

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At just over 72 minutes in length, the fourth album from ScHoolboy Q features the Top Dawg Entertainment rapper at his most ambitious. Across 17 tracks, production influences range from trap to jazz rap to West Coast gangster rap, all of it forming this thick, aggressive, foreboding atmosphere. But even on the heaviest tracks, Q, with guest spots from Kanye West, Vince Staples, Anderson Paak, and others, never sacrifices a good pop hook. His raspy, often choppy delivery sets him apart from his peers, even as he tackles familiar subjects like newfound fame and gang life, some of it celebratory but much of it steeped in regret and anxiety. Although some songs highlight Q’s clever metaphors and wordplay, Blank Face LP often finds him coasting on attitude rather than lyricism; he squanders his most vivid, personal lines in vague bars that paint him as an enigma, faceless in the way the album’s title implies without the same sense of purpose. And despite a few great songs (“Groovy Tony,” “JoHn Muir”), Q just doesn’t have the content or the insight to fill out an excessive 72 minutes. There are few truly weak tracks, but the album is sprawling and formless and overall a bit of a chore to get through in its entirety without a truly gripping artist at its forefront. Overall Rating: C+

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