ScHoolboy Q matures on “CrasH Talk”

Tanner Owens

Following 2016’s massively successful album “Blank Face LP,” ScHoolboy Q has followed up with a worthy successor.

“CrasH Talk,” is Quincy Hanley’s fifth studio album. The album comes after being delayed in September 2018 due to Mac Miller’s untimely death. Less than a month before the release of “CrasH Talk,” another friend of Hanley, Nipsey Hussle, was gunned down in front of his store in Los Angeles. While the album doesn’t live up to the standard 2016’s “Blankface” set, it does find Hanley developing into a better storyteller and experimenting outside of gangsta rap.

“I gave you me, but I never gave you the other side of me: the father, the dude that’s actually happy, the dude that doesn’t be in the hood just hanging out,” Hanley said during a Beats One interview with Zane Lowe. “I’m not a deadbeat father anymore.”

The 14-song album isn’t particularly long, coming in at 40 minutes. In comparison, “Blank Face LP” offered a 17 song, one hour, 12 minute album.

“CrasH Talk” finds ScHoolboy keeping true to his gangsta rap roots while adopting a less aggressive voice at times. Q’s music may have a reputation for being gruff, visceral and hard-hitting, but songs like “Lies” and “Dangerous” feature a toned-down Q. It’s a welcome change of pace from some of the harder-hitting songs of the album.

Q also keeps with the trend of mentioning his daughter in each of his albums. She also modeled  for the album cover of Hanley’s 2014 album, “Oxymoron.”

“So girl be proud that your skin black and be happy, girl, that your hair napped ‘cause the school system won’t teach that,” Hanley sings in “CrasH.”

Hanley also makes sure to take a shot at the latest generation of rappers in “CrasH.”

“Lil’ rappers ain’t impressive,” Hanley said in the song. “Your tax bracket ain’t impressive, you buy a chain, but won’t buy no land, that hashtag should say desperate.”

Where “CrasH Talk” finds its strength is in its features. Industry titans such as Kendrick Lamar, Ty Dolla $ign and Kid Cudi all make appearances on the star-studded album. 21 Savage also lends help on the grimy, bass-heavy “Floating.” Fellow Los Angeles rapper, YG and Atlanta-based rapper Lil Baby round out the guest list.

Hanley, who is known to associate with the Hoover Crips, has etched his brand of gangsta rap into the mainstream. Two songs stand out as gangsta rap bangers that will stand the test of time. “Numb Numb Juice,” the first single of the album, is a hard-charging and intense introduction into the album, coming after the subdued “Gang Gang,” “Tales” and the club-ready “ChopstiX.”

“5200,” which features an uncredited Kendrick Lamar, stands alone as the best song of the album. With a glitchy flute sound and a heavy dose of trap hi-hats, “5200” is exceptionally accented with Hanley’s coarse tone and vivid lyrics.

The odd duck of the album comes in the form of “Lies,” which enlists help from Ty Dolla $ign and YG. Although catchy, the song doesn’t fit in into the package “CrasH Talk” delivers. “Lies” suffers from the same fate as Joey Badass’s “Devastated.” In 2017, Joey Badass faced criticism for putting a pop-sounding party song into a highly political and otherwise well-received album.

While “CrasH Talk” doesn’t live up to its predecessor, it does shine a light on Hanley’s new chapter of life. “CrasH Talk” displays Hanley maturing and growing into the role of a father to his 10-year-old daughter.

Verdict: 7/10