Showing posts with label schoolboy q. Show all posts
Showing posts with label schoolboy q. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 11, 2019

I think the best way to describe this week would be a deflation of expectations - yeah, I knew this week wouldn't quite have the same impact as what happened with album releases, but I was open to the possibility of larger hits from acts like ScHoolboy Q or P!nk or even AJR. Now thankfully for a change we mostly missed this and seemed to walk away with about as good of a result as we could hope for, although with still more quiet weeks ahead it begs the question where the hell the Hot 100 could even go in the next week or two.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

video review: 'crasH talk' by scHoolboy q

Well, that was disappointing. Kind of predicted it and tried to shoot it as much bail as possible... but there was a limit, and even if I got it, I just didn't like it much. Eh...

Anyway, it's about to get much worse, so stay tuned!

album review: 'crasH talk' by scHoolboy q

I had a bad feeling about this.

And oh dear god, that sinking feeling of dread in your gut when you have every expectation the album you're about to hear is going to be nowhere close to as good as it should be is among the worst possible experiences you can have as a critic. Don't get me wrong, there were albums that dropped on April 26th that were bad, no way around it, but it's not like I expected quality out of AJR - hell, for them, if they somehow got worse, that'd at least be fascinating in an excruciating sort of way.

But with ScHoolboy Q... look, I know it's been years since Habits & Contradictions, which I still hold is a fantastic album. I know he's in a different place as an MC than when he made Oxymoron or even Blank Face LP, an album so many folks loved and that I like despite its messiness. I know that he was shaken badly by the deaths of Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle and I was expecting that to creep into his work. I know that for as much as critics like to place TDE on a pedestal that it's shakier in 2019 across the board than it was even three or four years ago, even if nobody wants to admit it. And with the singles rolled out for CrasH Talk and the features list... look, I was worried, I'm not going to dance around this, even with the acknowledgement that of the crew, ScHoolboy Q has always been willing to dive into flashier, mainstream-accessible tendencies. And hey, if your expectations are in free fall, maybe it can only go up from there, so screw it: what did we get from CrasH Talk?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 30, 2019 (VIDEO)

So yeah, slow week - hate the copyright claims, but I'm muscling through it, we'll see where this winds up.

Next up... you know, I'd like to get an episode of Resonators polished up first, so stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 30, 2019

Okay, when I predicted a slow week, I didn't expect it to be this slow - and kind of strange, the more you think about the few new arrivals we got. I'd say it's closer to a holding pattern than anything, but considering how much of 2019 has felt like that when it's come to releases, especially on the Hot 100, you have to wonder if or when a major shakeup will truly hit.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 24, 2018 (VIDEO)

Hmm, so this turned out all right... filmed it the same day as the Ought review dropping tonight, so stay tuned for that, but overall it was a pretty decent week.

Okay, so next up, Ought and Courtney Patton, then probably something from my backlog, then Resonators - stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 24, 2018

This is one of the weeks where everything seemed muted - I made predictions about what was coming, and while most of those predictions came to pass, the impact was less than expected. Sure, I was planning for the Black Panther soundtrack to make an impact, but it wasn't much of an album bomb, and there were larger debuts that disrupted the top 10 and Hot 100 more. Not precisely bad, sure, but in a year where I have felt oddly disconnected with a lot of the songs that have shown up, it leaves me with a very weird feeling.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

video review: 'blank face lp' by schoolboy q

I literally have no idea how this review is going to be received. Seriously no clue. Eh, we'll see what happens.

Next up, let's dig into this Avalanches record, and then maybe Fates Warning and an indie surprise. Stay tuned!

album review: 'blank face lp' by schoolboy q

Man, Schoolboy Q is a frustrating artist for me.

See, I covered him back in 2014 with Oxymoron and while I found that record a slight step away from the genuinely excellent Habits And Contradictions, I still liked Schoolboy Q as an artist. On the tracks where his lyrics can feel stale or formulaic he brings a lot of personality, and when he wants to he can definitely bring a smarter brand of writing to his material, with subtext and insight. He definitely has a place in the Top Dawg stable of MCs, more cutting than Jay Rock's bruising style and grittier than someone like Ab-Soul or Kendrick. In other words, when we consider West Coast gangsta rap, he's probably one of the more accessible artists coming from TDE, and between his collaborations and charting singles, there's proof of that. My problem with Schoolboy Q has always been consistency, balancing out that mainstream appeal with stronger content or production that doesn't drag back his impressive personality.

And yet in the lead-up to this release, I haven't received many requests to cover this album, and I have no idea why. Granted, there hasn't been the huge single like 'Studio' to push this record, and I've already mentioned that I wasn't wild about his collaboration with Kanye West 'That Part', but he's never had great luck with singles anyway and from all accounts this record to be his longest and more elaborate to date. And his list of guest stars was pretty impressive - forget Kanye, when you get Kurrupt, Vince Staples, E-40, Jadakiss, Anderson .Paak, Miguel, and Kendrick contributing hooks, you've got a pretty impressive lineup of quality behind you, most of which deserve to be a lot more famous than they are - which would probably be one of the best ways to describe Schoolboy Q, come to think of it. So I decided to dig into Blank Face LP - how did it turn out?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - june 4, 2016 (VIDEO)

Well, this was a weird week - and arguably one of my weakest episodes of Billboard BREAKDOWN in a while. Flubs, not catching on that Drake's revival was thanks to Spotify... ugh, not pleased with this.

And on that note, ANOHNI review is up next, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - june 4, 2016

So we're now settling back into routine - well, as much routine as we can expect, especially when Ariana Grande is coming around the corner next week - and this has led to something of a bizarre case that I've observed happen to big debuts in the past. They have tons of songs smash onto the Hot 100 the first week, and yet while things cool off dramatically the second week, the third week a whole group of them seem to bounce back. Now there are a lot of reasons for this: initial fatigue after a binge feeding into renewed interest; the radio picking up a few for rotation; or even the case of compensation against a reset to equilibrium...

Thursday, June 4, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - june 13, 2015

Well, that didn't last long. Almost as quickly as it took the top slot, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar were elbowed off the top, and it's not exactly surprising that happened either. Once again, the fight over the top will likely be the biggest story this week, but it obscures what happened below, where a whole load of songs surged up the charts and we got another well-sized crop of new songs - and in a nice change of pace from last week, most of them are actually decent!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

video review: 'oxymoron' by schoolboy q

Well, this turned out better than expected. 

Next up should be Dierks Bentley, so stay tuned!

album review: 'oxymoron' by schoolboy q

So the Grammys are a joke.

It's amazing how few people actually know this, because they take it shockingly seriously for an award show that really has never earned the clout of a show like the Academy Awards. Now we metal fans have known the Grammys are a joke for years, because the metal and hard rock awards have never gone to the best acts in the genre or even the critically acclaimed ones, or, to put it another way, Evanescence, Linkin Park, Slipknot and Korn have more Grammys than Dream Theater, Nightwish, Queens of The Stone Age, or Ayreon. I know progressive metal is rarely well-reviewed, well, anywhere, but there's something wrong with that.

Well, a few weeks ago, the hip-hop community who don't remember Will Smith, Young MC and Chris Brown having more Grammys than Public Enemy or De La Soul or 2Pac or Biggie Smalls got pretty damn angry that Macklemore won best Rap Album of the year over Kendrick Lamar's star-making album of 2012, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. And as much as I like The Heist, it's not better than Kendrick Lamar, who is probably the biggest genuine talent to come out of rap music in a while. The man is smart, nuanced, has a great ability to switch things up and vary his flow, and he's currently signed to Aftermath and is working with Eminem so if he handles his career well, he'll be fine. The fun fact is that, like most rappers who get famous, Kendrick is using his newfound success to give some of his friends a popular boost.

And now we come to Schoolboy Q, fellow member of Black Hippy and gangsta rapper in his own right. I first became familiar with the guy off of his first full-length album Setbacks - and honestly, while it was good enough, I wasn't blown away. Schoolboy Q had a flexible, versatile flow but there were a lot of sloppy rhymes and not enough original content to impress me much or differentiate him from any other gangsta rapper. His socially-conscious, more mature songs were always the best on the album, but there was a lot of weed rap and brag rap that wasn't all that engaging and stuff I'd heard plenty of times before. Fortunately, his technique got a lot better on the follow-up Habits & Contradictions, an entire album set on exploring the inherent contradictions in gangsta lifestyle and Schoolboy Q himself. The album is dark and moody, but it never really loses momentum, most of the beats are surprisingly strong, Schoolboy Q brings a dark viciousness to his delivery, and all of his guest stars deliver. What's even better is how it works on two levels: if you want crass, hard-hitting gangsta rap, you'll find it, but if you look in the right spots, you'll find a surprisingly mature record lurking beneath it that trusts the audience enough not to spell out its insight - and while I won't say the album is precisely great, I've definitely heard worse gangsta rap albums in my life.

And I have to admit, I was more than a little interested about what he'd deliver with Oxymoron, his major label debut and apparently a record where Schoolboy Q had a lot more creative control and flexibility. He stressed that he was sticking with his gangsta image and that gave me mixed feelings. On the one hand, gangsta rap has a certain visceral appeal as a power fantasy and Schoolboy Q is smart enough not to frame himself as a role model by any means. On the other hand, we've had gangsta rap for over twenty years at this point and he was already retreading old ground on his last album, albeit doing it well, so what new material was Schoolboy Q going to bring to the table?