Getting old in hip hop is rarely considered good. More often than not, new rappers seek to gain attention, fame, and dominate the charts in a way they claim their predecessors couldn’t.
Occasionally though, we get to see an artist truly find their footing with age. ScHoolboy Q shows that being a 32 year old hip hop artist isn’t old or irrelevant. The L.A. rapper shows that his desires with his music is to produce energetic, heavy hitting beats without all the noise of the competitive industry to weigh him down.
A standout track on CrasH Talk is Numb Numb Juice. Starting with no instrumental, only ScHoolboy Q’s voice blazing through the intro, there is suddenly a beat drop so quick and smooth, it is no wonder why the rapper isn’t concerned with competition. His music offers beats that are as quick as his tongue spitting out lyrics. It’s the type of music you can jam out to in your car all alone or enjoy blasting through the speakers at a party.
Embracing new popular artists dominating the charts, ScHoolboy Q collaborates on CrasH Talk with Ty Dolla $ign, Travis Scott, and Kid Cudi.
Some collabs on the album just make sense. The song Drunk (featuring 6LACK) starts out with jazz vibes, smoothly introing the beat with a piano. Unlike other quick driven tracks, Drunk is ScHoolboy Q taking his time. The rapper reflects on feeling slightly intoxicated, but not to the point where he can’t be insightful and reflect on his life.
This range of diversity is what keeps the album interesting. Instead of flowing from one party anthem to the next, the quick beats are mixed in with thoughtful lyrics and slow instrumentals. That doesn’t make the beats that accompany these tracks softer, but rather, it allows room for the music to feel like a conversation that a wise relative is trying to have with a young child.
A collaboration that surprisingly fell flat was CHopstix (featuring Travis Scott). Blending a seasoned artist such as ScHoolboy Q with Scott, who is arguably at the peak of his career right now, sounds like it would be a banger. Disappointingly, whatever creative direction this track was going in, was completely lost upon delivery.
The song intros with Scott just repeating the word “chopsticks”. No, really, that’s it. The Astroworld rapper is known to be much more clever and catchy with his lyrics then what was delivered on this track.
A track that fully demonstrates ScHoolboy Q’s ascending into his 30s with grace is Tales. The rapper paints a picture in every line that is so clear, there is no misunderstanding his melancholy tone and introspective look on the world around him. “Before Instagram, we gram the first month/ Before the gates on our block, we in the front/ Before I called you my friend, we shot the ones”.
CrasH Talk is an album for the summer. It has the right balance of insight and energy that made ScHoolBoy Q’s career. The beats aren’t as hard or over the top as previous works, but the music is still the same quality that keeps us listening to every track.