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A Defensive Stance

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July 2016

Schoolboy Q Blank Face Review

After many months of being relatively quiet Schoolboy Q has  released his long-awaited album Blank Face.  Schoolboy has always been one of my favorites out of TDE so i was very excited when i heard the album was dropping . Did schoolboy deliver with his sophomore project?

 

Right off the bat i could tell that Schoolboy was going for a different sound with this project.  It was more serious and had less party themed tracks.  Schoolboy went for a more gritty street album .  Q also aimed to show off his lyrical chops and the improvement shows.

1.Torch- Anderson Paak does a great job of starting the album out and i loved Q and the production.  I want to hear more from Paak and Q they come together and the final product was dope.

2.Lord Have Mercy- The whole feel i got from this song and the album as a whole was real and honest.  Brutally honest and that is  what i love about Q .  I was upset at how short the song was.  I wanted to hear more .

3.THat Part- This beat is interesting, Q gives us a light hearted track and it is refreshing given the theme of the album.  This track was the second single for the album and i didn’t care for it when it first dropped, but it has grown on me.  Kanyes verse was very underwhelming.  I was expecting more from Mr. West.  Kanye sounded incoherent , it sounded like kanye went into the booth drunk and just freestyled his verse.

4.Groovy Tony/Eddie Kane-  Groovy Tony was the first single for the album.  I wouldn’t have made this song the single. I would have made overtime the single to draw in buzz for the album.    Groovy Tony is a harsh, brash, gritty song and i love it.  Q gives a amazing verse and Jadakiss follows suit with a dope verse . Jadakiss raspy voice suits this song well and i wanted him to drop a verse for Eddie Kane as well.  Eddie Kane is the second part of the song, when the beat switches , q doesn’t miss a beat and floats over this track

5.Kno Ya Wrong- Schoolboy showcases how insightful he can be and it worked out well.  I love the beat , it is soulful and smooth.  Lance Skiiiwalker who recently signed to TDE added a nice touch to this track.

6.Ride Out-  One of my favorite tracks.  It is loud and hard hitting and i love it.  The chemistry between Q and Vince is spectacular and the two mesh well on a track.  Vince verse is easily one of the best verses of this year.  Vince floated effortlessly on this track.  I must also commend Sounwave on the production on this track.

7.WHateva U Want-  This song doesn’t fit this album at all.  It sounded like Q was trying to make a love song and it just doesn’t work.  The beat is horrendous and doesn’t fit Q well. This beat sounds like it is from a cheesy 80’s movie. Very forgettable song.

8.By Any Means- I love the guest appearance from Kendrick, it was the icing on the cake.  Q’s verse is great. But i just dont see myself ever going back to this song.  It seems as though this song was a throw away track.

9.Dope Dealer-  I love everything about this song, except for E-40.  I have tried to like E-40 but he just ruins this song.  I must say i was surprised when i heard the metro boomin drop.  It doesn’t sound like a typical metro boomin track and it just made me respect metro even more.

10.John Muir- One of the tracks that previewed on his Instagram and that clip actually made me excited for this project.  Q delivers his gritty street raps over a hard hitting beat.  Q’s flow on this track is immaculate.  The Jazz instruments really complete and give the song a great feel.

11.Big Body- This track is absolutely terrible.  I don’t know what Q was trying to go for here but he failed horribly.  The beat is annoying and Q is doing i don’t know what with his voice but he should have never let this track see the light of day.  I respect everything that Tha dogg Pound does and have done, but they didn’t make this track any better than it already was.  Just No.

12.Neva Change- The production on this track is amazing.  It is very smooth and relaxing and the contrast between the smooth beat and Q’s demanding voice draws in the listeners attention.  SZA really puts the cherry on the top , completing this track.  SZA’s voice is soulful and soothing.

13.Str8 Ballin- I was really surprised at the production and beats on this album.  I was pleasantly surprised and it really shows Q’s versatility and how he has improved as a artist.  The sample is dark and grim and Q’s verse is spectacular.

14. Black THoughts- This song is another insightful track about the thoughts going through his head and many people feel this way.  I respect the harsh honesty from Q , i also love how he speaks on the injustices in america and gangs and how we should do better by ourselves.

15.Blank Face-  Anderson Paak.  gave a dope feature.  He is easy to listen too and his voice his different and i love it.  Q gave us one of the most insightful verses about growing up and his life . I honestly feel like this should have been the last track instead of Tookie Knows II.  It would have been a better Outro and would have made more sense . But this is a amazing

16. Overtime- This song sounds like Studio part 2.  I really enjoyed everything about the track.  This song is smooth and fun, q is rapping about the girl of his dreams and how he can do her right.  I don’t know much about Justine Skye but i was really impressed and am looking forward to checking out more of her music.  Her voice is amazing and she ended the track well.

17. Tookie Knows II-  I remember the first time i heard the first Tookie Knows, I was taken back and it ended up being one of my favorite Schoolboy Q songs.  So my expectations were high when i saw this song on the track list. Ultimately i was let down by the song.  The two features on this track are God awful.  I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to let them rap on this album. TF and Traffic must not have real friends , real friends don’t let their friends release trash verses like that.

 

Q dropped one of the best projects of 2016.  The production was spectacular and the album flowed well.  I had no expectations for this album and was blown away with the final product.  Q’s songwriting ability has always been amazing and he just stepped up his game.  Blank Face is arguably one of the best albums of this year and i can not wait to see what Q does next.

Favorite Tracks: JoHn Muir, Ride Out, Neva Change

Score: 8.5/10

I hope everyone is having a great summer and being safe.  What are you thoughts on Blank Face LP? Let me know how you guys feel about the project.  Be safe

NE

 

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Alton Sterling Murdered by Baton Rouge Police Officers

On Tuesday a Baton Rouge man by the name of Alton sterling was selling CD’s outside of a convienence store when police officers came.  After an altercation Alton was tackled and held down, when 5 shots were fired, hitting Alton in the chest.  He was pronounced dead later that day.  We live in a racial society.  The biggest misconception is that racism “ended” after the civil rights movement in the 1960’s.  The fight for equality has never ended and situations like this that happen everyday prove that.  Small “victories” such as police body cameras prove worthless if the body cameras can be taken off or tampered with.  The most upsetting part of this whole ordeal is that people will say that if he wasnt resisting he would be alive.  But If you look at the video he is restrained , two officers restrained a black man and still managed to kill him.  There is no excuse for that.  Allegedly he is armed and i do not see how he would even be able to get to his gun if two police officers are on top of him.  So much is running through my head as i write this right now, but it cannot compare to the loss Alton’s family is experiencing.  A wife lost her husband,  children lost their father, A mother and Father lost their son.  The policing epidemic in america has been plaguing the black community since the beginning of this country.  The only difference now is that people have cameras on their phones to record these encounters.  A day after the celebration of a new nation, we are reminded of the harsh realities minorities have to face everyday.  This isn’t a white or black problem, this is an AMERICAN problem.  While some white people are realizing the injustices happening many more are finding ways to ignore and justify this madness.  I don’t understand how officers that are trained to protect and serve always find a way to murder minorities.  Hiding behind the statement  of “I feared for my life”.  I dont understand how there were many options that could have led to this man being alive today, whether it be batons, mace, tear gas, tasers, anything that could have prevented this tragedy from happening.  In Louisiana citizens are allowed to carry weapons as long as they are over 18 and not felons.  So if you know that people may have guns why escalate a situation farther that it has to be?  The video below is taken by a bystander and their commentary is chilling.

A witness has stated that Alton was screaming “What did I do?” “Whats going on?” owner of the convienence  store Abdullah Muflahi told the Daily News.

A second video has emerged showing that alton wasnt reaching for his gun.  The video is below , viewer descristion is advised it is very graphic.

It pains me to have to write this article today.  I am tired of this happening to people, no one deserves this.  A reoccurring theme in america is that people want their guns but not when it comes to certain people of certain races.  We can not move forward as americans untill we acknowledge the problem and set a clear goal and plan.  Police officers must be retrained and learn de-escalation tactics.  I have seen far too many times where police officers have made situations worse.  America must also break down this system where officers are rarely tried and convicted for this heinous crimes.  Good police officers must speak up against bad police officers and the corruption that takes place.  A system that perpetuates violence and only condemns some and rarely convicts officers in that same system is unfair .  True equality is when everyone is treated like shit or everyone is treated fairly there is no medium.  I hope we can work as americans to fix this problem.  These officers should be convicted of murder and sentenced to life.  But lets not just talk about, lets take action and vote in our local government and make change.  Change starts with us and only we can make change.  Rest in Heaven Alton.  God Bless

Crime is increasing

Trigger happy policing

Panic is spreading

God knows where we’re heading

– Marvin Gaye 1971

NE

Still Brazy Album Review

YG has finally released his long awaited LP “Still Brazy” .  My Krazy Life is a classic in my opinion and is very overlooked.  So when i opened apple music and saw that it was finally available I almost cried tears of joy.  Lets get into the review.

  1. Pops Hot Intro- Just like the Intro from the first album, YG is getting scolded by his father. The dialogue sets the tone for the album.
  2. Don’t Come to LA – Dont come to LA is a very gritty track.  Taking shots at people who think its cool to mimic his Lifestyle and false flag. I was worried when i saw the features , i didnt recognize any of the people but everyone had a phenomeol verse.  I had one slight gripe , and it was the hook.  I didnt particualarly care for it
  3. Who Shot Me? – The G-funk influence on this track is very clear.  YG is telling a tale about the people who shot him and the emootions and questions that went through his head when this happened.  This is one of my favorites , the raw lyricism and production make for one hell of a song.
  4. Word is Bond – YG’s features rarely dissapoint and Slim 400 does a spectacular job.  YG and Slim 400 come together well and play off each other.
  5. Twist My Fingaz – The lead single for Still Brazy was released last year and it didnt gain alot of buzz.  YG gives us a classic G-funk song.  It is very reminicisnt of that classic G Funk Era.  A perfect song for a summer day or a song to play at a party or cookout. Dope track
  6. Good Times Interlude – Great interlude about the price of fame and people constantly asking to borrow money.  The transition to Gimmie Got Me shot was efforless and smooth.
  7. Gimmie Got Shot – YG speaks on the people in his life that feel entitled to favors or money .  YG’s lyrical ability shines on this track
  8. I Got a Question-  Very smooth laid back track, YG rides the beat.  Suprisingly Lil Wayne has a good verse.  Amazing Song.
  9. Why You Always Hatin? – I was underwhelmed with this track.  The last collaboration with drake and YG Who  do you love was a dope record.  SO when i heard this record i was surprised at how lackluster the song is.  The production outshined both Drake and YG.  The hook was sub par and this is one of the worst tracks on the record.
  10. My Perception- Another Interlude
  11. Bool, Balm & Bollective-  When i first heard this track i wasnt a fan, but after a few listens i really love this track.  YG flows effortlessly on this track .  YG’s story telling ability is amazing and made for amazing track
  12. She Wish She Was- I dont really care for this song.  Nothing stood out to me.
  13. YG Be Safe-  Interlude
  14. Still Brazy-  The Beat is booming and YG going crazy for three and a half minutes.  YG floats effortlessly on the beat.
  15. FDT- A riveting protest song about the presidential candidate.  It is a raw song full of emotion about Trump and his controversial statements in the last year.  Nipsey hussle and YG are a great duo and i want to hear more of them in the future.
  16. Blacks & Browns – YG and Sad boy speak on the injustices in America, showcasing the problems minorities face in america, and trying to find a why to overcome these problems.  I love this track , i love when rappers are insightful and speak on problems impacting the community.
  17. Police Get Away wit Murder – Continuing the theme from the previous song, Y G raps about the injustices in america and the double standard on how civilians and officers are treated and tried .  It was very emotional, and it was a spectacular way to end the album.

YG has released one of the best rap projects this year and it is one of my favorites so far.  My Krazy Life and Still Brazy remind of Good Kid Maad City.  It is a percise, cohesive project that tells a story about his life and life style and how YG came up and his everyday life.  While Good Kid Maad City, showcased the story of a kid growing up and trying to avoid the madness, Still Brazy showcases the other side of the spectrum.  Some that is actually in the lifestyle.  The lyricism and storytelling on this record is second to none.  More importantly i appreciate the raw lyrics  and honesty from YG.  Another star is the production, the classic G-funk feel compliments YG.  Everything came together for a great album and i have very few complaints. YG did not disappoint on this record.

Favorite Tracks: Twist My Fingaz, Gimmie Got Shot, Bool Balm and Bollective

Score 4/5

What did you think about the record?  I want to hear everyones opinion on the album.  I hope everyone is having a safe and fun summer.  Bless Up

NE

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