Coming off the success of his Grammy-nominated 2014 LP Oxymoron, the bar was set high for ScHoolboy Q‘s next album. After two years of work, Q released “Blank Face LP” in 2016. On the record, Q fell in love with a more abstract and dark sound, which threw his traditional west coast sound out of the window. Today, we will be looking back at this album and seeing what makes it so special.
Blank Face is held together by ScHoolboy’s breathtaking performance. From the get go, Q wreaks lyrical havoc on the listeners with the cuts “TorcH”, “Lord Have Mercy”, and “THat Part”. A definite standout on the album is “Groovy Tony/Eddie Kane”, which shows ScHoolboy and Jadakiss go bar for bar as they breakdown the core meaning of the mysterious Blank Face persona. Tales ranging from his street failures to his current triumphs show ScHoolboy’s ability to cover various topics. The selling point of Q on this record is inevitably his vocal performance. His style is so aggressive, and ferocious words can’t do it justice. Complementing Q, features from Kanye West, Vince Staples, Anderson .Paak and more contribute with show-stealing features. While the subject matter and ideas differ on Blank Face LP, ScHoolBoy Q’s psychotic aurora makes the entire record feel like a horror movie.
To match Q’s abrasive performance, the production on the record is just as fear-inducing. Most of the tracks consist of spine chilling gritty instrumentals, which is especially seen on the cuts “Whateva U Want” and “JoHn Muir”. “Big Body” is one of the most unique songs as it manages to capture the 90s g-funk era feel while still having the unsettling undertone the rest of the record thrives on. Despite a wide array of producers including Swizz Beatz and Metro Boomin working on the album, the sonic narrative on Blank Face manages to stay consistent.
In conclusion, Blank Face Lp’s dark narrative and distinct sound make it ScHoolboy Q’s magnum opus. Narratively it is super cohesive, which makes the entire record feel like an otherworldly experience. Behind the boards, its super grimy production makes the piece feel like a soundtrack from a horror movie. ScHool’s mind-boggling thriller of a project is just another reason why 2016 was one of the best years for rap music ever!