Review: Schoolboy Q’s ‘CrasH Talk’ is beautifully put together

May 2, 2019 — by Kevin Sze

American rapper Schoolboy Q released his highly anticipated fifth studio album “CrasH Talk” on April 26, 2019.

Q’s last release came three years ago with the Grammy-nominated curveball entitled “Blank Face LP.” As a fan of most rappers from Top Dawg Entertainment (the label that includes the likes of Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Jay Rock, Reason and many others), it felt way longer than just three years.

Needless to say, I was excited when it appeared on Spotify. I put my AirPods in and began listening to the first track.

The album has 14 songs and lasts a total of 39 minutes and 49 seconds. For most people, this is short, but it is just right for my taste. I don’t need to hear drawn out intros or outros. I’m more concerned about the bars.

With that being said, here’s what I thought about Q’s “CrasH Talk.”

1. “Gang Gang.” It’s only got one verse and the chorus is pretty simple, but the trap beat Q uses is enticing. Though his voice doesn’t project enough force as the production, the beat clearly makes up for the lacking energy. The beat does its job, and Q repeating “Whip clean, dope boy” makes my house tremble. As the millennials would say, it’s a banger.

2. “Tales.” Complete change of pace from the first track. Q uses drums and vivid imagery to reflect on the repercussions of the cyclical gangster lifestyle he was once a part of. It definitely has a J. Cole “4 Your Eyez Only” type vibe. If I had to match it with a TDE member, I’d probably say it resembles Kendrick Lamar’s “Yah.” It’s an interesting switch by Q, but I probably won’t be playing it in my car anytime soon.

3. “Chopstix.” Terrible. Honestly, it’s just so forced. It was like TDE paid Travis Scott and Q to try and make a hit. It isn’t organically done. The whole song Scott just repeats “chopsticks” and tries to harmonize with autotune. The beat, the hook, the meaning of the song (the Chopstix are a girl’s legs?) is just so basic and overdone. I won’t be surprised if I hear it on the radio just because Scott and Q made a song together, but don’t be shocked if I change the station. I loved the album, but I’m skipping this song.

4. “Numb Numb Juice.” Now this makes up for the previous track. This song is out of this world. Q is the rocket zipping out of Earth’s orbit and the flames that push him to outer space is the beat. Every second is fire. If I played basketball listening to this song, I’d probably have Vince Carter’s vertical.  

5. “Drunk.” Definitely different from what I normally am playing, but it’s a keeper. The song is full of melancholy; I mean 6LACK is the feature and he’s the king of getting people in their feels. The track talks to people who aren’t actually drunk, but are instead intoxicated by their heavy-hearted emotions. Q discusses his grandmother’s and his cousin’s death to add to the sadness. It’s a shifty, woozy soundscape that hit my heart in just the right way. I won’t play it in the car, but maybe I will in my headphones when I’m doing homework.

6. “Lies.” I heard some negative reviews on this one, but I liked it. It’s got the “Beach House 3” vibe, probably because of the Ty Dolla Sign and YG feature. It doesn’t fit too well in the grand scheme of Q’s album, but as a stand alone song, I could see myself playing this anywhere.

7. “5200.” I like this one because of Q’s faster flow. Q raps about his cars and his murderous lifestyle, which is cool for a rap song. The only problem is that the beat sounds just like the one in “Big Shot” by Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott from the “Black Panther” soundtrack. In fact, it almost felt like Lamar didn’t think “5200” should make the cut for his “Black Panther” so he just handed it back to Q to put in his album.

8. “Black Folk.” Not going to lie, I was confused up to this point. We got songs like “Numb Numb Juice,” and then we got songs like “Drunk.” What’s the theme of the album? Q reveals it in “Black Folk,” saying “Who knew failure would make you better?” Q talks about wasted talent and wasted money. Perfect, I’m starting to piece together how the songs tie into each other.

9. “Floating.” This and “Numb Numb Juice” are the headbangers. The beat is hard because the bassline is just nasty. Q projects his voice, and the 21 Savage feature pulls through. Not much to say here except to tell you to go give it a listen.

10. “Dangerous.” Beat is a little to wavy for me but Q manages to navigate it. The Kid Cudi feature is alright, nothing too special. Q addresses the perilous lifestyles that rappers live and talks about their experiences intoxicated. Nothing too special here.

11. “Die Wit Em.” Classic Q. He basically raps about his fearlessness with a gun and all the illegal activities he commits. This along with “Floating” are probably the stunt records of the album. Good song, didn’t leave a lasting impression for me at least.

12. “CrasH.” There’s some conflict in this song. Q raps about uplifting things like helping his family, but he sounds sad doing it. Maybe it’s just Q’s way of expressing himself, but I think there’s something deeper. His close friends Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle both passed away not long ago, and it’s no secret that Q struggles with depression. He realizes that he needs to find a balance in every aspect of his life to find peace. Laid-back production gives Q room to speak his mind. Beautifully put together.

13. “Water.” I love Lil Baby’s flow on this song. Any song with Baby talking about jewelry is going to be good. This one is no exception. Q adds his spin on it with a couple of standout verses. Overall, another solid track.

14. “Attention.” Q talks about getting recognized from some of his greatest role models like Jay Z and Nas. It’s the storytelling side of Q and it would be dope if he made a whole album like this. It’s not going to be something you hear at parties, but put some headphones in and I think anybody could appreciate it.

As a whole, this album is stellar. I’d give it a solid 8.5/10, and maybe even a bit more if “Chopstix” was taken off. Q’s versatility is on full display, rapping through a multitude of wide-ranging topics with a myriad of flows. The features are mostly pretty impressive. It’s definitely worth a listen.


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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.


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