Batman and Robin are both pretty awesome. Running and jumping through Gotham City every day, the two are beloved by all; chasing down and catching bad guys, the bat and the bird are rock stars. Typically, Batman gets most of the attention—he’s the leader, after all. He’s the face of the operation. But what about when he’s away, working, plotting in the batcave? What about when he’s on a BatDate? What about when he’s just taking some much-needed, much-deserved me time? Batman can’t always be around. Someone else has to step in and take his place as Gotham’s guardian, right? Well, it turns out that Robin is pretty dope, too. Robin’s got a sweet outfit of his own, and can defend the city from evil in his own right.
The same goes for Top Dawg Ent.’s rap roster–Kendrick Lamar, of course, is Batman. He’s the generational talent, the one who, born in another era, would surely have been a poet, a scholar, a gladiator, a conqueror–you get the point. But when hip-hop’s new prince from Compton is away in the lab, that throne vacates. The West is open, ready for the taking. And while there are definitely other contenders for that spot, who better to take Batman’s spot than his compadre, Robin? 16 months after the release of Lamar’s magnum opus, To Pimp A Butterfly, ScHoolboy Q, Kendrick’s right-hand man, is back with his fourth full-length record, titled Blank Face LP.
Q comes forth with his most lyrical collection of music yet, still holding onto his undeniable gift for simultaneously revving up the engine of anyone who’s down to party. With Lamar’s only contribution to the 2016 discourse being his collection of unused and previously unreleased tracks, untitled.unmastered.., Q’s path to the top is clear as ever. Even with outstanding guest spots from the likes of Kanye West, Jadakiss, Anderson .Paak, and Vince Staples, ScHoolboy is never overshadowed on his own album, uttering his bruising flow over the album’s hazy, drug-clouded beats, mostly from Tae Beast and Digi+Phonics.
It’s nothing new for Q–he’s been putting out pure bangers for years. His last record, 2014’s Oxymoron, gave us “Studio” —fire–and “Man of the Year”—FIRE–as particular standouts, while “Hell of a Night” is, to me, the perfect up-tempo hip-hop club song, and was used to perfection in my favorite show on TV–Mr. Robot:
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