I can’t explain to you how stoked I was when the most anticipated album by Schoolboy Q was released on Thursday after I waited for just over 2½ years. I’m not sure when I became a “fan” of Q, but it could have been after listening to his Oxymoron album close to a hundred times. Oxymoron confesses Q’s history of trying to be a father while also being a part of a “hard” lifestyle, but after listening to his new album, Blank Face, I can’t help but appreciate the deeper reflection on his past encounters while making connections to serious issues we see happening in the world currently.

Schoolboy Q

Although the album may be titled Blank Face, it’s his first album cover laden with color, compared to the other black and white art that formerly decorated his other albums. You could say that the monochromatic covers spoke to who Schoolboy Q is, suggesting perception and contemplation. I think that Blank Face is a very powerful rap album. Reflecting on his journey through life Schoolboy Q raps about growing up without a father, countless interactions with cops, and the pain of losing friends and family. His lyrics outline his experience of  gang bangin’, pushing drugs and his own transformation campaign. It plays as a little vignette, basically a-day-in-the-life of Schoolboy Q and his trails and tribulations.

The rapper grew up around unavoidable violence that was widespread through his community. Q later turned his life around through the creation of his lyrics. He expresses more than living the life of a gangster, but also explains his memories of Easter egg hunting and family events. You can hear a sense of honor in his voice, making sure that he expresses his urge to end what he feels is the chain of abandonment. He does so through his lyrics about his own fatherly love, support and presence for his daughter.

This new album shows me a sense of understanding, and gives his listeners a look into who he has become. Through his many experiences teaching him more and more about the journey of life, he speaks to new and better observations of life. His past two albums Habits & Contradictions (2012) and Oxymoron (2014) were surface-level confessions compared to this new album released just days ago. Blank Face seems to be Schoolboy Q’s most accomplished (or perhaps most real) project yet.

Get a feel for Schoolboy Q’s world through this genre and his albums at your local Bookmans.