Album Review | ScHoolboy Q – Setbacks

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This album was released on January 11th in 2011. It was ScHoolboy Q’s debut album. I’ve decided to go ahead and try to listen to all of his albums before Blank Face LP comes out. I’d always been familiar with ScHoolboy Q, but the first time I listened to an actual song by him was in 2012. I think it was Hands On The Wheel, which was his most popular single at  the time if I’m not mistaken. I never got around to listening to the album it was on tho. The only ScHoolboy Q album I’ve listened to completely is Oxymoron. I don’t really consider this a Marathon; I like to save those for more old school MCs. I guess. It just wouldn’t feel right to go from Dr. Dre, Nas, Kanye West & The Wu-Tang Clan to ScHoolboy Q. I guess ScHoolboy Q and Tech N9ne are in the same league tho. Honestly, ScHoolboy Q is probably better than Tech N9ne… You know what? Fuck it. I’ll call this a marathon. Out of all the TDE members, I never thought I’d be doing a marathon for ScHoolboy Q first. Whatever. I don’t have shit to say about this album in particular. I don’t really know anything about it other than the fact that it was his first album. So yeah. I like ScHoolboy Q, so I guess I’m expecting this to be dope.

Track 1: Figg Get Da Money (Prod. Lord Quest)

This beat is cool. It’s much faster than I was expecting it to be. It kinda reminds me of a much less dope version of Blind Threats. Q starts the song by quoting Kanye’s first lines on Get ‘Em High. The first verse was cool. It definitely wasn’t anything special. I enjoyed it tho. His flow seemed a little shaky at first, but it wasn’t that bad. The hook’s alright. It’s kind of annoying. The second verse was cool. It was better than the first one. The third verse was dope. I like the song, but honestly this is a very underwhelming way to start the album. I don’t think it’s bad, but it doesn’t really get me excited to hear the rest of the project. I like it tho. It’s not amazing, but I fuck with it. It’s dope to me. 4/5

Track 2: Kamikaze (Prod. Willie B)

This beat is dope. The first verse wasn’t bad. It was good. Again, I’m not really that impressed, but I enjoyed it. The hook is dope. I guess ScHoolboy Q has really improved a lot over the years. This isn’t bad, but it’s not really that impressive. It just sounds like an average ScHoolboy Q song. I like it, but it’s nowhere near amazing. It’s definitely not bad tho. Okay… The second verse was actually dope af. That’s probably the best verse on the album so far in my opinion. Granted it’s only the fifth verse on the whole project, but still. The third verse was very good too. That “Gangsta, Gangsta; read all about it” line was great. This song is dope. Again, I’m not amazed by anything here. It’s a good song tho. I fuck with this track. This is dope. The music video looks like it was made in Windows Movie Maker. 4/5

Track 3: Light Years Ahead (Sky High) Feat. Kendrick Lamar [Prod. Focus…]

This beat is dope. The first verse was alright. I guess he’s just rapping about getting high. This must’ve been back when Kendrick still smoked. The hook from Kendrick is cool. The second verse was better, but it still wasn’t great. Kendrick’s on the final verse. It was dope. He definitely had the best verse, but it still wasn’t amazing. This is a good song. Nothing about this song is that great, but it’s good. Pretty much everything I said about the other two songs applies to this one. It’s not the greatest shit I’ve ever heard from Q, but I still enjoyed it. It’s a good song. I fuck with this. 4/5

Track 4: What’s The Word Feat. Jay Rock & Ab-Soul (Prod. Phonix Beats)

This beat is dope af. I wasn’t really getting into this track like that at first, but once those keys started rising in the background I started enjoying this a lot more. The first verse was dope. What the fuck?? Oh no… Oh… Nah. This hook from Soulo is very disappointing… He’s singing, and it’s… really bad. I think Soul usually sounds pretty good singing, but he fuckin’ ruined this track. Fuck. It was going really well too. This hook is awful tho. Wow. That’s disappointing. I love Ab-Soul, but nah. That was wack af. Goddamnit. Jay Rock fuckin’ killed his verse. FUCK. I hate when this happens. This song would be fantastic if it weren’t for that hook. Jesus. Nah. I can’t do this one. This is one of the most frustrating songs I’ve heard in a long time. The production was fantastic. The verses were gangsta as fuck. Jay Rock fuckin’ killed this shit. The hook was just way too bad for me tho. I love Ab-Soul too. He’s one of my favorite rappers. That hook tho… Nah. I can’t do this one. I don’t think this is a bad song. I just can’t get past that hook personally. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 5: iBETiGOTSUMWEED (Prod. Tae Beast)


This beat is dope. It’s very smooth. The first verse was fine. The subject matter isn’t super interesting to me. I don’t smoke, and even if I did I doubt that’d make me like this song anymore. It’s not bad tho. It’s cool. It’s real smooth. I don’t know about this track. It really isn’t bad at all, but I don’t know if I’d ever wanna listen to it again. There’s pretty much zero replay value in it for me. The second verse wasn’t bad, but nah. This song is doing nothing for me. It’s not bad, but I’m not really impressed. It’s alright. I guess. 3/5

Track 6: Druggys Wit Hoes Feat. Ab-Soul (Prod. Tae Beast)

Alright, Soulo. Second chance. I’m pretty sure this is one of ScHoolboy Q’s more popular songs. It has a sequel on Habits & Contradictions. I’m really hoping Ab-Soul came through on this track, but songs about drugs don’t really do anything for me. I don’t know… I’m just gonna start the track now. I’ve listened to a little over half of the song. Just like with most of the other tracks, I don’t really have much to say yet. Q’s verse was dope. I wasn’t in love with the way he was talking about sex for most of the verse, but that was to be expected from a song called Druggys Wit Hoes. His verse was good. The hook is really hard to take seriously. Ab-Soul is yelling “MARIJUANA HYDRO PUSSY HO ASS TITTIES,” and it’s unintentionally hilarious. I don’t think it’s bad tho. I really like Ab-Soul’s energetic delivery on his verse. I actually really liked his verse. It was great. Some of the lines were a little vulgar—”All these bitches in your dreams drinking cum from me“—but most of the shit he said was cool. His flow & delivery really made his verse standout. He had a lot of energy. I fuck with this song. I’m still not super impressed, but I like the song. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 7: Cycle (Prod. DJ Wes)

Okay, lyrically this is easily the most interesting song on the whole album so far. On the first verse he’s describing the life of a 12 year old boy who lives in the hood. It sounds like he’s being raised by gang members. “He felt the discomfort; ain’t trust them right away / Saw the devil in they eyes; his homie looking straight / But something was different in him; not the same from yesterday, shit / His whole demeanor changed / Even his smile was strange.” This is the kinda shit I like to hear from ScHoolboy Q. The beat is dope. The first verse was dope af. The hook is very simplistic, but it works. The second verse is dope. It’s about the same kid, but as a 17 year old. The final verse was dope af. This is a great song. It’s really dope to have a more thought provoking track like this from Q every once in a while. This was a really interesting commentary on gang culture. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 8: To The Beat (F’d Up) [Prod. Blue The Misfit]

Oh, man… This beat is dope af. The first verse wasn’t really anything special lyrically, but I still enjoyed it. The hook is very simplistic, but I really like it. I don’t even really know why. It just works. The second verse wasn’t bad. This is one of them songs that really isn’t that impressive lyrically, but it’s dope enough to enjoy it sonically. I really like this song. I think the main reason I’m enjoying this one so much is because the production & hook are just much better than that of the majority of the other songs. I really fuck with this song. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 9: Crazy (Prod. Sounwave)

Meh… I’m not feelin’ this beat. That main loop is really fucking annoying. Everything else about this beat is great tho. The main loop is from an electric guitar, so you already know I’m not feelin’ that shit. The first verse was cool I guess. Nah… I’m not feelin’ this hook. The last verse was dope. I’m not feelin’ this song tho. The verses weren’t bad at all, but the production & the hook were pretty bad. As a song, this is pretty wack to me personally. The verses were cool, but other than that… Nah… I don’t like this song. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 10: Phenomenon Feat. Alori Joh (Prod. Phonix Beats)

Oh my God… I swear every time I see Alori Joh’s name…

That's sad…

She did her thing on the intro. This beat is cool. The first verse from Q was pretty good. The hook from Alori is nice. The second verse wasn’t bad… This definitely isn’t a bad song, but it just doesn’t stand out that much. I don’t think I’d ever wanna come back to this again. The third verse was dope. Everything about this song is good. Just not good enough for me to wanna hear it more than once. It’s an alright song. It’s definitely not bad. It just didn’t really grab me like that. It’s alright tho. 3/5

Track 11: Situations (Prod. Rahki)

This beat is dope. I’m really feelin’ Q’s flow on this one. This is gangsta as hell. You know how The Game’s always rappin’ about how he’s a hard ass Blood, and you shouldn’t fuck with the Bloods, and he loves bein’ a Blood? That’s kinda what Q’s doin’ for the Crips on this song. It’s not nearly as… I don’t know… Sometimes when The Game does that it sounds like he’s literally in love with his own gang. Q doesn’t go that far on this song. The hook is dope. The second and third verses were cool. I feel like I’m saying the same shit about every damn song. This is another good track. I know he could do better, but I still fuck with it. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 12: Fantasy Feat. Jhené Aiko (Prod. Tommy Black)

This beat is dope. Oh God… I guess this is supposed to be the love song for this album. I guess it’s this album’s equivalent to Studio. I don’t like love songs, but this track isn’t too bad I guess. Well, it’s not bad at all, but I don’t personally like it that much. The beat is very smooth, but lyrically this song does absolutely nothing for me. The same thing could be said about Q’s flow & delivery. Jhené’s hook didn’t really do nothin’ for me. What the fuck? I probably misheard this shit, but it sounded like Q said “Timmy Timmy Timmy Timmy Turner…” There’s absolutely no fucking way that he said that tho. Nah… This song is super boring to me… I can’t fuck with this one. I’m actually really not feelin’ this one. I know I said it wasn’t bad earlier, but the more I listen to this the less I like it. It’s just super boring to me. I’m not feelin’ this. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 13: I’m Good Feat. BJ The Chicago Kid & Punch (Prod. Tae Beast)

Oh shit. This beat is dope af. It’s super smooth. Those piano keys in the primary loop sound fantastic. Oh my fuck… This shit is so fucking smooth. This is great. Wow. This is the first time that I’ve been legitimately excited listening to this album. This sounds like it’s one of the more introspective tracks on the project too. Fuck yes. “Had a little daughter / Glad it ain’t a boy / Knew she’d bring me joy, so I named her Joy / Kiss her on her head / Then I kiss her lips / Then I kiss her cheek / Lay her down to sleep.” Wow. Lyrically this song blows everything else on this album away in my opinion. This is kinda like when I got to Paranoia when I was listening to Acid Rap. It came pretty early in the tracklist, but it still seemed to be on a much higher level than every other track on the project. This song is the same way. I hope there’s at least one full song about Q’s relationship with his daughter in his discography. If there isn’t yet, hopefully there will be one on his Blank Face LP. I guess he kinda already did that with Prescription, but I think he could do even better than that. This hook is awesome. He’s just singing “I’m good,” but it sounds really smooth over this sample. This song is fucking awesome. Of course BJ’s vocals were smoother than a motherfucker. The second verse was dope af. Punch is on the last verse. He’s seriously a super unappreciated MC; he fuckin’ killed this shit. Seriously if you’ve never really been impressed by Punch you need to hear this song ’cause he fuckin’ snapped. This is easily the best song on the album so far. This song is amazing. 5/5

Track 14: Birds & The Beez Feat. Kendrick Lamar (Prod. Dae One)

This beat is dope. The first verse from Q was great. His flow was nice. He’s rappin’ about life in the hood again. I don’t really like hearin’ him rap about drugs or women or any of that typical Hip Hop shit. This is the kinda shit I like hearin’ him rap about. Well, I guess this would be considered “typical Hip Hop shit…” You know what I mean tho. The second verse was dope. Kendrick killed his verse. This song is great. I really don’t have any problems with it. It has a very simple structure, but it’s still better than a lot of the other songs on this album. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 15: Rolling Stone (Performed by Black Hippy) [Prod. Sounwave]

Okay, here we go. Every TDE project should have a Black Hippy song as a bonus track. It’s starting now. Oh yes… It uses the same sample as Rhyme Or Reason by Eminem. It’s really fast paced. My motherfuckin’ homie Soulo is on the first verse. God. I fuckin’ love this group, man. The subject matter here is definitely not my cup of tea. Mostly because I don’t like having jizz in my tea. They’re rapping about sex, but I can still tolerate the song because it’s dope sonically. Soul’s flow was on point, and the way Kendrick came in right behind him in the middle of the first verse was awesome. Q sounds really dope on here. They way Jay Rock took the verse from him was crazy too. Even if the content isn’t really there for me, this is an incredibly well executed song. I’m not really into parties, but I can still fuck with this song. It’s like a more energetic version of Vice City with a less experimental flow. This is dope af. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is very good. Not great. Just very good. I don’t think Q is an amazing lyricist, but he’s still a dope MC. He raps well. The only time I ever really have a problem with his rapping is when he chooses to rap about shit that doesn’t interest me. As I said before, I like hearing him rap about life in the hood. I think he does that really well. Also, every time I’ve heard him rap about his daughter it’s come out really well. That’s when he seems to be the most passionate. The production wasn’t amazing or anything, but it wasn’t bad. It was just there. It did it’s job. If you care more about production than you do about good rapping you probably won’t like this project that much, but there are some gems. It’s just a collection of solid music from ScHoolboy Q with a few exceptional highlights. I fuck with this album. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: I’m Good

Least Favorite Song: Crazy




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