Album Review: Setbacks by Schoolboy Q

Posted: June 27, 2011 by eptarheels23 in Album Review, Music
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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The west coast is on the revival with is a hotbed for up and coming artists. The biggest of those artists may be the Black Hippy group, made up of Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock. As a collective they haven’t dropped much together, but individually they are dropping hits after hits. Kendrick Lamar has dropped O(verley) D(edicated) and has worked with Dr. Dre, Ab-Soul has dropped the critically acclaimed Longterm 1, 2 and 3 albums, Jay Rock is signed by Tech N9NE and has worked with artists such as Lil Wayne and The Game, the outsider of the group is Schoolboy Q. He is probably the least known of the Black Hippy collective but without a doubt, the most underrated. Q brings the aggressive, witty lines that standout in his songs. With the release of his first big time mixtape, Setbacks he hopes to step out from behind the shadows and into the spotlight.

1: Figg Get the Money 3/5
The upbeat opener is a decent over all track from Q. It seems kinda uninspired and not like he is putting his full effort into it. When I first heard this I was worried that this would be a representation of what the rest of the album would be like, but fear not; it only gets better from here.

2: Kamikaze 4.5/5
Lyrically this is may a very good cut, but Q makes up for that by flowing well over the killer WIllie B production. The best straight bangs and it is the true star of this song. Q proves that he can string some lines together, but it’s a passable song when it comes down to the lyrical wordplay.

3: LigHt Years AHead (Sky HigH) [feat. Kendrick Lamar] 5/5
The first of many Kendrick Lamar features on the album is a true standout. Over a smooth, almost eerie beat, Schoolboy Q manages to hold his own with one of the best in the entire game. A great listen.

4: Live Again (feat. Kendrick Lamar & CurT@!n$) 5/5
Q calls upon Kendrick Lamar and Dopeboy C to drop some crazy verses on this song. I’m not even sure who had the best verse overall, but if I had to choose I’d probably go with CurT@!n$ outdoing my favorite emcee ever. Kendrick hits up the first verse, while CurT@!n$ kills the second and then Q raps the anchor leg. If you’re a fan of any three of these artists, or just a fan in general, you have to listen to this.

5: What’s the Word (feat. Jay Rock) 4/5
This is probably one of the hardest hitting songs on the tape as it seems to embody the entire spirit of the streets in one song. Q gets fellow Black Hippy member Jay Rock to drops some bars at the end of the song. It’s a decent appearance from what is in my opinion, the least talented of the Black Hippy crew. A solid listen if you’re looking for a hard hitter.

As you can tell from the title, this song is all about the cannabis. Despite that, it might have the best beat on the enitre tape. It is smooth as hell and just makes you want to sit back and relax. This is one of the best songs off the entire tape and a must listen.

7: Druggys Wit Hoes (feat. Ab-Soul) 3.5/5
Another endo influenced song as Q gets some help from Ab-Soul this time. This is more of an uptempo version of the previous track and it falls short in that area. It seems like a failed attempt to recreate the magic of BETiGOTSUMWEED. One word: pass.

8: Cycle 3/5
Q follows up an okay track with another one. This cut stands out in a total of zero ways; okay beat, decent chorus. Not much to say about this one, other than it’s the second pass in a row. However, this may actually be one of the stronger tracks lyrically as it details the story of never ending violence in the ghetto and puts it under the scope.

9: To the Beat (F’d Up) 5/5
This song is reminiscent of Kamikaze in that the lyrics are decent but its the beat that steals the show and manages to make this song a great listen. Disappointingly, that seems to be a trend in the tape.

10: Crazy 3/5
This is definitely the worst part of the tape with their being multiple passes in the span of a couple of songs. This track is in the same line as Cycle and in that sense, it’s another pass.

11: Phenomenon (feat. Alori Jah) 3.5/5
Over a fast paced jam Q gets some help from Alori Jah on the hook and it kinda ruins the song. I don’t mind Q’s verses, as he flows well, but point blank the hook is terrible. It subtracts from the overall value of the song and makes another pass by.

12: Situations 4.5/5
Schoolboy Q’s flow on here is bananas! He slows it down over the beat but towards the end of the song he really picks it up, showcasing his killer flow at its best.

13: Fantasy (feat. Jhene Aiko) 3.5/5
Q goes for the more radio friendly approach on this one and comes out with a little success. The beat is real smooth Jhene Aiko lays down the smoothest hook so far. Phenomenon and Fantasy are more radio friendly, but that doesn’t really showcase Schoolboy Q’s talents as an artist. They are certainly underwhelming when you look at his work on the previous tracks.

14: I’m Good (feat. BJ The Chicago Kid & Punch) 4.5/5
Another smooth joint from the west coast spitter has Schoolboy Q more successfully recreate what he attempted to do in Phenomenon and Fantasy. BJ The Chicago Kid lays down a killer hook and it makes the cut that much better than his two previous efforts.

15: Birds & The Beez (feat. Kendrick Lamar) 5/5
The absolute best song off the entire tape, period. The beat is smooth but it still bangs and Q does a great job with showing off his top notch flow throughout his verses. But Kendrick Lamar drops the best verse on Setbacks. His flow is some of the best I’ve ever seen from the Compton emcee, and that’s saying a lot. This is the one song I would listen to, if you were going to judge whether you liked Setbacks or not.

16: Rolling Stones (feat. Black Hippy) 5/5
Q ends his debut effort on a positive note as he enlists the entire Black Hippy collective on a track that features a sample of The Zombie’s Time of the Season. This one of the few tracks that the whole Black Hippy group has released as they have reached more success separately.

Setbacks is a solid debut from the LA up and comer and it even managed to crack the Top 10 of my Top 25 Albums of the Year (So Far). The tape definitely had it lows, but it also showed how high the ceiling is for Q as he has many bright years ahead of him.

Download: Schoolboy Q – Setbacks

Birds & The Beez (feat. Kendrick Lamar)


Live Again (feat. Kendrick Lamar & CurT@!n$)


To the Beat (F’d Up)

  1. Biqq Pete says:

    Schoolboy Q > Kendrick Lamar

  2. eptarheels23 says:

    Kendrick Lamar >>>>>>>>>> Schoolboy Q

  3. […] west coast is on the revival lead by artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Pac Div, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Fashawn, Dom Kennedy and many more, but it’s time someone else was added to that […]

  4. […] of the group, I mean just check out his song iBETiGOTSUMWEED. With that being said, his album Setbacks was one of my favorite albums of the year. Q brings the laid back, chill vibe to the group. But […]

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