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Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP

Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP
Hip-Hop, Gangsta Rap
Release date
July 08 2016
Schoolboy Q
Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP
July 08 2016 | Hip-Hop, Gangsta Rap

Blank Face LP is the fourth studio album by American hip hop recording artist Schoolboy Q. It was released on July 8, 2016, by Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), in conjunction with Interscope Records. The album serves as his second release under a major record label to music retailers, following 2014′s Oxymoron.

The album features guest appearances from several prominent artists, such as Kanye West, Jadakiss, Tha Dogg Pound and Miguel, among others. The production was handled by various high-profile record producers, including Swizz Beatz, Metro Boomin and Southside, as well as frequent collaborators Nez & Rio, The Alchemist, DJ Dahi and members of TDE in-house production team, Digi+Phonics.

Blank Face LP was preceded by a series of short films, which also served as respective corresponding music videos. To further promote the album Schoolboy Q embarked on a concert tour called the Groovy Tony Pit Stops. The album was supported by two singles, “Groovy Tony” and “That Part”, the latter of which became Schoolboy Q’s second Top 40 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

In March 2012, Schoolboy Q signed a recording contract with major record label, Interscope Records. After releasing his Interscope debut, Oxymoron (which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200), Schoolboy Q began working on his second album for Interscope. On February 24, 2016, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) founder, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, announced that Schoolboy Q would soon be releasing the follow-up to Oxymoron. On June 14, 2016, Schoolboy Q revealed his second major-label album would be titled Blank Face LP.

Recording and production
TDE’s in-house producer Tae Beast of Digi+Phonics, contributed the production on the album’s first single, “Groovy Tony”. For the track, Tae Beast sampled Christine McVie’s 1970 release, “And That’s Saying a Lot”. Willie B and Sounwave, both of whom also form Digi+Phonics, provided production on the album as well. GOOD Music founder Kanye West contributed a verse and handled the production on the second single, “THat Part”, alongside Cardo, Yung Exclusive and Cubeatz. On April 28, 2016, Schoolboy Q announced that the album had been completed, and turned in for mixing. On June 24, 2016, the album’s production credits were revealed to include Nez & Rio, Swizz Beatz, The Alchemist, Tyler, the Creator and DJ Dahi, among others.

Schoolboy Q enlisted TDE’s newest signee, Lance Skiiiwalker (a Chicago-based recording artist), whose vocals are featured on the track “Kno Ya Wrong”. The other label-mate with a featured artist credit on the album was SZA (who signed to TDE in 2013). Schoolboy Q also called upon Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Candice Pillay (who has written songs for Christina Aguilera and Rihanna), to provide vocals for “Whateva U Want”, after having appeared on Dr. Dre’s long-awaited third album, Compton (2015). Schoolboy Q also secured verses from legendary West Coast hip hop group Tha Dogg Pound, for the track “Big Body”. Additionally, Blank Face LP includes prominent vocals from fellow Californians Miguel, E-40, Anderson .Paak and Vince Staples.

At a June 2016 listening session for the album, Schoolboy Q revealed Interscope Records lobbied to have R&B singers Miguel and Justine Skye, featured on “Overtime”, in hopes of recreating the success of his 2014 Top 40 hit single, the BJ the Chicago Kid-assisted “Studio”. Although Schoolboy Q was against the idea at first, he ultimately agreed with the label.[9] When the album’s production credits were revealed, it was rumored that Kendrick Lamar landed production placement on the song “Overtime”. In an interview with New York City radio station Hot 97, Schoolboy Q addressed the hearsay: “That’s what everybody’s saying. I wasn’t there to see him produce it but I remember seeing Cardo produce it. I mean I think Kendrick got some background vocals. He’s done a lot of background vocals for me.”

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Schoolboy Q revealed that his initial recording sessions for Blank Face LP resulted in “depressed rap.” He stated that nothing from those sessions made it on to the album. On June 12, 2016 following the album’s release, Schoolboy Q took to Twitter to answer certain questions from fans. One of which related to the absence of his frequent collaborator ASAP Rocky, with whom he has recorded several songs, such as “Brand New Guy,” “Hands on the Wheel,” “Electric Body” and “Califonication”. Schoolboy Q revealed Rocky was originally on the album, however the song’s producer, Pharrell Williams, had given the instrumental to another artist. Schoolboy Q also revealed he freestyled all the lyrics to “JoHn Muir”.

Release and promotion
On June 14, 2016, Schoolboy Q revealed that his second major-label album would be titled Blank Face LP, while also unveiling what was thought to be the album’s cover art. The artwork makes use of the notorious Crying Jordan meme, with his face blurred out. On June 16, Schoolboy Q released what was thought to be the cover art for the deluxe edition of the album, which features 2016 US Presidential candidate Donald Trump, with his face blurred out as well. However, a few days later, in an interview with TMZ, Schoolboy Q revealed that he was “trolling” his fans and later unveiled the official album cover.

On June 18, 2016, Schoolboy Q released a trailer, which previewed a new song, in promotion for the album. On June 21, Schoolboy Q released the second trailer as promotion for the short film, which was co-directed by Kendrick Lamar and the Lil Homies. On June 23, Schoolboy Q revealed the album’s track listing. On June 24, Schoolboy Q released the short film, titled By Any Means (which became the eighth track on the album). The nine-minute short film presents a loose day-in-the-life look at Schoolboy Q’s South Central neighborhood.

On June 27, 2016, Schoolboy Q announced the Groovy Tony Pit Stops, a 12 show concert tour in support for the album. The tour began in San Francisco on July 9, and concluded on July 17, in Houston. On June 29, Schoolboy Q held a listening session for the album in New York City, which was hosted by Hot 97 radio personality, Peter Rosenberg. On June 30, Schoolboy Q released Tookie Knows II, the continuation of his short film By Any Means. In June 2016, Schoolboy Q appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he performed a live rendition of “Groovy Tony” and “That Part”. On July 11, Schoolboy Q released the third installment to his mini-film series, titled Black THougHts (Pt. 3).

Critical reviews
Blank Face LP received widespread acclaim from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 81, based on 17 reviews. William Ketchum of HipHopDX, who gave the album a 4.3 out of 5 rating, wrote “Blank Face LP could’ve cut some fat from its 72-plus minutes and 17 tracks, especially since some songs cover the same ground. However, as a whole, Blank Face LP is a victory not only for ScHoolboy Q, but for a T.D.E. crew that had seemed to lose momentum outside of its star player. Kieth Harris of Rolling Stone, praised the production and guest appearances, writing: “Digi+Phonics, Black Hippy’s go-to production crew, handle most of the beats, which are plush with sumptuous, weed-hazy pleasures but steeped in a dank, justifiable paranoia. Nearly every element of the sound – the mean breakbeat from an old Christine McVie tune that Tae Beast loops beneath lead single “Groovy Tony,” R&B visionary Anderson .Paak sweetening the mood without lightening it, guest rhymes from Kanye and Jadakiss and Vince Staples – adds an ominous undertone.” Chris Gibbons of XXL, who gave the album a 4 out of 5 rating, concluded with: “Blank Face LP isn’t Schoolboy Q’s first great album, but it’s the first one where he lives up to his utmost potential. He can be smooth, he can be hard as nails, but whatever he is, the MC does it with greatness. Q can talk about his violent, drug-dealing past and almost celebrate it in one moment and decry the ever-present dangers of hood life in the next. Blank Face is the album an artist like Schoolboy Q was born to make.” Writing for Exclaim! A. Harmony praised the album’s “heterogenous collection of styles”.

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