We finally did it! Knowledge and The Verbal Arteest made a podcast!
In this episode we discuss:
Sadat X – Agua
DJ Khaled – Major Key
Schoolboy Q – Blank Face
Sorry the audio quality is crap, we’re working on that! That’s why this is episode negative one, and why there seems to be two intros*. These negative episode numbers will continue for a little while until we get better. Expect another episode very soon!
*We’ve been talking about doing this for ages and now we’ve finally made it happen. But, it turns out that podcasting isn’t the easiest task in the world. So there’s a whole ~45 minute segment that we decided to cut from between the two intros. It wasn’t the worst audio ever, but there was too much dead air for us to not even be talking about the selected albums.
Apologies for the recent hiatus. I’ve been listening to this album for about a month now (shout-out to Hip-Hop Still Has It for putting me on to it), and attempting to write about it makes me appreciate that I have three different review formats, all without scores. In other words, Isaiah Rashad, and his TDE debut album, Cilvia Demo, perplex me, just like Kendrick Lamar‘s Section.80 did a few years ago. Both were my introduction to their artists, and both have a vagueness about them that simultaneously stimulates me and gets on my damn nerves. Section.80 wavered between pseudo-celebrations of gang life, a young kid just having fun, and observant storytellings with a possibly feminist leaning. This left me very confused about the rapper that Kendrick would end up being, and I’m still worried that Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City‘s consistency was a fluke. As for Cilvia Demo, I like the idea of simply writing a short piece about it because I can’t tell if Isaiah is a southern version of Ice Cube conscious, an insightful, extremely honest introspective psychologist, or just an emcee whose music is built for drivin’ slow.
Two recent interviews have all but confirmed what I suspected about Schoolboy Q’s Oxymoron album: it’s the product of the tedious, usually fruitless process of trying to please a major label while still making honest art. This isn’t surprising, nor is it a new trend. Most of my reviews note the lack of quality that results from serving these two opposing masters. But, until major labels curb their interference or mercifully die off, these stories will continue to be noteworthy. Especially when the artist complains so quickly after the release of his/her first album, and especially when that album seems to have succeeded with both critics and fans (Oxymoron has a 79/100 on Metacritic and debuted at #1) And, selfishly, especially when I just finished panning the album for this very problem.
Schoolboy Q had failed to impress me up until now, so the level of hype before Oxymoron’s release surprised me. I expected a Lloyd Banks level of hype, where we’re paying attention out of respect for his more popular teammate, but Q seemed to warrant his own love. Unfortunately, the radio interviews and the acclaim for the lead-up singles didn’t match his actual talent in my opinion. Collard Greens and Man of the Year were fun songs, but not fun enough to hide their emptiness, so neither lead-up single convinced me that a great album was on the way. Sure enough, hype-be-damned, Oxymoron only managed to slightly impress me. Here’s how: