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Schoolboy Q’s second independent album, Habits & Contradictions paints a vivid picture of who he is and the life that he has lived. Released on January 14th, “Habits & Contradictions” takes an unfamiliar lyrical approach that proves that Q is unlike any other West Coast artist. This album sets Schoolboy Q apart from other rappers though it boasts features from artists such as ASAP Rocky, Currensy, Dom Kennedy, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay Rock.
Each track tells a story of Q’s life, in which there is beauty, even in its explicitness. His use of harsh language is used to help fans understand the reality of his life as a Crip. From tales of pill selling, life struggles, religious hypocrites, and partying; Schoolboy Q has crafted a fantastic self-reflection album in Habits & Contradictions.
The first track, “Sacrilegious” makes reference to Q’s personal flaws. The beat is beautiful with simplistic guitar strums mixed with heavy bass rhythms and drum claps that create a certain sense of tension and emotion. Both the song and beat sets a raw and somber tone for the rest of the album.
The beat to the song, “My Hatin’ Joint” takes on a classy Indian vibe. Smooth sounding flutes and pianos play while Q talks at the start of the track. Adding heavy bass, more flutes, and drums at the beginning of the first verse catches listeners off guard. “My Hatin’ Joint” is sure to be a favorite among listeners. In this track, Q tries to convince a girl that he is better than all the other guys by taking a pause from rapping to speak directly to the girl. This unusual lyrical approach is typical of Schoolboy Q.
Habits & Contradictions features Q’s distinctive process and flow. The only caveat about Habits & Contradictions is that only one track talks about Q’s present life, “Blessed” featuring Kendrick Lamar. The quick drum pattern that plays during every other line helps intensify how powerful and emotional the track is. “Blessed” is such a powerful song because you hear two different stories, the life of a gang banger and the life of a rapper. Q’s ability to recognize the consequences of his old lifestyle can be heard in “Blessed”. “I was hangin’ on them corners late/ Pockets wasn’t straight, bitch/ I ain’t go’ make it at this rate, dawg/ Know what I’m sayin? Nigga prayin’ up to God just hopin’ that he hear a nigga/
I know the world got more problems and it’s much bigger/ But I figured, I’d get some shit up off my chest”. Rather than continue a life of violence, music is Q’s outlet and Habits & Contradictions absolutely showcases his talent.