Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Song of the Day #294 - Schoolboy Q - Groovy Tony

Sell narcotics and step my dollars up to Bill Gates

Right around when Song of the Day started, Schoolboy Q's Oxymoron dropped, and many of my early efforts reflected by Q-mania. But that was almost two years ago (wow!) and since then, we haven't heard too much from our boy... It's not something where you really note an absence, though, y'know? Not because that the genre has been saturated with worthy successors, but the opposite! His previous efforts have retained such an appeal that whenever I'm hurting for something Pusha T dark, Kendrick dense, and Rocky flowing, I can hear a few choice cuts and I'm more than sated.

I wouldn't have even really thought it could be topped until I heard this one. The beat is one of those where it sounds so good that you want to hear absolutely everyone on it... that creepy "blank face!" sample, that heavy bass... and yet, his flow is so unorthodox, so weirdly perfect, that anyone else would almost be an insult. Like holy crap, can someone explain to me what his flow is on here? I can describe it in a bunch of ways that doesn't add up to good rapping on paper: many of the lines don't rhyme, many of them don't share the same meter as the previous ones, the relation between his emphasis and the beat is complicated... none of this is "traditional", none of this "makes sense".

But oh my god does it work. I think a lot of the appeal comes from the sheer density of his enunciation, the amount that he's chewing through and spitting out, it feels desperate, somehow, like he can barely contain it, like he's running himself ragged just trying to articulate his jaw. It's something I associate with Ghostface in his prime, and weirdly Riff Raff, too, where you're partially stunned just by the fact that they're saying all this stuff. And the way this power sort of pulls him off the beat, only restabling each time he pulls the intensity in on the quieter lines, it really feels like he's fighting some sort of demon, some possession...

The structuring of this track reflects his genius, and his own acknowledgement of it... it's like, you get this crazy long verse at the start, and then a segue into a different sort of mode in the middle of it, and you're feeling the whole thing but the memory of just how insane his flow got at the start is really lingering with you, and then he drops the "blank face" again, and it's like, holy shit! Here it is again! But he's doubled down on the intensity, dropped all the restraint, let everything flow through him... the heavy distortion and the panning on the outro is legit chills.

This is the real one, isn't it? This could very well be the best song of his career thus far. This is a song I can easily see myself listening to two years from now. Are we looking at the lead single from the AOTY? I wouldn't even be surprised.

No comments: