Friday was an emotional day for ScHoolboy Q as he released his Blank Face LP, but also received tragic news. The TDE rapper gave an interview to Letty and Real 92.3 to share the emotions he was experiencing in his own life and put his album into context with what the world is experiencing. This past week, two Black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were shot and killed by police. The incidents put the country’s racial tensions on full display.
ScHoolboy Q tries to put everything in perspective as he analyzes what’s going on and gives his fans 10 insights into his thoughts.
“It’s a tragic day for me, even though my album dropped,” he says. “To be honest, it’s gonna be another day that’s gonna be just as tragic. It’s called life. We lose people, we bring people into the world. We have expectations on things and then things come out sideways. Nobody’s perfect.”
ScHoolboy Q Details Breaking Out Of “Retirement”
Earlier this week, ScHoolboy Q shared the story of how he almost stopped making music after his 2014 album, Oxymoron. He said it was a matter of making sure his daughter was his priority in his life. He further details the situation in the new interview.
“I took a break from music to the point where I quit,” he says. “I didn’t even like tell people I’m retired or tell Top or like Interscope. It was just a thing where it was just like I’m never gonna give ’em my album so they’ll get the point.”
He says he broke out of his retirement after he “just woke up one day.” ScHoolboy Q changed his music making process, which inspired him to formulate Blank Face LP.
“I just put the studio in the crib and it was like, I’d rather just do it that way,” he says.
“Blank Face LP” Reflects ScHoolboy Q’s Maturity
While Oxymoron told ScHoolboy Q’s story balancing being a father and a gangster, the 29-year-old says that he was able to reach a new level of introspection on Blank Face LP.
“I was just in a growing up stage,” he says. “I’ll be 30 in October. I know I look 45 it’s ok. I’ll be 30 in October. When you hit that age, it’s almost like you done seen things twice. You done experienced things. Things went your way then it didn’t go your way. The kid is seven now. I still remember when she was nine months. Life is changing. I’m not really a gangbanger no more, but I also wanted to touch on that and let people know. That’s why I got lyrics where I say, ‘Let’s put the rags down to raise our kids.’ I have stuff like that where I say, ‘The teachers ain’t teaching / The judge taught us numbers / Pops was never home so through the streets we learn colors.’ It’s just like certain things I woulda never said I woulda been like ‘Aw, no, I’m too tough, I can’t be going all on that.’ That political thing, I just opened up myself and that comes with recording at my house.”
“Str8 Ballin” Is ScHoolboy Q’s Favorite Tupac Song & His Version Is Inspired By Doubters Including His High School Teacher
ScHoolboy Q says that “Str8 Ballin” was in fact inspired by Tupac as his favorite song of the West Coast legend’s is that of the same name. He explains how the song was inspired by various people who doubted him throughout his life from those in his childhood who told him not to pursue football to one of his teachers at Gardena High School who he overheard tell another student that he made excuses.
“I always had good grades, but I always talked,” he says. “I always talked because it wasn’t interesting to me. I know how to write an essay. I know how to pronounciate. I know how to do all these things and it’s like I wanna talk in class. It just didn’t interest me like that. He used to down talk me to the point where I heard him speak down on me.”
Music Is More Powerful & Reflects Reality Better Than Social Media
With all of the tragedies that have occurred recently, ScHoolboy Q said he is taking a break from social media. He says that it is easy for people to question his motives on the Internet, but the true changes are not made on a computer. He says Blank Face LP was pretty much finished in December, but does acknowledge that it reflects what has been going on.
“People on Twitter, they’re hitting you up about, ‘Speak up on this. Do that,'” he says. “Bruh, this is Twitter. Real life is off Twitter. ‘Cause as soon as I do this, I don’t even know what you just said to me. You’re lucky I even saw what you said. You get what I’m saying? ‘Cause I could have been doing something real life by the time you tweet ‘Why you ain’t saying nothing?’ It’s like, bruh, this is fake. You don’t know what I do for people. You don’t know what I speak on. You don’t know what I stand for. It’s just outta hand. People take this social media and all this like it’s real life. Social media is bringing way more negativity into our life, people not really speaking the real. That’s why in the music, music is one of the most powerfulest things ever. The fact that I wrote these verses in these songs a year ago and it’s happening right now is crazy to me.”
“THat Part” Remix With Black Hippy Was Top Dawg’s Idea
We got a little taste of Black Hippy when Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul joined Jay Rock on “Vice City” and now on the “THat Part” remix we get some more. After years of being together, ScHoolboy Q says that it’s just difficult to create music as a group because each member has so much going on in his solo career. Q says that Top Dawg made them all come together for the most recent offering.
“We don’t like rapping with each other no more,” ScHoolboy Q explains. “That’s pretty old now for us. We love each other. We love, it’s like Top, he’ll get on the phone, ‘Yo man.’ I mean, he doesn’t force us to do anything. He can’t grab us, ‘Get this dude.’ We’re 30 years old and 29 years old. He suggests things.”
The rapper continues by saying that he does things that his mentor suggests because he is the one who really supported him even when it didn’t make sense for him to.
“He gave me a chance when all these dudes is asking for stuff now wouldn’t give me a chance,” he says of Top Dawg. “And this is a Blood. I grew up Cripping like miles away from him. He from Watts, I’m from South Central. The heart of South Central. Fig and 51st Street. He’s from the Nickerson Gardens projects. And he gave me a chance. So it’s hard for me to tell him no to anything. Like he gave me a chance that nobody else woulda gave me and I wasn’t even really rapping. He let me live and sleep on his couch, let me walk in on his refrigerator, take food out his kids mouth. I watched his kids grow up. So it’s like it’s deeper than rap music. It’s almost like my pops. It’s like he tells me something, I might not agree with every single thing he tells me to do or every single thing he say, but out of respect for what he done for me, it’s hard for me to say no or put up a big argument about it. It’s like just do it. Then like I said, we just did it then look, I touched on a piece that I probably would have never touched on if he didn’t tell me to do it.”
Q directly addresses the Sterling shooting in the song. Addressing politics and social justice is something he says that he wouldn’t have done before his fresh start on this album.
Even though he doesn’t see much of a future for Black Hippy, he will always value what he learned from being a part of the group.
“Don’t get it wrong. We don’t like rapping with each other, but Kendrick, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, they’re my favorite rappers,” he says. “They taught me how to rap. I didn’t come here learning how to rap. I came over there and I got inspired by them and they made me pick my pen up. If you listen to my first mixtape …, you would not believe who I am to this day. I write all my own lyrics. They push me. They was the ones in the studio every day. I was the one still in the streets going back and forth to Seattle selling oxycotton. They forced me to get the pen and talk about them trips of going to Seattle. Talk about why you still going to the hood. They made me do that and they made me progress to the point where now, they can’t see me. I tell them all the time, ‘Y’all can’t mess with me.'”
Black Hippy Album Doesn’t Seem To Be Coming Any Time Soon
Pretty much every time a member of Black Hippy is interviewed, the possibility of a group album comes up and each time it is shut down.
“It’s like I start tour next few months,” ScHoolboy Q says. “Kendrick’s been working. Ab-Soul, he just finished a project. Then he’s gonna tour. Jay Rock, he’s been touring. He’s back and forth around the country and he also has a daughter. I have a daughter. It’s like when do you have time to actually get in the studio and work on it?”
He says that it’s not Top Dawg’s fault the album is not in the works, it’s just the process of working as a group. Another factor is the timing it takes to make the quality music that the label prides itself on.
“Everybody’s always blaming Top,” he says. “‘Top don’t put the album out. Top don’t put this out. Why Top holding you all back?’ It’s like bro, why are we the best in rap? Because we take our time with our music and we actually touch on things. I may not be inspired this month. It’s months where I’ll be in the studio and I’m just talking about my chains, my jewelry and it’s like, that’s not going to make the album and I’m not going to put it out because it’s not good enough to be on my album. It’s like the gym practicing. You in the gym doing layups working hard in the offseason. Then when it’s time for the season, you out there nice. You breaking records like Steph Curry. So it’s hard for us to get in the studio together and then just finish an album in two months because none of us work like that.”
Kanye West’s THat Part Was Meant To Break Up The Heaviness Of The Album
Throughout the interview, ScHoolboy Q emphasizes how weighty the album is. He says that even on songs like “WHateva U Want,” which has a more bouncy vibe, the lyrics tell dark stories of the streets. However, the Kanye West-assisted “THat Part” is supposed to really be a good feel-good song.
“That track was never meant to be who had the hardest verse,” he says. “If you listen to my album, my album is serious from top to bottom. Even the other couple fun songs I got, I’m still splashing things in there like ‘WHateva U Want’…It was like, ‘When am I gonna have fun?’ ‘THat Part’ was just for you to ride to, not even really listen to what we were saying. Just have fun because everything in that album is real serious like top to bottom.”
“By Any Means” Was Originally A Kendrick Lamar Beat
There were rumors that Kendrick Lamar helped produce Blank Face LP. ScHoolboy Q has already debunked that, but in the recent interview, he explains how K. Dot contributed to “By Any Means.”
“Kendrick be having so many beats, right?” he says. “And he won’t do nothing to ’em. They’ll just be like playing it. And I’ll just go through his computer like sneak his computer he won’t know it. I know his password and all that. Get on his computer, just run through beats. I’m like, bruh. I’ll look at the date when he download it, it’ll be like 2013 or 2014. It’s like, bruh, I’m taking this beat. He’s like, ‘Whatever, I’m not using it.’ I recorded it that same night. Then he’s in there and he added the ‘Get yours, get yours.’ That fast. He contributed to that song. But that song, ‘By Any Means,’ is just about where I come from, we gotta do what we gotta do by any means just to survive.”
“Blank Face LP” Was Originally Titled After Ghostface Killah
ScHoolboy Q had a powerful release concept for Blank Face LP that was cut short because everyone thought the Crying Jordan meme was the actual cover. Well, that wasn’t the only creative idea that was thwarted.
“I had my own concept, but I wanted to name the album Ghost Face, but I thought it would be a little too corny to name it right after a rapper, so I decided to name it Blank Face. That’s where I get the name Groovy Tony from because Ghostface used to go by Tony Starks.”
ScHoolboy Q Explains What He Meant By “The Label Made Me” Put “Overtime” With Miguel & Justine Skye On “Blank Face LP”
ScHoolboy Q would like everyone to know that Interscope did not make him put a Miguel song on his album, unlike what some blogs reported from his listening session. The rapper says the “label” he was referring to was TDE and that the only people at Interscope he even really knows are A&R Manny Smith and CEO John Janick. He says his entire comment about the song was misunderstood.
“Interscope can’t tell me to do nothing,” he says. “Interscope didn’t suggest nothing. Top and Dave suggested the record. My relationship, I don’t even know nobody from Interscope. I go there, I shake John’s hand. I shake Manny’s hand. That’s about it. Manny’s the one that found me who was like, ‘I wanna sign him.’ John is the head. Then I got my radio peeps and the publicist and stuff like that. I don’t go to the office and be like, ‘Yo’ and have conversations with the label. I done gave them a number one album. I done gave them hit records. They’re not trippin on what I want to do. I wrote the song so I obviously like the song a little bit. When I wrote the song, I hated it at first because it reminded me of a bootleg ‘Studio’ because I was singing on the hook. The part Miguel was singing, I was singing. Then I brought Kendrick in and I was like, ‘Give me that Lord of the Rings voice stuff that you do.’ He did it and then I’m like, and he like, and he tell me like, ‘Naw, I don’t like this. It’s over.’ Then Top heard it. He’s like, ‘No, bruh, we gotta use it. We gotta use it.’ He tried to make me use my singing part. I’m like, ‘It’s not happening.’ That’s when I was like, ‘Give me Miguel.’ Then I asked Dave, I’m like, ‘Who is another dark-skinned, young upcoming artist that’s dope that has a good voice?’ He gave me a bunch of names. I didn’t know much about Justine. I heard her voice I looked, she’s beautiful and she sings good. I need her on this record. There you go, you have the record.”
Even though he places the blame on blogs for getting the information wrong, he understands that he could have chosen his words better. Q says that he actually called up Miguel to apologize to him.
“What I said at the listening party, I only got so much time in between songs that I can talk,” he says. “I don’t wanna sit there and talk up two minutes before I play the next song. So what I said, it was real brief and real quick. Then of course, just like websites are, they suck ’cause they wanna be the first one, before I even got in the car after the album release, it was everywhere before they could even write a review. ‘Q says label makes them put song on it featuring Miguel.’ I never once spoke Miguel’s name. That put me in a tough situation. That made Miguel feel a certain way. To the point where I had to holler at him like bro it was never nothing against you. And I was completely wrong for that. I should’ve worded it way better instead of just saying it the way I would’ve said it. That could’ve been bad. I would’ve been hot. There’s nothing you coulda said to me. I’m not hearing it. You can’t call me or nothing. It’s like ‘F you, homie. When I see you, I might slap you. You mean to tell me I done wasted my time in the studio, paid for my own studio session, do something for you homie? Then you go around telling you don’t like it in front of everybody and then blast it?’ But that was the websites saying, they didn’t put Justine’s name. They put Miguel’s name because he’s the big artist. That was sucka stuff. That’s why I started blocking every blog on my Twitter. I just block ’em so they can’t ever see nothing. Every website is blocked…. They take your words and they’ll flip it around. It’s weird, though, because I could’ve worded it better. But at the same time, pump your breaks before you go and put something up there to try to be the first one with the exclusive.”
Watch the full interview below: