As far as they go, this is about as dense and straight up a LP can be! Blank Face journeys through schoolboys childhood to his current career as a rapper, focusing predominately on the days when he was most active as a Crip. He doesn’t mess us around with metaphors and too many hidden meanings like his Co-Producer for the album and crew mate Kendrick Lamar.
Schoolboy gets pretty real pretty fast by touching on current sociopolitical world issues, past personal issues and struggles, especially in ‘By Any Means (Part 1)’, ‘Tookie Knows (Part 2)’, and ‘Black THougHts (Part 3)’ where he hit us with 3 gripping clips that hold dramatisations of his grandma sweeping gun shells off the driveway and various acts of gangbanging (Co-Directed by Kendrick P.S)
Fellow Top Dawg of TDE Kendrick Lamar has proven himself again and again as the front runner for the crew and even “raps new messiah” according to hiphopdx.com BUT Schoolboy is shining hard so hard with Blank Face, he may not just be the “most street MC in L.A.’s Black Hippy rap collective” anymore, he may be the best.
Pleading for Bloods and Crips to “put the rags down and raise our kids” on one track, then growing defeated while rapping about the endless cycle of police brutality and unavoidable poverty on another track he doesn’t restrain when it comes time to hit home.
Digi+Phonics (Tae Beast, Sounwave, Dave Free and Willie B) are an American hip hop production team who hold the title of TDE’s go to producers, they handle most of the beats on this LP. Hailed as “plush with sumptuous, weed-hazy pleasures but steeped in a dank, justifiable paranoia” by Rolling Stone, almost every track has an ominous undertone even the unexpectedly chill ‘Studio’.
Working with absolute visionary and fast rising RnB lord Anderson .Paak they give life to the token LP track ‘Groovy Tony’ without taking away that grimy dark Q that we love, he has managed to pull off gritty dark rap that is somehow still feel good (shoutout also to the ominous turn up track ‘Whateva u want’ and TorcH).
WORDS BY MIRANDA LIDGERWOOD