ScHoolboy Q

Habits & Contradictions

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    8
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Half gangster, half left-field artist, ScHoolboy Q comes correct when he snarls "I ain't on my Odd Future tip" before threatening to disembowel any challenger, and all while a zombie-walk beat lies underneath. For any old-school fan, Habits & Contradictions rolls like it was brought up on hip-hop magazines instead of indie websites, with beats hitting hard and most dark spots traceable back to Three 6 Mafia and their wonderfully wretched ilk. On the rapper's sophomore effort, this "steeped in the hardcore tradition" attitude is a wonderful contrast to the funky experimentation from names like Lex Luger, the Alchemist, and Tabu, the last of whom creates a wonderful Daft Punk in Shadyville production for the opening "Sacrilegious." Swinging away from this and toward the surprisingly polished, Best Kept Secret gives "Hands on the Wheel" a big and busy construction, over which ScHoolboy and guest ASAP Rocky party, swagger, and shine supremely. Interesting how both mother and guilt are hanging over the jacked-up gangbangers of "Raymond 1969," and when you see the titles "Druggys wit Hoes Again" and "Blessed," neither are ironic and this ScHoolboy lives up to both. In turn, Habits & Contradictions, the album, lives up to its title, which could throw some, but the complicated rapper always seems to convert more than he scares away, and you can blame his keen, exciting, risk-taking, vintage-styled, and deep set of skills for that.

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