LigHt Years AHead (Sky HigH)
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment / ScHoolboy Q
Schoolboy Q is a bit of an enigma. As a former Crip drug dealer, he delights in gutter-trawling stories like "Druggys Wit H*es" and "iBETiGOTSUMWEED." When he reflects, "I know n*gg*s that kill n*gg*s that kill n*gg*s ... the cycle continues," he knows he has helped perpetuate this tragedy. But Setbacks' rich, jazzy production, made by relative unknowns like Tae Beast, DJ Wes and Sounwave, belie Schoolboy's thug behavior. Whether it's real or a pretty façade, the bebop beats of "Figg Get Da Money" and "Birds & the Beez" suggest a deep melancholy underneath the gangster surface.