Recommended: Schoolboy Q – Habits & Contradictions

Schoolboy Q’s sophomore outing, “Habits & Contradictions” (#HnC) is a giant leap in progress over his debut in just about every way. It’s a tightly paced, freshly produced new west banger that never lets up even in the interlude. We gave you a few reasons last year for why you should already be listening to Q but this album is an even better place to start.

“Sacreligious” opens the album unconventionally with a sad, depressed gangsta rap track. The soundtrack to a drowning is one of the few ways to accurately describe what the beat sounds like. That soundscape backing up lines like “betrayed by a lot of homies, all my friends stay on shuffle.” The album is full of unexpected gems and sounds like this. The album manages to find some niche where it manages to give you an exciting sound while still sounding so familiar, and Q sounds at home in every groove. While there are quite a few slightly more positive tracks on the album, such as the fucked up anthem “Hands On The Wheel” featuring every blogs current favorite rapper A$AP Rocky, Q shines on the more sinister toned songs. The simple but effective flip of Portishead on “Raymond 1969” perfectly comments the hard, don’t give a fuck gangster lyrical concept used for the track. “Fucking making a killing but I ain’t dying up in prison/ Fully loaded clip, my brain up to the ceiling.” Another dark highlight is “Nightmare On Figg St.” Produced by A$AP’s own ASAP Ty, Q finds right off the start and never loses it. It is the very definition of a sinister sound. to the point of almost nasuea.

The year just started and still there’s no question that this album will be one of twenty-twelve’s strongest. Ridiculous ad-libs, catchy hooks (“Weed and brews, life for me is just weed and brews”), and an absolutely killer beat selection are just a few reasons why Schoolboy Q is one of the more exciting rappers in his generation. ”Habits & Contradictions” doesn’t ask to be in your heavy rotation playlist, it demands it.

Schoolboy Q’s “Habits & Contradictions” is available now on Itunes.