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THROWBACK: ScHoolboy Q – Setbacks Review

ScHoolboy Q – Setbacks

Released: 11 January 2011

Often times, it sounds like ScHoolboy Q’s trying to do too much with his rhyme and flow styling, this a problem that Kendrick Lamar almost has, but is able to control due to his style and delivery. At times on “Setbacks“, Q sounds like a complete Kendrick Lamar knock-off. This is especially evident on “Lightyears Ahead“, where Kendrick is featured and completely (and flawlessly) steals the spotlight. Their rapping styles are similar….at times too similar to the point where if they’re on a track together, Kendrick does him so well that Schoolboy Q ends up looking like a poor man’s version. Don’t get me wrong, Schoolboy Q can rap, it’s just that his style (from punchline, punchline structure, flow, delivery, and syntax) resembles Kendrick’s so closely, you can’t help but feel awkward when he’s “going in” because it sounds like a lesser version of a Kendrick verse – albeit not a bad verse as a whole. However, as a whole, Q, when he’s not doing Kendrick’s trademark “going in flow”, is a pretty good damn good rapper.

The production on this piece is very impressive. TDE soldier, Tae Beast, produced a good bulk of tracks while PHonix and Sore Losers hold a couple of production credits as well. On “Setbacks“, ScHoolboy holds his own on the mic, but when rhyming with his TDE brothers AB Soul, Jay Rock, and Kendrick Lamar, he is very blatantly the inferior.

For what it’s worth, Setbacks is one of the strongest releases out of the TDE camp so far. Even if Q can’t go bar for bar with Kendrick, he can still make good music on his own. Props to that, and in the end, that’s all that really matters.

Figg Get Da Money: 5/5
Kamikaze: 5/5 (resembles 50 cent on the hook)
Lightyears Ahead (feat Kendrick Lamar): 4/5
What’s Tha Word (feat Jay Rock): 4.25/5
iBetiGotSumWeed: 4.75/5
Druggys With Hoes: 4/5
Cycle: 5/5
To Tha Beat (F’d Up): 4.5/5 (hype song, it could very easily be the album’s anthem)
Crazy: 3.75/5
Phenomenom (feat Alori Joh): 3.5/5
Situations: 4.5/5
Fantasy (feat Jhene Aiko): 3.75/5 (Very strangely placed song, this doesn’t fit on this album at all. I still love Jhene Aiko though; I like most of her collaborations with TDE)
I’m Good (feat BJ The Chicago Kid & PuncH): 4.5/5
Birds & The Beez (feat Kendrick Lamar): 4.5/5 (We get to hear Q’s Kendrick-style aggressive flow at the end. Not good. Good thing it was only 2 bars)
Rolling Stone (feat Black Hippy): 3.5/5



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