Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Californication" ft. A$AP Rocky- Schoolboy Q

Yesterday the first move I made was to snatch up copies of St. Vincent's digitally skronky self-titled LP and Schoolboy Q's heavily anticipated Oxymoron release. Bogged down by a major article, I couldn't wait to tear into two albums I'd been "dying" to hear. However, amidst all that great new music, I fell into a rabbit hole of Fallout Boy songs. I perused Wikipedia reading up on band members and who gets credit for what. It wasn't celebratory the entire time though. I gleefully sniped at "Sugar We're Going Down" wondering how exactly Pete Wentz won against this unnamed girl when she wound up as "a line in a song." Had I plowed ahead to their next record, 2007's Infinity on High I would've come across the perfect reference point for Schoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky's working relationship, "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race".

I'm fairly certain the bi-coastal pair hasn't heard much of the pop-punk band, but there's no other way to describe them. Q came to prominence on Rocky's churning "Brand New Guy" with full-throated threats and nightmarish squeals. So Rocky paid the Black Hippy member back by burning down the indelible "Hands on the Wheel" with a laundry list of drug-consumption that still makes me feel high. How does Q respond? By doubling down on the crisp Long. Live. A$AP cut "PMW". He tipped his bucket hat to "Hands on the Wheel", made 30 racks in one flight, and managed to bring back the much maligned Hush Puppies brand. Their partnership is a hip-hop Cold War with all of the escalation, but none of the ill-will.

That's why it seemed impossible Rocky wouldn't be appearing on Oxymoron, Q's major-label coming-out party. Did the pair have nothing left in the tank? Was there actual animosity? Had we already reached disarmament? All of those questions disappeared as soon as "Californication" (a Target only exclusive) was revealed. Rock doesn't waste any time coming in over the nightmarish 8-bit beat. He brings 808s back in full-force, lands a DDT on the rap game, and pulls-off a BBC joke that will make news junkies squirm. Not one to be outdone, Q bulldozes the listener with a brand of over-consumption he's perfected. Forget nibbling on fine lobster or steak, he'd rather "eat until my tummy swole." Sex turns into a game of "eenie, meenie, minie, mo" and enough indo will be blow to rival The Fog. "Californication" then continues Q's streak of making embraceable "lecher" raps that pull everyone around him into that universe. To quote the man himself, "wouldn't be the first" and here's hoping it's far from the last.

Oxymoron is in-stores now through TDE/Interscope. Look for a review of the LP later in the week.

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