Schoolboy Q recently released his fourth studio album “Blank Face LP” and, only a few days later, a music video for one of the songs from his album called “Black THougHts.”
Schoolboy Q is an American rap artist who grew up in Central South Los Angeles, California, and is now signed to independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). The focus of his songs, throughout all of his albums, has centered mainly on the hardships involved when growing up in an environment not suitable for people, much less children. In a three-part-long short film, Schoolboy provides visuals which connects his story. “Black THougHts” is the last of the three, but it brings home a heartbreaking message which ties together not only his short film, but his philosophy as a whole.
While the first video for “By Any Means” showcases Schoolboy having a regular day with his crew, and the second for “Tookie Knows II” a failed robbery and his subsequent arrest, “Black THougHts,” the third and final installment of the mini movie, delves deeper, presenting an introspective look on life below the poverty level, and the choices it forces one to make. “Black THougHts” is split by a life divided by two alternate possible realities: imprisonment or fatherhood. It sequences a series of normal daily activities on both sides of the spectrum, with one being an convict touring the walls of his prison after being sentenced, the other a parent walking his daughter to the bus stop to send her off to school. The heartbreaking part? Both sides include bars. His prison, of course, has high walls and barbed wire, and no future. In the fatherhood reality, his mansion, which is big and beautiful, also features its own set of wire walls enclosing the property, and while Schoolboy and his daughter are able to walk through them via a small opening, it is very clear that the imprisoned mentality never really disappears, no matter how successful he becomes.
Schoolboy Q’s narrative tells a story which has been applicable to the black community for far too long: incarceration is a state of mind. The gangs, the violence, the lifestyle as a whole generates negative thoughts, which leads to negatives actions, and negative outcomes. Schoolboy acknowledges this fact, and asks those who listen to his music to see the problem, too. He calls for a change, for people to “put the rags down and raise our kids,” in the hopes that the next generation will be better than the last. “Black THougHts” is a relevant song, if only for the fact that it sheds light on a problem—on a system—of violence and neglect that has been widely overlooked, hopefully until now.