After a years-slow burn culminating with Kendrick Lamar's lauded Good Kid Maad City album, TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) is unquestionably Los Angeles' preeminent rap dynasty—the spiritual successor to Ruthless and Death Row's infamous legacies. Just a few years ago I was one of many bemoaning the sad state of LA rap, what with Snoop hanging out with known criminals and The Game just embarassing everybody.
Top Dawg's calling card has not been gangsta theatrics, beef mongering, or over the top ignorance—just, thankfully, great rapping. Kendrick is undoubtedly the face of it—though Ab-Soul might just be the best rapper in the squad—but one of their strongest assets has long been Quincy "ScHoolboy Q" Hanley. ScHoolboy (the "H" always capitalized in honor of his set, the Hoover Crips) has an instantly recognizable voice and flow, somewhere between Kanye's balls-out throat-clearing and Tha Dogg Pound's balance of lyricism with Funkadelic psycho-alpha hootin-and-hollering. He's not claiming to be a Good Kid, he's an unrepentant gangbanger, hardly believing that he's "finally the illest Crip" in the rap game. He's also startlingly upfront in his best moments, detailing his own pill addiction, and staying grateful for what he has. He'll be at Showbox tonight with TDE's newest, Tennessee native Isaiah Rashad, who's own Civia Demo from earlier this year has marked him as a bit of a baby Kendrick:
Tonight these two, along with the talented Odd Future affiliate
Vince Staples play the Showbox Sodo. Don't break the bank just yet though—it's already sold out.