Schoolboy Q + Jay Rock @ O2 Institute, Birmingham, UK – 4th February 2020

Review and Photography by Robert Barrett

It was a full on Top Dawg Entertainment takeover in Birmingham when Schoolboy Q’s CrasH tour landed at The O2 Institute. Supported by label mate and fellow Black Hippy member Jay Rock, there was no better place to be for hip hop fans than at the O2 Institute.

Jay Rock brought his hard hitting flow to the brummie crowd first. He tested their knowledge of his back catalogue with “Hood Gonna Love it”. Thankfully the crowd passed with flying colours. “Kings Dead” was the show stealer of the set, Jay Rock’s hard delivery and non stop tunes upped the energy in time for the main event.

Two men, with their faces covered by paper bags (just like the CrasH Talk artwork) formed the set design for Schoolboy Q. As he started, I wondered if they would leave the stage at any point. Unbelievably they sat through the whole set without moving, but after the show I started to understand why. Schoolboy Q was magnetic from start to finish, a natural born performer.

His slightly goofy personality shone through, with Michael Jackson moves and some hilarious facial expressions but when it came to the songs, being able to switch from his laid back flow to heavier delivery had the audience going wild. A ferocious “THat Part” was an early highlight. From then on the mosh pit never stopped. 

Numerous tracks from the new album were played, along with fan favourites. A reworked “Groovy Tony” led into “Collard Greens”, with the audience filling in for Kendrick unforgettable verse. Even Q’s self confessed Nando’s overdose didn’t stop him from enjoying every moment.

The banger “What They Want” brought the set to a rousing close. Another successful night for Top Dawg Entertainment, let’s hope the West Midlands’ gets a few more in the future.

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