(Photo: Jamla Records)
GQ is easily one of the best lyricists to come out of the Bay. With some help from producer and Jamla Records CEO 9th Wonder, the Oakland MC looks to show a different side to the land of "Hyphy" — the way Kendrick Lamar introduced the world to Compton's alter ego.
Boasting a delivery reminiscent of Royce 5'9" and a cinematic style similar to the aforementioned Kendrick, it's no wonder 9th Wonder calls the former UNC basketball standout his "secret weapon."
GQ's newly released mixtape/EP, Death Threats & Love Notes (The Prelude), is a precursor to his debut album, which is expected later this year.
In addition to the 26-year-old MC breathing fire on the mic, the production, which is handled by E. Jones, Eric G., Fatin, Kash and 9th, takes DTALN to another level.
On the mixtape's opening track, "Repitition," a deliberately subdued GQ takes the listener through a normal day, which he paints as his own reality show, chock full of women and Cali sunshine.
Other standouts on DTALN include the E. Jones produced "Around the World," which combines GQ's hard-hitting lyrics with Jones' bass heavy West Coast thumper; and the Sinopsis-produced "Too High," which sounds like it was tailor made for an early 2000's Kanye West.
GQ is at his lyrical best on the introspective "Grind In" with rhymes like, "I'll probably write til' my hand broken/Way I get it crackin' be like Martin and Pam jokin'/Thinkin' about my uncle with a Michelob can open/God bless you whoever tried to help his nephew plan motion/slowly arriving, for the ones floating in heaven that never got to float on an island/ coastin' and slidin' 'outchyea' rollin' and vibin'/hangin' over gettin' toasted and Tylen."
GQ's room to grow before his album is around those punch-line heavy verses that fail to really give the listener that rewind reaction, and the variety that he displayed on his previous tape, Trouble Man.
If nothing else, Death Threats & Love Notes shows that GQ has the potential to be one of those rare MCs that can appeal to the masses without alienating his underground fans. Look to hear more.
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