April 22nd 2018–7:11am
I received an email from a noble Interscope executive with a flyer attached. It was an invite to Schoolboy Q‘s listening party for his latest LP ‘CrasH Talk’. I sent the RSVP with my name and my plus one’s name immediately upon receiving the email along with a separate thank you email to my Interscope plug for the lob. A few hours later, I received an email confirming my plus one and I were on the list for tonight. The email also had instructions, which contained the address, and where to valet park your vehicle. I had to finesse my way inside the last few listening parties after the door person said my name was not on the list, so this was encouraging.
As I drove up Sunset, passing Whisky A Go Go, The Roxy and various niche boutiques, I realized 9039 Sunset Boulevard West Hollywood, California was the address to the now defunct Key Club, but after massive renovation, it’s now known as the 1 OAK night club. I felt like an ignoramus for not knowing this, but in my defense, 1 OAK is an EDM friendly, bottle service type of venue on regular nights.
Two buildings removed from the venue, was the valet parking lot. As I pulled in, I confidently gave the parking attendant my government name, hopped out of my truck, opened my trunk, grabbed my jacket, sprayed cologne on my neck and shirt, as I waited for him carefully park my vehicle in the lot. After a quick search, he broke the news that we weren’t on the list. Yet another setback. I quickly called my Interscope plug, and was greeted with his voicemail 30 seconds later, meanwhile the parking attendants are hurrying me to figure out my situation. They said they can valet park the car for 25 bucks, however, I didn’t want to pay anything if I wasn’t going to be able to get inside the venue either. So I ashamedly turned around and searched for street parking. I temporarily parked on a permit only street a block away as we walked to the venue to double check if our names were on the list. The last Universal Music Group listening party I attended where I illegally parked ended up in a $93 ticket (which has since doubled). With that in mind, I nervously made my way to the front of the line and gave them door person our names. She smiled and motioned for the other door person to give us our bright yellow wristbands that read “CrasH Talk” in black graffiti styled lettering. We walked back to the car and found no parking ticket, then drove a block south to find a $10 parking spot and made our way inside the venue.
The venue was beginning to fill up quickly, so we made our way to as close to the DJ booth as possible to be in a position to capture the best content. Coincidentally, standing to the left of the booth was directly in front of the “side door” where the really important people who were actually on the separate and more exclusive valet parking list entered from. We stood there no longer than three minutes before we greeted people such as Vince Staples, Ab Soul, Jay Rock, Keem of TDE, AzSwaye, Zacari, as they entered to support Q.
As I sat on the wood railing, watching gaggles of influencers and rappers shuffle inside the venue, rubbernecking to see who they recognized in the dark sea of people; someone walked into my peripheral from the direction of the DJ booth and lightly shook my hand before I could see who it was. It was Schoolboy Q, who most certainly had no idea who I was, but likely was in a good mood because he put a dent in the vast liquor supply. After meeting Q, I decided it was the perfect time for me to crash the open bar myself. I ordered numb numb juice a special drink named after his newly released single.
At approximately 9:15pm, Schoolboy got on the mic and began to introduce songs from ‘CrasH Talk’. The first track he played was “Lies” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and if my prediction is correct, may end up being a top 20 billboard hit. As he began to leak more songs from the project, he kept saying he only wanted to play the turnt up songs because he felt everyone in the building was probably saucy (buzzed) like him. He did play “Dangerous” however, which featured Kid Cudi, an introspective song that I can’t wait to listen to alone in the car on a long drive. Easily the best part of the night was when he played “Water” featuring Lil Baby while shouting out all his rapper friends in the building. He demanded A$AP Rocky, Maxo Kream, A$Ap Ferg, Tyler, The Creator, Vince Staples, Freddie Gibbs all get on stage and let him borrow their collective chains.
I discovered Schoolboy Q for the first time, because of his memorable appearance on Kendrick Lamar’s anthemic “Michael Jordan”. I stayed in tune with what Q did from then on and can easily recall the hype on Twitter in January 2011 surrounding the release of his first official project with TDE titled ‘Setbacks’. Two months after the project was released, he held his first ever headlining show at The Key Club. Eight years after that performance, Q is celebrating the release of his latest album surrounded by all his best friends, wearing all their chains simultaneously, shimmying and shouting euphorically at the exact same address. If you’re on the road long enough you’ll hit setbacks, but if you go further you can have crash talks.