Break. The. Bank.
I gotta admit, I slept hard on Q. There was so much thirst for it on r/hhh that I didn’t buy into it. I liked “Collard Greens” of course and I was so so on “Man of the Year”. After all he pretty much just repeats the same thing over and over. When the album dropped I check it out and was immediately impressed with it. I found myself wanting more Kendrick (one verse, albeit an amazing verse wasn’t enough) with Q being TDE. I remember when “Break the Bank” dropped and people were all nuts over it. It just made the thirst thirstier. I listened to it once and passed over it. I was kind of surprised to see it as your pick this week.
I find it interesting that this was one of the first tracks recorded that was intended for the album. The track was recorded in early 2012. The album wouldn’t drop for another two years. Prior to that School had a few tapes and whatnot that were successful, but I think he always lives in the shadow of Kendrick. They all will. Jay Rock. Soul. Isaiah. That’s their curse in a way. Hell, in that Noisey Raps video I mentioned to you earlier, School says when Kendrick gets back from touring the world he’ll go back to being just treated like the hype-man. They know Kendrick is special. That he’s a legend that their struggle will be trying to keep up. The line “Tell Kendrick move from the throne, I came for it”. I mean this was in early 2012 and he already knew Kendrick was the King. But for School to come up as he has, with a solid following and good praise for his album is quite impressive. Alter all, one of School’s biggest critiques is that he’s not as lyrical as Kendrick and, in my opinion Jay Rock. “Break the Bank” really proves that he’s quite lyrical. I think about the line, “Peyote with THC, swingin’ for the fence / I hope I make it out the park, where the baseheads slide / After dark, where the bangers get caught”, like… that’s one sick baseball analogy/wordplay. “Swing for the fence”. “out of the park”. “baseheads slide”.
Maybe the reason that “Break the Bank” is a standout is because it was almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy for Q. “Cause one day this rappin’ gon’ pay.” That frustration with not being better than Kendrick shines through. He knew if he kept hustling and harnessing those emotions and tell his stories, that one day that rap shit would pay. And it did. He had the number one album the week of it’s release. It was a number one album. Shit payed. You apply that to the fact the track was written to early on, I think helps to strengthen that connection to the track, which, like with Keef and drill, makes you respect and like the music more.
Currently Q passed Jay Rock as the second best rapper in TDE for me. School movin’ up in the world.