First came a couple of ear-grating early demos featuring Kendrick Lamar that leaked last September. Then a delay from the slated April 4th release in light of Nipsey Hussle’s unfortunate passing. Finally, ScHoolboy Q’s “CHopstix,” featuring Travis Scott, dropped last Monday. The final version is easier on the ears than the leaks, but it’s already a candidate for 2019’s most disappointing single.

With a producer as talented as DJ Dahi chopping up the beats (pun intended), a good track is almost guaranteed. But this beat is shockingly stale — a catchy sample is all it has going for it. It lacks the wacky creative drumwork staple to a Dahi beat (see Drake’s “Worst Behavior” or Logic’s “Never Enough”). In the current hip-hop landscape where just about every artist has top-notch production behind them, a lackluster beat murders all replayability.

Then there’s the case of the Travis Scott effect. When Scott sings a hook or verse for a song, it suddenly turns into a Travis Scott song, and the original artist becomes a guest on their own track. The rapper has taken many high-profile victims: 2 Chainz on “4 AM,” Drake on “Portland” and Lil Wayne on “Let It Fly,” to name a few. It doesn’t have to do with the quality of a song — all of the aforementioned tracks are certified slappers. But the Travis Scott effect isn’t just in full swing on “CHopstix” — the hook is boring and sounds like a filler track that didn’t make the cut for Astroworld.

Lyrically there is nothing to say. ScHoolboy Q compares a girl’s legs to chopsticks. That’s it. No classic Q fire, no classic Q grit. Chopsticks are cool to use for a metaphor, but in the historical context of the West’s weird fetishization of Asian women as exotic, the comparison to a girl’s legs is vaguely off-putting. It’d probably slide as one line, but as the basis for the song, it’s a bit off-kilter.

After the absolute banger that was last month’s “Numb Numb Juice,” ScHoolboy Q set the bar high for his next single. All the momentum was in his hands. But “CHopstix” is Q dropping the baton. There’s no telling now if his upcoming album CrasH Talk will be golden or garbage.

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