ScHoolboy Q On His Daughter And Bringing Back Gangsta Rap
"What They Want""Need a gang of weed and a pint of lean
Got a hat say Figg on my gangsta tip"
Ed Note: The interview below comes from the outtakes from Real And True, the feature story on Q from XXL's new issue—which features Eminem, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine on the cover—on stands March 11. Subscribe to XXL right here.
ScHoolboy Q's major label debut album, Oxymoron, has been a long time coming, but it's finally here. TDE's resident gangsta rapper drops the project today, Feb. 25, and in the buildup to the album's release, XXL sent veteran writer kris ex into the L.A. rapper's camp to get the scoop on the vision for Oxymoron, Q's approach to recording music, his daughters' entertainment industry appeal, and why he might just be the only one out right now making a true Gangsta Rap album. —Interview by kris ex
XXL: What’s your fascination with 2012?
ScHoolboy Q: I really don’t have a fascination. I mean, it’s my startup, really. You could say 2011 was, but 2012 was like my start off in the game.
But you mention it a lot.
It was a time like 2010 or 2009, where I was at the lowest point in my life—health-wise, depression and all that shit. I was kinda like in a depressed state, ‘cause I couldn’t really take care of my daughter and shit. I was on the block hanging with the homies and shit. I went back to the block after I done moved or whatever. I came back around 21, 22, 23, whatever that was—’08, ‘09. I just could remember, I was so depressed, I remember just reading shit and act like, man, I hope 2012 is real, you know what I'm sayin'? Shit, we all out of here.
That’s how I was looking at it, ‘cause I ain’t—I could never kill myself. I wasn't thinking really suicide, I was just moreso of, ain’t shit working for me right now, ain’t no money coming in. Just like shit, if the world end, I ain’t mad at it. So I just put that in my lyrics, you know what I mean: "2012 ain’t really happen / So I guess it’s back to trappin’ / eyes open night to morning" [from "Hoover Street"]. Basically, not giving up, since the negative shit that I wanted to happen didn’t happen—just keep it going and hustle the best way I can possible. But the rap done just took over. That was just a picture painting.
How old is your daughter now?
Four. She was born in 2009.
You put her out there a lot.
'Cause I believe she a star. That’s what I believe. I believe she a star. Just her personality, the way she act, the way she talk—she a star, why not? Like, if she wanted to be pursuing the entertainment business, I’m not trying to push her to it, I’m not trying to stop her either. I just believe she a star and I believe—get her now while she’s young and since she like it, being in front of the camera, and wanting to do certain things with her father, why not?
What was missing from the album?
This album is like a real street album, like a gangsta rap album if you would say. It’s like my story of my past life or whatever. I just wanted to make the album sound whole, more fuller, you know what I mean, because I thought I was going in too much of trying to be a storyteller on certain records, and they just weren’t coming off the way I really wanted them to. They were dope, but it was just not what I really wanted to put on my album to fit. I just had to take a break for like a week or two, then went back with a fresh mind and I came up with these four songs, you know, that fit with the album. I listened to the album, rolled with it forever, realized what I needed.
So you consider it a Gangsta Rap album?
'Cause it’s telling my lifestyle, you know what I mean? It’s just how it sounds. I mean, when I hear it, that’s what I get from it and that’s what I believe it is. Why not? I am from L.A. We started it, so.
Are there a lot of Gangsta Rap albums out?
Ain’t never been none. How many gangsta rappers drop? I never heard of them. I mean, unless you want to count Trap Music now. But that’s Trap Music to me, that’s not Gangsta Rap. I don’t get that Gangsta Rap feeling. I mean, honestly, the last dude that did Gangsta Rap, I believe, was 50 Cent. Probably 50, that’s it. I heard a lot of YG's new album, it reminds me of Gangsta Rap. Maybe me and YG right now?
What about Nipsey Hu$$le?
Yeah, Nipsey Hu$$le, too. But shit is still more smooth, laid-back. But directly on, I believe me and YG is kinda right on. But Nipsey definitely is, though.