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ScHoolboy Q Battles For Rap Supremacy On ‘Oxymoron’

Having dominated 2012 with “There He Go” and “Hands On The Wheel,” ScHoolboy Q took his time building himself as the next big thing out of TDE. Q represents a quarter of the Black Hippy crew, alongside Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock, but his independent releases, as well as collabos with the likes of Macklemore, 50 Cent and YG, showed that he could stand on his own two as a solo artist. The 27-year-old MC was chosen as an XXL Freshman in 2013, increasing his profile, as well as the anticipation for his major-label debut, Oxymoron. While Lamar has had a lot of success from the Grammy-nominated good kid, m.A.A.d city, Q has been the promising talent waiting his turn. On an LP almost two years in the works, the Los Angeles rapper immerses listeners in tales of his gang affiliation, struggles with selling and consuming prescription drugs and accounts of his upbringing. It’s a story that might have started with Habits & Contradictions, but Oxymoron goes darker and deeper into Q’s past.

ScHoolboy’s presence on Oxymoron is poised and confident. He’s not here to give us another hot single for the radio or win fans over with cocky lyrics. He’s here to push gangsta rap mainstream without compromising his style. The LP is a sullen listen with hard-hitting anthems. On the opening track “Gangsta,” Q spits chilling bars that capture the feel of being a soldier in the trenches. “We on block patrol, nigga, fuck your roll, got the gat on me/Nigga look, it’s right here, bulldog bark, you could die right here.” “Hoover Street,” with Q reflecting on his youth and an uncle addicted to drugs, is a six-minute tale worth rewinding back for its vivid imagery.

Q’s other hallmark is his vulnerability, which is often more shocking to the system than his images of street life. Many instances of his past are meant to show he wasn’t hustling on the block all the time just to get by. Key tracks like “Prescription/Oxymoron” utilizes his daughter Joy to illustrate that there has been a lot of pain in his life. “My mommy call, I hit ignore, my daughter calls, I press ignore/My chin press on my chest, my knees press the floor,” he shares with deadpan delivery. He talks about doing good for his family on his standout verses on “Blind Threats” featuring Raekwon. ScHoolboy tells us about trying to survive by robbing and killing with sharply worded rhymes. And things come full circle with “Break The Bank,” where Q lets his story do the talking. “Good weed and me time, goodbye to Nissan,” he says. “’Cause one day this rappin’ gon’ pay.”

It helps that Q has developed his voice and flow since Habits & Contradictions. With a range of pitches and variation in attacking a verse, there’s a noticeable ease in hearing him go hard over tough beats by Pharrell, Tyler, The Creator, Mike Will Made It, The Alchemist and more. TDE’s in-house producers (Digi+Phonics and THC) make their case with a sonic direction that’s filled with delicate piano loops, snare drums and ominous synths. Then there are Q’s hooks, bouncing out from his rhymes. They’re surprisingly catchy for a rapper on his gangsta tip.

TDE promised to flood the game with new material in 2014. Isaiah Rashad’s Cilvia Demo introduced the raw talent to new ears, while Oxymoron fits as another chapter in Q’s journey for rap supremacy. It’s hard to tell if Q will take Kendrick’s throne off this debut, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t already thought about it. The LP ends with “Fuck LA,” an outro that embodies both his appeal and potential to be an even bigger threat in rap. “I’m a Crip for real, way before the deal, had them Oxy pills,” he boasts. There he goes again.—Eric Diep

  • Name Something……….

    Nobody gives a fuck about schoolboy q

    • yaaaaa

      schoolboy dope u candy nigga

  • T-Dog

    should’ve been xxl

    • rick

      LMAO for real

    • JaffarR

      It was a great album, but a perfect 5/5? Maybe not..

      • Spandex

        Due to the fact that Maino got an XL on his recent album, this should definitely be an XXL.

        • Matt Cosgrove

          That’s why XXL’s review system is broken. It doesn’t allow as much of a choice.

    • b

      everyone says the same shit about any big album reviewed on xxl. this album shouldn’t be an xxl, it’s a great album, but it near ain’t perfect

  • JJUT

    This album is pretty good, but to even consider it in the same category as GKMC, or worse think it will take Kendrick “off the throne,” is ridiculous.

    • Baneezy

      XXL is a TDE dicktaker.. it’s only right for them to consider oxymoron a great/classic album. IMO, album is a good body of work, but I don’t wanna see it being nominated for awards, it’s not worth it.. especially after Wale n Big Sean albums were slept on like that, damn even Jesus Piece never saw award recognition, I guess it’s cuz them niggas are not TDE artists

      • GhostofHueyNewton

        Bruh Big Sean album was okay imo.

      • therealbigdaddy

        Big Sean album was garbage IMO I like wale but the gifted was way to boring and I’m a huge game fan but Jesus piece was OK at best. As for as oxymoron its a damn good album not as good as gkmc but good on its on right. Its going to be a good year for gangster rap.

      • JAM

        Just my opinion… but Jesus piece was complete trash and did not deserve its rating this sight gave it…

      • cmack510

        big seans wasnt all that along with wale …an jesus piece was games worst yet

  • raheem

    Jay Rock >>>> schoolboy q

    • Wash

      Oxymoron >>>>> Follow Me Home

      • JuanMoHo

        IMO ROCK>>>Q

        FOLLOW ME HOME>>>OXY

        BOTH GOOD DOE

  • Yan Pier Arellano Bilka

    very dissapointed nothing special

    • Guest

      this average as his finest rating shoulda be L
      but you know xxl would do anything for the hype niggas

  • C

    Compare this to a gangsta rap album, not GKMC. GKMC was a story, and just because OXYmoron isn’t doesn’t mean it’s worse. OXY has some introspective tracks, the rest bang, and Q’s lyrics and flow is dope, so everyone should appreciate it for what it is. Q compared this album to Doggystyle, and if it came out today, everyone would say the same things. It’s a collection of 15 dope tracks, not a 15 song story.

    • Baneezy

      U’re the same nigga who’s gonna be comparing Carter V to this album… fuckin Q stan

      • AreYouFuckingSerious

        Yeah, fuck opinions!!

  • NativeKing

    I was kind of disappointed…

  • http://www.tontebo.com/ Talking With Tonte

    It’s definitely not competition to GKMC but that is NOT a bad thing. At all. The biggest mistake was hyping it up to be better than GKMC, people that are expecting that will definitely be disappointed but for the most part Oxymoron had some of Q’s best songs ever on it.

  • JaffarR

    One of the better reviews from XXL. The best thing I like about Oxymoron is that it brought back street rap. That gutter, gritty, gangsta sound that we heard over the years from artists by the likes of DMX, NWA, 50 Cent, among others. I really do wish it does big numbers. Definitely deserves to.

    • cmack510

      jay rock, school boy and freddie gibbs are the only ones puttin out good legit gangsta rap

      • Uncle Drew

        pusha t thoooo

        • Aggy

          Pusha is a straight studio gangsta thoooo

        • cmack510

          i wouldn’t classify him as gangsta, he nevers talk bout shooting people mainly about selling an cookin crack, if anything he as drug/trap rapper lol

      • PAC LIVES

        brotha lynch hung is killing the game right now playa…not one muthafucka can hang with him lyrically

  • AZ40

    I fucks wit Q can’t wait to buy the album not a huge fan of k.dot, least favorite of the crew, is Jay Rock droppin an album this year? Hope so

    • JuanMoHo

      Rock has yet to announce anything but Ab-Soulo might be dropping some new shit

  • Yawk

    Stop comparing this to GKMC it’s just stupid. They’re literally 2 completely different artists. Q isn’t telling stories of how he avoided gang life in an alien voice, he isn’t the overly lyrical, boring Lupe type of rapper

    He’s more like 50, Snoop, Pac, Dogg Pound, Kurupt etc

    If you listen to the album constantly thinking about GKMC then you’re just bias.

    Oxymoron = XXL (best gangsta rap album since Get Rich or Die Tryin’)

    • GUNIT4LIFE

      nigga don’t compare GRODT to this bullshit

      • FYYMF

        all these acronyms suck

    • Khan

      “….overly lyrical, boring Lupe type of rapper”FACEPALM
      #KAS
      #KillAStan

  • zamieo

    Yeah, I’m a Schoolboy Q fan since the Setbacks days and I’ve got to say that this was not an XL album, in my opinion. Look, there are some dope tracks, Studio, Blind Threats, Grooveline Pt. 2, Man Of The Year, Break The Bank, then you have some average cuts, and then you have some awful songs, like Los Awesome and His & Her Friend. To me this is a 6/10 album and Q has yet to top Setbacks so far.

  • pistolpete710

    i woulda gave beats and originality a 5 but lyrics a 3

  • http://mikevo.wordpress.com/ Mike Van Orden

    “It’s hard to tell if Q will take Kendrick’s throne off this debut, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t already thought about it.”

    Woh woh woh. The album is good, XL is a fair score, but let’s pull back with the hyperbole there. TDE don’t care about no thrones or who’s the “best” mc at TDE. I don’t think fans care all that much who’s “better”. SBQ brought it in his own way, but let’s not kid ourselves, Kendrick is the critical darling and will remain the fan favorite, much more crossover appeal as well. SBQ is, in the solo sense, a much more raw and street rap experience, let’s just keep it that way. He likely won’t pop off in the mainstream, which is fine.

    • JuanMoHo

      Really? Your opinion is interesting. To me Kendrick could never make it as mainstream as Q. Q has jams like hands on the wheel and shit. He has Man of the Year. Collard Greens…etc Yea Q is gangsta but he also make party/club songs. I think that alone would make him more likely to be heard by the mainstream audience.

      • http://mikevo.wordpress.com/ Mike Van Orden

        interesting thought. I think Kendrick’s image and appeal is much more mainstream, at least more likely for a wider audience to get into. Plus, Kendrick has done ALOT of pop/genre blending features, which is probably the bigger reason why he is ALREADY mainstream. Q will be a big enough deal to be successful but Kendrick I’m pretty sure has solidified himself for the next 5 years at least as a big name. Like Weezy was from like 06′-11′, that’s Kendrick for the next 5 years. Maybe not selling as much records, but perhaps, he’s a big deal now especially since the Grammys.

        PS that’s not saying Kendrick is anything like Weezy musically

  • http://mikevo.wordpress.com/ Mike Van Orden

    Yeah, comparisons to GKMC gettin’ real old. Apples to Oranges.

  • June

    This is most disappointing of the year . I send $ 15.83 for the deluxe version and full cheat 2 of the best song didn’t even make the album I don’t understand how TDE fuck this up yay yay was the lead single but not on the album moshpit a.k.a banger wasn’t on the album Q had perfect plan concept album based on gang history and his daughter but he shitted a brick I’m a TDE fan but for Q to compare this to doggystyle is str8 joke but I also Im mad at myself for believing in Q I thought both of his first album were so, so for here on out if it aint Kenrick Lamar or Ab-Soul Im str8 downloading TDE artist and Skeme is weak Top Dog put Oxymoron over Black lip Pastor or whatever Soul is going to name his new album for XXl mag to give album a Xl Eric Deep needs to be fired for misleading people . This heat breaking I guarantee Ice Cube will be better this bullshit I’m not to listen to this album 4-8 times to like it this shit should’ve be a free mixtape that why people like this album because their forcing themselves to not me Kid Ink and Stepbrothers are better .

    • Settaz

      Kid Ink??? I can’t even listen to the middle of that album, it’s horrible. Oxymoron actually is pretty good, I can listen to it all the way through. And Yay Yay is on this…

  • hstlr31

    Listen to Jay Rock’s 2 albums.

  • Garrett

    Q ate on this shit. people complainin need to relaize we wont get another album like GKMC for at least another 5-10 years. if GKMC never came out yall would be unanimously sayin this was the hardest shit out in years. seperate those albums an enjoy this shit for what it is

  • Batman

    Production should of been a perfect 5/5. Literally every beat is fire.

  • S on my Chest

    Kendrick’s throne? Not last time I checked…I watched that mo fo get schooled by Eminem in Sydney on Saturday… Shit, even J Cole murdered him lol

  • kakid1

    Yea boi fresh outta jail & just bought the album got a lil weed while buying this lookin at the linear notes.thanks q got us bumping this on the west coast Oxnard ca.exact 805 #greatness starts @ 4:45am# LINE ^ 4 CHOW

  • Trez Nah

    Beats – XXL
    Lyrics – XL
    Originality – XXL
    Shit classic. . .

  • BReal

    What a snub… This album should have gotten a XXL. Production and Lyrics should have secured that rating…. This album is the best I’ve heard in a minute…#Classic… Everything thats been dropping has been watered down… GKMC was a #Classic album too….

    Dom K, Nipsey, TDE, and YG bringing that New West Coast feel back….

  • kakid1

    this album is knockin thanks glad i bought it.down here in 805 boi bummpin your music

  • d33znutz

    I’m glad I bought dis album yea boi

  • TechnicianN9ne

    I don’t think this should be compared to GKMC they are completely different. He is more similar to Jay Rock than Kendrick, but they and ab- soul all can put out great CDs so I hope they don’t live in Kendricks shadow. All 4 members are great its hard to rank 1-4

  • THABO

    Hoover Street

  • Ramon Rojo

    Ya’l gave Currensy boring ass a XL tho smh

  • Louisville Joe

    Decent album overall. I think he didn’t want it compared to GKMC. That’s why it sounds nothing like it.