The Underrated: ScHoolboy Q's Oxymoron

By @_n8te

1. Gangsta 
2. Los Awesome 
3. Collard Greens
4. What They Want
5. Hoover Street 
6. Studio
7. Prescription/Oxymoron
8. The Purge 
9. Blind Threats 
10. Hell Of A Night 
11. Break The Bank
12. Man Of The Year 
*13. His and Her Fiend
*14. Grooveline Pt. 2
*15. Fuck LA 

Fresh off his latest release “Blank Face LP”, we rewind back just a bit to Oxymoron from ScHoolBoy Q. His third official album “Oxymoron” is in my opinion, schizophrenic. You start off the first three tracks with this radio-esque vibe and then quickly turn into this mental state of mind where you feel as if you literally lost it. Critically, Q has been praised for his thuggish vibes and grimy background beats. The perception I have about ScHoolboy Q is similar to what the critics say. The background beats on this album feel psychotic at times or rooted in total paranoia. Vocally, ScHoolboy Q doesn’t have to push the envelope on the lyrical aspect. He seems to enjoy keeping it straight to the point with his lyrics on this West Coast vibe that TDE obviously boasts. It’s like Kendrick “runs” TDE all around, but the hallucinating Ab-Soul, aggressive Jay Rock, and ScHoolboy Q should never go unmentioned.

ScHoolboy Q’s charisma is what separates him from the TDE artists. It feels as if he’s much different in essence than the rest of the label. Instead of sitting in one spot and listening to this album, I chose to listen to it in the whip and at the crib.  “Gangsta”, “Los Awesome” and “Collard Greens” are those thumping tracks that pull you in initially. Q discusses his gangbanging Hoover life from the past in the first two tracks. Then we transition into “Collard Greens” with Kendrick Lamar that discusses the current life of ScHoolboy as his gang motives are a thing of the past seemingly, even though he prefers his H capitalized still.

Lyrically, it’s about the energetic delivery that ScHoolboy brings on all of these tracks that make it pleasing. I can definitely visualize hearing this on the radio, which as a single from the album, it was featured on the airwaves periodically. This is not the in a club vibe at all, but if you wanted to let it bump in the club, then fine. Especially if ScHoolboy is there. It’s average lyricism with typical ad-libs and clever lines sporadically placed throughout the album. Jay Rock’s feature on "Los Awesome" feels as if it floated with the song because it's nothing special, but fits. Kendrick’s feature is the best feature on this album in my opinion. Normally, Kendrick would drop some political vibe lyricism, but he adapts to “Collard Greens” and doesn’t stick out like a pink shirt in a crowd of white shirts. Play these tracks in the whip and embrace the sound.

Production wise, this album is overall dope. It’s gritty, and just when you think it’s done, it hits you with more. “WHat THey Want” is mediocre to me however. I absolutely dislike the 2 Chainz verse. It didn’t click for me, so for the 2 Chainz heads, I’m sorry but not really. “Hoover Street” is my favorite track on the album period. This is my favorite Q track honestly. The storytelling lyricism of his youth just throws you in this free-fall. Lyrically delivering this track with a hazy tone that just doesn’t fit to your mind, its intended to invoke this feeling. The beat change in the track is solid, as the change reverts from a gripping and gritty vibe to a nineties rap vibe with modern lyricism and ad-libs.

“Studio” is the standout track from this album to many new and old ScHoolboy fans. This is that strange love banger that you’d expect on the radio, andwith it being a top 40 hit on the Billboard charts, I'm sure you've heard it on your radio or airwaves. I love this track, though I don’t play it often for the value of the song. Again, the outspoken Q provides some humorous lyrics. The third verse with some of his final lines is funny:

“I’m gonna get straight to the point with you/ 
Imma put this dick all up inside of you/"

It gets a slide because it’s Q and he executed this the way it should have been. Any other artist would’ve pulled a fourth quarter Curry (sans game 4) from the Finals with this.

"Prescription/Oxymoron” feels as if I was in American Horror Story or a parallel universe on Cloud 9. It feels schizophrenic as it’s a tale of two halves. The “Oxymoron” part is literally an oxymoron with the beat change and bravado of Q saying he stopped selling crack, but the first half he’s admitting his personal faults to the drugs. This track feels as if the first half is this conscious mind of an addict that sounds truly exceptional and then on the second half, you have this mind of a dealer who’s selling the shit as support for the family. It's as if he’s the Walter White of oxycontin.

“The Purge” is absolutely flithy. The beat on this track is absolutely insane and the energy of Q is amazing. Tyler did a dope job producing the beat, as I feel like I’m guilty for not giving him a listen after this. Triple and double entendres pop up throughout the track. Substance wise in the words, you’re not going to get eye-popping verses or bars every line or two. The production and delivery of the vocals allows for a pass to occur. “Blind Threats” has this MF DOOM vibe from Madvillainy with Madlib on the beat. Or even like a Wu-Tang beat from 36 Chambers. Another underrated track with the West Coast showing that they’ll never die. This is for the old hip hop heads.

“Hell of A Night” feels as if it could also reside on the radio, and as a single from the album, I'm sure it spent some time there. It has that pump-up vibe as ScHoolboy confirms his beliefs that TDE is on top, runs the game, and will never be taken down. Well when you have Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Kendrick, him, and Isaiah Rashad, which is a group of artists that have their own individual paths and feel like they are on different labels, then yes you do run the game. Q has this insight in the bridge that the Hoover life was his experience to the reality of the world we live in. Even when you’d think Q hit his lowest point, he didn’t because the Hoover life instilled some lessons and experiences that are irreplaceable.

“Break The Bank” possesses an infectious hook and lyrically has my favorite verses on the album. A chilling beat, but that hook is absolutely something else. It’s a great build-up to “Man of the Year”. A banging beat and is obviously another notable song on the album from first glance. It has a similar feel to the rest of the tracks to be honest.

This is a decent studio album for Q. The production on this album from in-house and out of house artists and producers make this enjoyable, and it had to be with the thuggish vibe behind the whole story. Instead of conforming to the rap game style, Q drops this album, because it falls under rap, but not all the beats can be that considering this dark West Coast vibe. The elements of sound from the West Coast, boom-bap, grime, and etc are heard on these albums. Lyrically again, this is nothing amazing to me off many listens. There’s some clever lines here and there, but that’s not the point of this album. You’re not supposed to really enjoy the lyricism as much compared to a Kendrick Lamar. You just enjoy the song in it’s entirety without picking it apart. When you pick at it, you see the “Oxymorons” present throughout the album on all these different levels. The features aren't too special as it feels as if Q just outperforms them in a landslide usually. This was definitely not groundbreaking, but it’s a solid listen and a dope album for sure.



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