Review of Oxymoron new album from Schoolboy Q
Most people will know of Quincy Matthew Hanley as his Hip Hop moniker Schoolboy Q. Whilst Schoolboy Q may not have hit massive commercial appeal, his appeal and reputation seem to show no bounds. His early life as an independent saw Schoolboy Q make his mark with a couple of mixtapes. He then went on to release two albums as an independent both recognised in Billboard charts. However in 2011, the hype got big and he signed for Interscope. Its been a while but Schoolboy Q is finally here with his major label debut, Oxymoron, which was released yesterday (25th February, 2014).
Hailing for South Central LA, Schoolboy Q is born and raised in one of Hip Hop’s centres of excellence, but does Oxymoron live up to his billing and meet the benchmark set by his west coast peers?
Well there is no way Schoolboy Q would be in Kendrick Lamar‘s Black Hippy Crew. Oxymoron delivers on a number of levels. He is a really accomplished rapper, delivering a realness in his lyrics that is difficult to find in modern Hip Hop. He has undoubted influence from Kendrick and spits some amazing lyrics.
His gift of story telling and picking out observations on topics is first class. Love the tales of ice cream van stick ups and he takes a gritty angle on the usual pimps and ho’s boasts. Damn the combination is up there with some of Hip Hop’s finest, you may even draw comparisons to the legendary Slick Rick. No he doesn’t sound like Slick and no he isn’t as good, but the pictures Schoolboy Q creates with his lyrics are of a similar ilk to the legend.
You get the feeling Schoolboy Q has some battle scars from his time growing up in the less affluent areas of Cali. He raps with passion in a first person style that you can only attain from actually being there. His rapping ability and adaptability shows his flexibility. He is like the Hip Hop version of a Stretch Armstrong, he gets pulled and stretched in different directions, but still delivers the goods.
All this on the back of some of the best beats heard on a Hip Hop joint for the best part of a decade. The beats are delivered by none other than golden man Pharrell and supported by production on some tracks by Tyler the Creator. All in all, this is a must have for lovers of serious Hip Hop. If you like your beats heavy and long for hip hop that leans back to the golden age, you need to get Oxymoron. If you like the current crop of inane, factory produced, diatribe from the likes of Lil Wayne or 2Chainz, stay away from this.
My favourite track on the album has to be Gangsta, have a listen and let us know what you think