By Ryan Durning
Top Dawg Entertainment artist Schoolboy Q’s major label debut, OXYmoron, is his most progressive yet frustratingly ignorant record to date. In interviews he has stated that the theme of the album was documenting all the bad he has done in order to support his daughter.
The former Hoover Crip/college football player/Oxycontin pusher has created an album that lives up to it’s clever title. The album is constantly flip-flopping be- tween honestly brutal introspection and brash celebration of his seedy past which is perfectly summed up by the titular track “Prescription/Oxymoron.”
The first half of the song details his addiction to prescription drugs before the beat flips into a menacing piano loop and stuttering drums that Q uses to brag about selling Oxycontin and whose hook turns into “I just stopped selling crack today.”
The long wait for the album, originally announced after the last TDE album “Good kid, M.a.a.D City,” which dropped Oct. 12, 2013, has only served to highlight some of it’s missteps. The album can be bro- ken down into a repeating pattern of three songs with the middle one usually being the weakest.
The album starts off with the brash “Gangsta.” Q is at the top of his game, spitting about his past. This segues into the underwhelming “Los Awesome” where the slurring of his voice makes the track for- gettable, before the pace is picked up again by the lead single “Collard Greens” thanks to the pulsating hypnotic production and a funny guest verse from Kendrick Lamar.
This happens two more times on the album, most notably in the sequence of “Hoover Street”, which finds Q talking about his uncle, an addict, which is by all means a gritty tale, followed by “Studio,” ruining the mood with it’s uninspired romance. Finishing up the trio is the thesis of the album, “Prescription/Oxymoron.”
After the titular track, Groovy Q hits his stride and finishes out the album with hard hitting rhymes, especially in “The Purge” and “Break The Bank,” while flowing better and generally avoiding the minor mistakes made in the first half.
As a member of TDE, Q has amassed a following as the gangsta rapper whose infectious flow and chants of “yawk-yawk- yawk” help to liven up his well tread sub- ject matter of women and gangbanging.
Without his charisma, he pales in comparison to the lyricism that fellow TDE members’ Ab-Soul and recently Grammy nominated Kendrick Lamar bring to the table. Ultimately, Schoolboy has shown that he can make an album that can be both disarmingly blunt and maddeningly mindless.