By Pauline Hunt
Released February 25th, 2014 - UMusic
New hip hop artist, Quincey Matthew Hanley aka ScHoolboy Q first entered the music world in 2008 when he dropped his full-length project/mixtape ‘Schoolboy Turned Hustla'. When 2009 rolled around he released a second mixtape ‘Gangsta & Soul', which is also the same year when he signed to Carson-based independent record label ‘Top Dawg Entertainment'. Later on that year, he formed the group ‘Black Hippy', with fellow label mates, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock & Ab-Soul. His first independent album ‘Setbacks' was dropped in the year 2011. The project reached number 100 on the US Billboard charts, considering it was only available to digital retailers only. ‘Habits and Contradictions' was his second independent album to be released where it received generally favourable reviews. It was when he signed with ‘Interscope' that ScHoolboy Q started to record his major label debut studio album ‘Oxymoron', following in the footsteps of his fellow ‘Black Hippy' member ‘Kendrick Lamar'.
‘Collard Greens' featuring bandmate ‘Kendrick Lamar' is the first single to be debuted from his first studio album. When speaking to MTV about this record, ScHoolboy mentions that it's an introduction to his album. It's to get fans ready and excited for his album for when it gets released, however the main theme around it is smoking marijuana, ironic, considering Kendrick doesn't smoke. Like most rappers today, they've decided to speak about their personal lives and share it with the world. A prime example of that is ‘Hoover Streets', which if you listen to the lyrics, almost like a dedication to his grandmother who he was quite close to. In a recent interview, also explains that he told the guitarist how to play it for the intro. Where as ‘Prescription/Oxymoron' is about when he was addicted to prescription pills. In saying that, both these songs give you that underground feel and flow that is missing from rap/hip hop artists of this generation.
One of my favourites from this album would have to be ‘What they Want' featuring 2 Chainz, mainly because his delivery on this particular record is smooth and goes perfectly with the beat behind the lyrics. Now the lyrics itself might not exactly be pleasant to listen to, but its the way he chooses to deliver this song is what wins me over. ‘Break the Bank' has an old school feel to it, like the way rap originally was like in the 80's or 90's. Now you definitely don't hear that kind of hip hop in today's generation. Almost reminds me of the time when Nas was huge & killing it in the game, in saying that, ScHoolboy has been quoted saying that Nas has been his favourite rapper of all time, although he also credits 50 Cent as one of his influences due to his detail in music. You can clearly hear the detail in music in ‘Hell of A Night'. The instrumentation in this record is so crisp you'd swear that instruments were being played right there in the studio with him while recording. Not to mention, being able to drop words like he does is a talent that he has learnt to master.
ScHoolboy Q may be new on the scene but he is definitely no stranger on how the game works. He is already making a name for himself through his execution and his instrumentals that he chooses to make rhymes to. Even though his ‘Oxymoron' sounds a lot darker than his earlier albums, you can hear through his latest that his music is more detailed and concentrated which is what is missing from most hip hop that you would you hear on the radio today, which is refreshing and exactly what is needed. For anyone that feels like hip hop of today just ain't the same like the ‘old days', then you will need to listen to this album and will probably have it on your mp3 on repeat. Once you've heard it, it's guaranteed to have ScHoolboy Q as one of your next favourite rappers.