Prior to the release of Q’s highly anticipated Oxymoron, the social media world was abuzz with high hopes and impatience; often paralleling expectations with Kendrick Lamar’s highly coveted and celebrated Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. To be clear, Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q are two different rappers possessing completely different skill sets. To plug in Q’s album with expecting Kendrick’s narrative of trying to navigate the hardships of his environment would be an injustice to the uniqueness every Black Hippy member brings to the table. While Q can relate to Kendrick in the environment they were raised in, his serving Oxymoron offers a less introspective, more menacing tale of a violent and grimy Hoover Street existence.
Oxymoron starts out with a bang, dropping dark keys after a brief, somewhat sinister introduction from Schoolboy’s daughter. Gangsta is the type of sound that works well on this album, with Q’s loud, menacing flow accompanying a head nodding instrumental. Schoolboy truly excels in his execution of bridges and hooks on this project, having smooth transitions between verses to complete songs. While ghetto anthems like What they Want and Yay Yay will have you ghost riding the whip, Q does a nice job blending in songs reflective of the experiences that have shaped him. Hoover Street, one of the best songs on the album, has Q bringing it back to the block he was raised on, spitting stories of fascination with OGs as a youngster and his discovery of his grandmother’s gun. Prescription/Oxymoron examines the often-hypocritical roles Q has played in his life, both as a user and supplier. This introspective record shows Q at his most vulnerable, losing control as his addiction heads off the rails. The Purge and Blind Threats are solid hip-hop offerings, with Kurupt delivering one of the best verses on the entire project.
With all said, Oxymoron delivers what you would expect from Q. Despite some standout tracks and generally well-constructed songs, Q falters at times with forgettable verses and records running just a bit too long. This is a solid album overall, with Schoolboy adding a much darker, sinister chapter to his impressive catalogue.
Best Songs: Break the Bank, Hoover Street, Prescription/Oxymoron