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Schoolboy Q Oxymoron Album Review

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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.

Rating: 7.6/10

Best Songs: Break the Bank, Hoover Street, Prescription/Oxymoron

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New Artists We Cosign: Kendrick Lamar

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I first heard K Dot on his Overly Dedicated mixtape. He was an artist with promise, but I remained skeptical. Too many times there are artists that drop a few hot songs, only to display mediocrity with their full body of work and fizzle out.I hoped Kendrick wouldn’t fall victim. Next came Section 80, a great independent album that i thoroughly enjoyed. Kendrick became a new artist i respected at that point, but I feared his debut would be dumbed down by the influence of labels, a common travesty occurring with too many rappers. I was so wrong.

I hesitate to use the word classic in this day and age. It is an often overused term. People have come out and said Kanye West’s Yeezus and Jay Z’s MCHG were both classics, which is quite laughable. Too often people let emotion get in the way of their judgments of music and the quality of the albums as a whole.

With that said, Kendrick Lamar’s GKMC is a classic. The intricacy and thought put into this album is unparalleled, as Kendrick paints the picture of all aspects of his life in Compton, California. With skits tying each song together, the album feels like a movie of his life. Each song is a piece of the puzzle, put together in an exact order to vividly display a kid with good intentions growing up in a quite sinister place. He goes through a range of emotions on this album, from the allure and temptation of women and money to fearing the influence of his peers. Top to bottom, this piece of work is flawless.

Respect to an innovative and refreshing artist with substance.

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