Feature: Why ScHoolboy Q Made The Hardest Hip-Hop Debut of 2014
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 09:48:00
Straight out the gate, ScHoolboy Q gave the world a bona fide masterpiece with Oxymoron. However, what's most astounding is how hard he gets yet still manages to churn out melodic and often majestic songs that stay stuck in your head. That's where ScHoolboy Q's genius lies. He can sound totally violent and vicious on the downright awesome opener "Gangsta", but the hook is as catchy as it gets. It's like he's holding on to a freight train with his bare hands just keeping it from derailing, while simply steamrolling any and all competitors. He lays back on an eerie beat, delivering each word with conviction and bludgeoning energy.
At the same time, "Los Awesome" is a groovy anthem that cycles between West Coast flavors as he and Jay Rock go back and forth. The track could get any club going, making asses drop and shake with ScHoolboy Q's easy flow and kinetic energy. When he and Kendrick Lamar trade verses on "Collard Greens", he truly shines as his unique voice and lyrical devotion burn brightly, giving his cohort something to really bounce brilliantly off of.
He can also get genuinely dark and wild. "The Purge" resounds with police sirens as he and Tyler, The Creator paint a bloody and brutal apocalyptic urban portrait unlike anything else out there. It's intense, but again, it's also immediately irresistible.
Oxymoron also takes a turn for the soulful on the undeniably powerful "Blind Threats". Alongside Raekwon, he takes a moment to give a poetic plea that blasts out the line, "But if God don't help me, this gun will, I swear I'm gon' find my way". It's thought-provoking, heartbreaking, and honest all at once. Plus, Raekwon kills it as always.
Everything culminates on the terse "Man of the Year", and it's a fitting conclusion. However, it's worth seeking out the special edition of Oxymoron in Target for the six-minute opus "Californication" with A$AP Rocky. You'll hear two of the best MCs in the game simply slay.
ScHoolboy Q doesn't shy away from darkness. He faces it with a tough bravado and bravery that's immensely overpowering. Oxymoron's brilliance comes from the fact that its architect never sacrifices that intensity, and it only heightens the hooks. This isn't just as hard as hip-hop gets in 2014, it's also as powerful as hip-hop gets.
What's your favorite ScHoolboy Q song?