ScHoolboy Q makes TDE debut with solid “Oxymoron”

By Elena Lopez

Courtesy of Dj teck 16/Flickr
Courtesy of Dj teck 16/Flickr

Abrasive and intense, ScHoolboy Q is back with his third studio album “Oxymoron.” A member of the powerhouse entertainment group, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), Schoolboy Q is a rising star in a label that houses artists like certified hip-hop heavyweight Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad and Ab-Soul. “Oxymoron,” released on Feb. 25, has been endlessly hyped up by TDE’s artists, building anticipation for “Oxymoron” to a fever pitch.

Immediately after its release, “Oxymoron” sent shockwaves through the music community. Q’s sound has moved into a darker realm while holding onto the same party life vibes he has exhibited on his previous albums. On “Oxymoron,” Q also picks up some high-profile guest spots from Kendrick Lamar, Tyler, The Creator and 2 Chainz.

Major influences like 50 Cent, Nas and Notorious B.I.G. are prominent on “Oxymoron.” Q shares the same steely exterior as Nas and Pusha T, lighting up his tracks with bursts of anger, nearly frightening the listener while still pulling them in. Q can easily alternate from slurred, slow bars to double timed lyrics in a snap, like on “Collard Greens,” impressing listeners with his unexpected versatility.

On “Oxymoron,” Q stays true to his easy going, party lifestyle, and shows it through his songs and lyrics. Classic Q shows up on tracks like “Collard Greens,” “Gangsta,” “Break the Bank” and “Man of the Year.” His deep voice reverberates beautifully against the dark tones and quick tempo, with the layered style vividly bringing life to his drug-fueled lyrics and trance-like flow. “Collard Greens,” a much-hyped collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, is an easy highlight. The styles of the two artists compliment each other well, as Q raps in his trademark, slurry style while Lamar whips through lyrics at impeccable speed and clarity.

Q gives listeners a peak inside the deep recesses of his often drug-influenced mind with more insightful tracks like “Prescription/Oxymoron,” “Hoover Street” and “Blind Threat.” “Prescription/Oxymoron” is an exceptional track, with almost frightening lyrics that give insight into the deeper, more hidden realm of drugs. He uses his daughter as a lyrical overlay, adding a heart-wrenching quality by detailing those who are affected more personally by his consistent drug use.

His songs are laden with mysterious tones and layered beats, making for a more complex rhythmic sound than on his previous albums. Q’s flow becomes trance like on tracks such as “Studio,” “His and Her Friend” and “Gravy.” On each of those tracks, Q exposes a somewhat softer, more emotionally vulnerable side without becoming too sentimental. It is a pleasant sonic shift from his other, more intense and aggressive beats.

As his true debut album under TDE, ScHoolboy Q is proving himself worthy of the superior ring of rappers. “Oxymoron” does not show as much artistic growth as it could have, but it shows Q staying true to himself. Q honors his gang life past, embracing it for what it has given him and sharing it through generally impressive lyrics and songs.

Elena Lopez can be reached at [email protected]