With the release of Habits & Contradictions, a new sophomore album by rapper Schoolboy Q, there’s a sign that hip-hop is moving in the right direction once again.
More often than not, mainstream rap artists lack the true hip-hop sound shaped by rap legends like Notorious B.I.G, Tupac, Nas, N.W.A, and Wu-Tang Clan. A rap song you may hear on the radio today usually contains a driving 4/4-time beat, poor metaphors, and lyrics that lack substance or even lyrics that the artist didn’t write. With Schoolboy Q’s new album, the old school hip-hop sound is resurrected. Schoolboy Q doesn’t follow the rules and plans to keep his sound unique. When asked about how he views mainstream rappers Schoolboy Q responds, “Yeah, that shit is too flashy for me. I’ll never buy a chain. I’m not into that shit. I don’t even have a car. I’m not even into it. I made a good enough amount of money.”
Unlike many rappers, Schoolboy Q raps about what he knows and his personal experiences instead of trying to fit a mold that satisfies rap music fans. He writes about his anger, heavy drug use, past relationships, and gangbanging lifestyle to produce an album that is truly innovative. The album also proves that Schoolboy Q is versatile. Track number five, entitled “Oxy Music,” is a heavy hitting dark song about Schoolboy Q’s drug use and history of gangbanging. Track eight, entitled “Raymond 1969,” is another dark song about Schoolboy Q’s drug use and gun violence that he experienced as a kid. He raps, “Soon as he lit it cousin was finished now cock back the gat, little mask and gloves let’s go to business.” He raps about how he joined the 52 Hoover Crips street gang when he was twelve years old before he started focusing on his rap career in his early twenties. Track ten, entitled “Grooveline Pt.1,” changes the pace of the album with a relaxing sound accompanied by mellow lyrics. With a little help from heavy hitters Dom Kennedy and Curren$y, this track is a perfect example of his style versatility. Along with Dom Kennedy and Curren$y, big names such as A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, and Jay rock add credibility to Schoolboy Q’s album and attract a diverse audience. Schoolboy Q’s sinister style and rough lyrics resemble that of hip-hop legends and he plans to take over the hip-hop game with his raw sound and help from his rap group Black Hippy which includes Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, and Kendrick Lamar. With two groundbreaking albums in the past two years, you can expect big things from Schoolboy Q in the future.
Buy the album here.
By Matthew Hadley