It’s been a long time coming, but the album that I had thought would be out in 2013 and had a lot of people frustrated with the wait, is finally here; it’s been quite the journey for ScHoolboy Quincy, whom I first heard on Kendrick Lamar’s Michael Jordan track in 2011 and have been listening to ever since. Setbacks and Habits & Contradictions were the albums that gave us a glimpse into what the live of a Hoover Crip was like in different ways – he sold drugs, he did drugs, he gangbanged, and banged chicks – it’s not exactly a life of luxury, and when you tie that all in with the fact that he has a daughter as well, it just creates an image of ‘bad father’ although parents always try to do everything necessary to provide for their children, and leading up to this album, the main theme was about him taking care of his daughter by any means. The word oxymoron serves as a double entendre to some degree because its dictionary definition means that you’re making a statement that is contradictory to what you’re actually implying. Doing bad to do good is a way to look at it from one point, and then you take in the fact that Q used to sell Oxycontin, which was (for a time that I didn’t know) a popular pharmaceutical drug that you could get high with. I guess he considers himself a moron when he looks back on the things he did, although he went about it with intentions of survival. Because good kid, m.A.A.d city was such a successful debut for Kendrick Lamar, the pressure was put on for the rest of Black Hippy to put out strong albums, and though their styles are different, I believe that the 2nd strongest in the group is Q because whereas you get Kendrick with vivid storytelling and more concrete wordplay and lyricism, Q is more so the entertainer because he can make songs like Hands on the Wheel, Druggys WitH Hoes, and Fantasy where there’s a clear variety of appeal to different groups: Partiers, weed-smokers, women, and ultimately – gangsters. He calls himself groovy Q, because he’s not your ordinary gangster rapper, and what the knock on this album will be that it’s not a ‘traditional’ album like how 50 Cent’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ was. That was in 2003, and the West Coast has always had that blend of funk and gangster rap in their music going back to Snoop Dogg & N.W.A (well, more so Snoop). What is being ushered in is a new sound, but how would that sit on the pillars of Hip Hop? Only time could tell, but as for the story being told, this is just the beginning.
The first track of the song is the one song from the album that I’ve been waiting to hear for a long time. With his daughter (Joyce) providing the introduction to the song, that was a nice moment (not the only time she’d make an appearance), and then Gangsta happened. I had heard the 1st verse going back to last year when he debuted the song live while performing in California, and then again at SOB’s in New York. The fact that this is the first song on the album is like when you heard 50’s What Up Gangsta? to begin GRODT; Hard hitting beat with an aggressive flow right off the bat. A few things to keep in mind during listening to the album are the continuous topics that will pop up over and over: his grandmother, him selling drugs, and overall the gangster side of him shaping the story that’ll be told.
“When I was broke, I got me that nine
With my nine, I hit me that lick
And then with that lick, it came with that yola
With that yola, it came with your bitch”
A lot of people who became fans of ScHoolboy Q over the past year heard songs like Hands on the Wheel (or all of HnC) and thought he was just a party guy. The reason why I like that this is the first song on the album, aside from setting the tone, because it’s a reintroduction as to who he really is, besides the weed-smoking, lean-sipping rapper that the majority of new fans know him as. I hadn’t heard of Nez & Rio before, but they produced 4 songs off the album, and this beat was definitely a statement to their product. In a little twist, the song ends with what sounds like an arrangement of strings (violins & cellos), much like how Kendrick’s Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe did; what the relation would be, I had no idea.
It’s been an astronomical year for Pharrell Williams with the success of Despicable Me 2, his original song (Happy) being nominated and winning so many awards (still more to come), and his work with Daft Punk on Random Access Memories, not to mention his own album being released – it’s been quite a storm. This wouldn’t be the first time that Pharrell worked with someone from TDE, as he produced Kendrick Lamar’s good kid in 2012. The first time I heard Los Awesome, I can’t lie, I wasn’t all for it because the beat is wicked, but I didn’t hear how Q & Jay Rock fit on it with the content of their beats. But through listening to it again and again, it naturally grows on you because the hook is catchy as ever, and when you listen to the track on the right speakers, it changes your perspective of it.
“Plead the fifth, no L’s, no whips, backyard full of Crips
Barbecues and county blues, this Hoover gangster be the shit
It ain’t much up on our list, shoot the killer and hit the licks
Get nut up out the bitch, gangbanging, fuck a clique”
There’s a lot of gang culture references on the track, and I think what gets people all unraveled (and myself the first couple of listens), was the fact that the beat is up-tempo and the lyrics would portray something that would have a darker tone; I mean, you could dance to this. Jay Rock has been wicked on features (he dropped a memorable verse on Money Trees) and given that he’s a Blood, it brings a unified sense of gang mentality from two former gang members. Violent imagery is what was pictured on the track, and like I said beforehand, it’s one that has to grow on you, because you’ll definitely catch yourself bobbing your head unconsciously to either the beat itself or the hook – one of them will catch you. The ending of the track plays a smoother beat, simulating that the effects of a drug have kicked in and you get zoned out.
It’s a fitting segue into Collard Greens, because it’s about doing drugs altogether (watch the video while you’re high – you’ll trip out). The song has been out going back to the summer of 2013, and the THC produced banger has that funk and flavour that is perfect for the party setting (which is where you’re very likely to hear the song). It has that bounce, and of all of the collaboration tracks with Kendrick Lamar (there’s quite a bit), this one is the most ‘fun’ to listen to, because it’s right in every setting. If you couldn’t tell already, there’s a balance of street & party rap on this album thus far, and it’s only the 3rd track in, but if you’ve listened to ScHoolboy Q’s catalogue, it’s not that surprising to hear a different range of songs that don’t have your simple kick-snare-bass type of ‘standard’ Hip Hop beat. It’s the variety that he brings that is what separates him from other distinguished and ‘traditional’ gangster rappers.
ScHoolboy Q has worked with Mike Will Made It before (My Hatin Joint on HnC), so another collaboration was definitely welcomed. Mike Will is known for working with Miley Cyrus, Future, and a bunch of other rappers that a lot of the Hip Hop world would look as sup-par, but his beats produce bangers because of that ‘trap-vibe’. What was surprising about What They Want was that 2 Chainz was featured on the song. I was caught off guard a little bit, because where I do enjoy the music that 2 Chainz puts out, he’s still what a lot of people would call ‘a-good-wack-rapper’, meaning that they can make solid tracks, but their actual skill is wack (the reason why Lil Boosie & Gucci Mane get passes). By the words “this the shit that they want, this the shit that they need”, I’d imagine it’s for the fans who like this kind of rap, but at the same time, it’s what the Rap world needs (I can appreciate the no use of Autotune here, since so many rappers like to abuse it). What everyone is used to when it comes to a 2 Chainz verse is a lot of references to money, foreign luxury, and obviously strippers. He took a different approach towards this song, and although I didn’t find the verse to be in my particular liking, the rhymes were alright; 2 Chainz isn’t the type to wow you with sensational rhymes on any given occasion (although it has happened before). The beat & hook are definitely catchy to enjoy throughout, and the fact that Q has a 2nd verse, it makes listening through 2 Chainz’ verse easier, or maybe because I’m just too lazy to skip it.
Now, Hoover Street instantly became one of my favourite tracks, not only on the album, but of all the tracks that Q has made altogether. I’m a sucker for storytelling, because it’s the original form of rap that is the most appreciated, and fans & listeners are not only here for entertainment purposes, but we want to hear the stories of the rappers making them. Nas, Jay-Z, Tupac, Slick Rick, and countless others have made their names because of raw and vivid raps that paint a picture in a simple form – Hoover Street did that. There was an interlude from HnC called Tookie Knows and I feel as if this was the song that it would have been transitioned to instead of Raymond 1969, because the beat is so similar, and it does dive into ScHoolboy’s Crip history.
“See I’m a real loc, my street sign I’ll kill fo’
Then rewind my Indo, then unroll my rillo
The bad guy never once been a hoes hero”
Q isn’t the first Crip that the Rap game has come across. Snoop Dogg & Nipsey Hussle have been very open about their Crip backgrounds, and although they’re from different neighbourhoods, their stories are somewhat similar when it came to gangbanging and selling drugs. The first portion of the song has that gloomy feel as you know you’re about to get into something dark (kudos to Thundercat on the bass guitar – that’s a heck of a pick up on production), and then when the beat drops, this is where the ‘stuck-in-the-90s’ rap heads would appreciate, because of the simple beat, but it’s aggressive by nature. That type of music that makes you screw your face and head nod unconsciously.
I done jumped off my ass
Hit the lick and barely pass but I quickly got to balling
2012 ain’t really happen
So I guess it’s back to trapping, eyes open night to morning
I liked how this paid homage to one of his verses on Raymond 1969 with the 2012 line, because it wasn’t the end of the world (as a lot of people thought it would have been), so back to trapping was the only way out. Raymond Washington was the founder of the Crips gang, whom would be later preceded by Tookie Williams.
They say 2012 the world gon’ end
Shit it been over since Raymond recruited soldiers
I think it’s written somewhere in the unofficial families handbook, that there’s a crazy uncle in almost every single one. Why I say that is because, as the story Q tells, his uncle was a crack addict who did all he could to get his fix in, including stealing from his family members.
Since a young nigga I admired the crack sellers, seen my uncle steal
From his mother, now that’s the money that I’m talking ’bout
Think about it, the smoker ain’t got shit and everyday he still get a hit
Whether jacking radios or sucking dick
Sell his kids and chop his wrists and sealing his lips
I always think about Pookie from New Jack City or Bubbles from The Wire, when I think about what addicts will do just to get high. They’ll do just about anything to get their high, but the thing is, this isn’t something designed for Hollywood, this happened right in Q’s eyes. Through his earlier mixtapes, Q also mentions in grandmother a few times because she was his caregiver when his mother was going through some troubles. She’s also part of the reason why he got into gangbanging because she showed him his first gun.
Gangbanging was a ritual and Grandma would help
She should’ve never left her gun on the shelf
Besides the fact that it was a storytelling song, it was a good song because it reveals a lot about his character, his upbringing, and instability in the household that eventually turned him into the path he would travel.
From gangbanging to simping, in the blink of an eye, Q shows off his soft side for what he calls the ladies song, Studio. Q has had a bunch of songs for the ladies on recent projects if you listen to Fantasy, Sex Drive, and Sexting. This would also be the 2nd time that Q & BJ the Chicago Kid would collaborate (I’m Good from Setbacks was the last time), and this track is definitely smooth. Swiff D is a producer not known to many, but he’s been good for as long as I’ve been listening to his beats for Pac Div, specifically. What you hear is a gangster with some sort of emotions, but not in a lovey dovey simp-worthy type of expression; it’s soft, but it’s blunt and straight to the point of exactly what he wants – them guts. At first I had thought it was a song about having to spend time with his daughter, but he’s so caught up in work, he’s dedicated to his craft, but as the song went on, it’s definitely about a girl of interest (hey, gangsters need love too).
When the tracklist came out and people saw Prescription/Oxymoron, their first comparisons were to Kendrick Lamar’s 2 songs in 1 setup with Sing About Me/Dying of Thirst, but that’s pretty much where the comparison ends, because they’re completely different in style and subject manner. Prescription is down-to-Earth and deals with the struggles of being a father while being addicted to drugs. Life changed for him when he became a father, and thus the oxymoron of the story is that all of the bad stuff he was doing prior, it served no purpose, but because he now has something to live for and take care of, it’s on him to take those things and make them benefit him.
“My mommy call, I hit ignore
My daughter calls, I press ignore
My chin press on my chest, my knees press the floor
I’m blanking out, woke up on the couch
Dinner on my shirt, my stomach hurts
I had a ball sellin’ 80s but yo, the karma’s worse”
It’s emotional in a sense where you feel for his addiction and the fact that he really went through very difficult times, but as we would come to discover on the title track, Oxymoron, that would change – and did it ever. Kendrick had m.A.A.d city as his go-to-banger. There might be multiple on Q’s album, but this track in particular will definitely blow the roof off any place. “I just stopped selling crack today” is already an infectious chant, and the beat is ridiculous – the type that will start mosh pits in any location. This track deals with him selling the drugs that, in Prescription, he was addicted to; a complete 180 degrees flip in the vibe and tone, but definitely delivered altogether. Through selling oxycontin from of a Nissan and making trips back and forth to Seattle, the language of a drug dealer was evident and fluid. The honesty is something that makes rap authentic, and this is just another case of that being expressed.
Q has, on a number of occasions, named Kurupt as one of his biggest inspirations when it came down to his rapping career. Tyler, The Creator is one of the most polarizing (yet, talented) artists around, because he sparks controversy often, and he doesn’t shy away from any opinion at all, if you follow him enough on social media. Who would have thought that these two artists would come together on The Purge? I looked at it as a bit of a blend of old and new school in terms of the West Coast, because TDE & Odd Future are both California based labels, but we just never heard a collaboration with them, because they have unique approaches on each side. It’s like when Pusha T and Tyler did Trouble On My Mind, no one knew what to expect, but I liked The Purge because of the all West coast vibe that it gives off. The Purge is also the name of a fictional movie where in America had one night where crime was legal so all of the evil doers could just go out and kill each other – it’s the weirdest concept for a movie I’ve ever heard of, but in life, through the eyes of a gangbanger, every night could be your last one – it’s either kill or be killed.
“Niggas rap about what I’m living, all this false claiming, I’m marring
Doing drive-bys I ain’t steering, white funerals, I ain’t tearin’
Fuck your bitch in front of your children
Steal your whip side of my building”
There are a lot of people who have been G-checked when it comes to if they were really about the life that they rap about. Selling drugs and having a bunch of guns are cool to hear by many because people love to glorify gangsters, but rappers only really say that so they can move some records and give off the impression that they really have a reputation in the streets (Rick Ross, for example, has been questioned multiple times). Pusha T is one of the more mainstream artists like T.I & Jeezy who have made their names by being open about their drug dealing history, but not so much gangbanging (although T.I loves to keep getting arrested for having guns wherever he’s at). I didn’t listen to a lot of Kurupt back in the day, but of what tracks that I do remember, he still has that laid back style that’s made him respected by many as a West Coast legend, often getting praise by his peers and rappers who looked up to him (Kendrick shouted him out on his infamous Control verse). The production by Tyler has always revolved around the dark, eerie, and gloomy regions, so it’s natural for this beat to fit so well on the album.
From a legend from the West Coast to the East Coast, Q did say that he wanted someone from the Wu Tang Clan to be on his album, and it turned out to be Raekwon for Blind Threats. A special note to add is that this beat was produced by Toronto’s own, Lord Quest, who also produced Figg Get The Money on Setbacks. That’s a major deal, so congrats to him. Q plays over the topic of religion scarcely (songs like Sacrilegious & Blessed come to mind), because as another oxymoron to portray, how could one person be doing all of this bad, and still find the nerve to look to God for forgiveness?
“Kneeling down with some questions to address like
Why the ones who commit the worst sins live the best?
The Ten Commandments, I can mark five checks
But I sense flaws, the Bible preaching blind threats
Streets held me down, got faith in a Pyrex
Faith in a four-five, I call it the clarinet”
There are a lot of people who question God’s existence because how could he allow so many bad things to happen? The people who do the most evil turn out to live the best lives, and there’s a lot of truth to that. The Bible is a controversial book, because historically, it has been used to rule nations through fear and to this day, it’s how a lot of people dictate their livelihoods, although in cases the book itself was used against them or their ancestors. It’s a finicky subject, but it’s something that a lot of people still question and will dedicate their entire lives to answering.
“Soul need saving, Mr. Preacher
I know I only come around when it’s Easter
Funerals, Thanksgiving, Christmas time
When I’m in jail or when my card declined”
I know all too well about the ‘looking to God when it’s convenient to you’ discussion, and I know a lot of people are guilty of it, because not everyone is religious, nor spiritual in believing in God, until something bad happens (or a biblical holiday) where we then ask for God’s help and/or forgiveness. I find that this was a perfect song for Raekwon to be on, because on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, one of my favourite songs on that album is Heaven & Hell
“What do you believe in, Heaven or Hell?
We don’t believe in Heaven ‘cause we livin’ in Hell”
Living in the hood seems like Hell, because of the circumstances, and like the Raekwon track, this track deals with living in a metaphorical Hell where God comes into question as to if he can get you out of that situation. It’s something that I thought of a lot as a kid, so I can understand what’s being said here. Raekwon sounds like he hasn’t lost a step from 20 years ago when he was coming up with the Wu. His verse was raw and it’s like he was in his natural element. It’s one of the best songs on the album, because again, it’s that authentic rap that new and old school hip hop fans come to appreciate. The beat is simple enough and the lyrics are concrete enough to hold replay value – that’s ‘what they want’ right?
I didn’t think that Hell of a Night was going to be on the album, because it was a theme song that the NBA used during the 2013 Playoffs. It’s energetic and almost has that techno vibe, before the beat kicks in. DJ Dahi is also the same producer who crafted Toronto’s unofficial anthem, Worst Behaviour for Drake, so you know it’s going to be one for the clubs of all genres (although, I think it’ll have more use in Europe because it’s probably easier to mix in with their love of EDM). It’s a party track, and much like how Collard Greens can get the party started, as will this one, and that’s the style that Q wanted for this album anyways – a healthy balance of party rap and street rap; it’s all a part of who he is and what he’s giving to the fans. I think about Travis Scott’s song of the same title, and Kanye’s Hell of a Life, and that it’s about being in the moment where fame, fortune, and a few drugs & alcohol make the moment feel insane. It’s like Hands On The Wheel, just 2 years later.
The last time The Alchemist and Q came together, it was for My Homie on HnC, and that was one of the best tracks as it revealed a situation that saw the true identity of someone he thought was close to him. Now that he’s been signed and has a major label debut out, it’s time to make real money. Break The Bank was another early release for the album, and it’s one of the better rap songs to come out in this early year. Everything culminates into one song about just where he’s been, what he’s done, and what he plans on doing from this point on: being a gang member, selling drugs, doing drugs, having a daughter, writing raps, selling albums, and eventually being the king of Hip Hop. Everyone knows about Black Hippy’s brotherly competition with one another, and one of the reasons why Oxymoron took so long to drop, was because Q wanted to make sure that it was better than Kendrick’s. I think that’s a legit reason to wait.
“Tell Kendrick move from the throne, I came for it
I hope this fuckin’ hit arrange for it, cause Goddamn”
You can spot an Alchemist beat from a mile away, but it’s his style of being in touch with his street inspired production with samples galore, that make him such a respected producer. This is definitely Q’s coming out song to where he’s acknowledging that he’s going to be in the game for a while.
They always say that a rapper’s first major album is about everything that they did in their life until the moment they drop their album. Man of the Year serves as the ultimate point of a sigh of relief, because when you take his whole life from when he was gangbanging, to the struggles of the neighbourhood, to the drugs, and how it all culminated to being a successful rapper, he’s determined to making 2014 his year to stand out and tell the world that he’s on top (much like how Kendrick did).
“Let this real shit occur, make mills from a verb
Nigga cop a crib in the burbs
You ain’t said nothing but a word, smoke something for ya nerve
Home of the paid on the first
Then nigga going broke by the third”
This also is a popular track that you could hear on the radio a hundred times over, or in the club, because it’s like Swimming Pools, with its club-sound atmosphere, but the undertone is that he’s talking about the realness of his life and that he made it up out of that struggle to get to the top. For the standard version of the album, it’s a fitting ending to what’s a great beginning for what I can hope is a lengthy rap career.
Moving into the bonus tracks, there are a lot, depending on where you bought the album (iTunes & Target have different bonuses). His & Her Friend is the song you hear the first few seconds of on the end of Los Awesome, and it features one of the new TDE members, SZA for a melodic and chilled out song. The basis of this song is that Q takes on the role of an Oxycontin pill, and SZA is the user. It’s like how 50 Cent took on the persona of Heroine on A Baltimore Love Thing, just without a woman on the hook. The whole first verse of His & Her Friend was almost synonymous with 50’s track. It feels like you’re in a daze when you’re listening to it, and I can imagine if you’re high, you’re more impacted by the effects. I like how Q’s voice was styled for the song as dark and evil figure, since drugs can lead people to dark and evil places. SZA’s voice is a thing of beauty, and she’s poised to drop an album this year as well. After hearing what she’s put out with the See SZA Run & S EPs, her album is going to be something serious.
Yay Yay was the first song to come out to promote the album, after a portion of it was heard in a video where TDE was in New York and Kendrick Lamar was hearing Jay Z’s verse for the Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe Remix. Produced by another one of Toronto’s many talented producers, Boi-1da, this track was an instant hit because of the beat alone, and Boi-1da’s track record shows that he’s capable of dropping one or two bangers in his career (putting it lightly, of course). Besides the beat (which is hard to ignore), Q introduces you to the drug dealer side of him as well as other things that he hustled to get by before rap happened.
“Had pistols in my hands, had pockets full of Oxys
Whole life I been a G, had bitches on the block
Had strippers on the pole, had cocaine in the pot
Got fiends at the door, so I turned that to a rock”
As we heard on Hoover Street, his Grandmother was a big influence into (inadvertently) shaping him into being affiliated with gang culture, because of the guns in the house and being exposed to just about anything that could relate to being a part of the set. He also has a line where he used to listen to Suga Free, and that’s where he had him featured on Grooveline Pt. 2. Part 1 was a stoner’s anthem to some degree, because it had the likes of Curren$y and Dom Kennedy on the track (from HnC). This time around, it still had that mellow flow, but Q took on his past role of a pimp and had the slick talking nature of one to back up his rhymes.
“Check the forecast, it’s Wavy Q, I should make the news
My fortune said that I’ll be pimping you and your pussy juice
Super sweet, sell a trick a treat, hope your lips in shape
Cause you worked your feet as you stroll them streets, beeper checking
Hope no cops arresting, girl, I told you them narcs be pressing
Better act like you a pedestrian and don’t mention my name
My pimping is game, cold limp with my cane, got gold on my chain”
Gangsters are usually P.I.M.Ps, because sex always sells, and people are willing to pay for it, so it makes it easy to find girls willing to throw themselves out there for the satisfaction of the customers, and the happy finances of the manager. Q & Suga Free (with SZA on the background) slick and smooth talked all throughout this, and I liked this more than the original. One reason’s because I didn’t have to suffer through listening to a Dom Kennedy verse (if you know me, you know I don’t like the guy’s music). It’s like when Kendrick was rapping about the girl on Keisha’s Song as she was a prostitute – maybe Q was her pimp?
Fuck LA is another hype track that Chicago duo producers, Nez & Rio, provided. One thing that you’ll notice on almost every other song, is that Q’s flow changes up often, keeping it fresh different, but maintaining the attitude to deliver something with force. Simply reiterating what he was brought up around, there’s no denying that he’s all authentic when it comes to his gangster behaviour. The one bonus track I liked a lot, but was surprised that it was so short was Pusha Man. Curtis Mayfield’s classic has been the subject of many rappers’ rhymes and inspiration for songs since rap began. Being the drug dealer that he was, it’s cliché in a way for him to call himself a Pusha Man, but the laid back and chilled style is what makes up for it. Gravy was a track I didn’t care for at all. It’s one of those just there to make up space – Clams Casino came with a dope beat, however.
The last track on the album to round out the bonuses, was Californication, and it was one of the most anticipated, because A$AP Rocky was featured. If you’ve heard Brand New Guy, Hands On The Wheel, and PMW, then you know exactly why people were so keen on hearing this track. These two make great songs together, and it’s a wish for many that they make a project together, because that would surely be something entertaining on all ends. I kid you not, Nez & Rio are insanely dope. They had 4 tracks on the album, and hopefully they’re continuous collaborators with Q, because they bring energy that’s consistent. A$AP Q does it yet again with a banger, and it’s simply bragging and boasting about the money and women that they just happen to get so easily. From the Turn My Swag On and Thuggin’ Noise references, this is a fun track most definitely with a lot of replay value. I had to put it on repeat about 5 times, when I first gave it a spin; a great ending to the album.
What’s the overall word to describe this album in a few words or less? There are a lot of words to describe the mind of a gangster-hustler-pimp-turned-rapper, but I’ll settle with one word – Impressive. What a lot of people don’t know is that Q has been on the Billboard charts since Setbacks, and his progression since that point has been no surprise. When you’re a part of a 4-headed-monster that is Black Hippy, you have no choice but to bring your A-game all the time. Kendrick Lamar came out with a bang, as people heralded him as the 2nd coming of whatever legendary rapper you want to throw in to fill the end of that sentence, but I don’t think people took Q seriously as a Gangster rapper, because everyone thinks they’re a gangster rapper, and at the same time, he makes party music as well – not exactly striking fear into your heart when you have a bunch of 20 year olds in college jumping up and down to your music. The lesson here is that, in the new age of Hip Hop, where everyone is trying to ‘bring back’ the essence of what made Hip Hop great, isn’t the nature of time to move forward? Coming out with his story of a troubled past, personal struggles, and really a path headed nowhere good, Q was able to take all of that and form it into an entertaining piece of art that people from a lot of different backgrounds can appreciate. The kids in the suburbs who just want to party, or the gangsters in the inner city who want someone to relate to, there’s that blend that makes it a different type of gangster album that fits this time period. Being an artist in the major light, what sold millions 10 years ago, may not sell over 100K today. Because there are tracks on the album that will definitely appeal to a specific audience more than others, people will dismiss it as a whole when it comes to what a classic ‘Hip Hop album’ is supposed to sound like, but Outkast has sold millions and they’ve been different for 20 years than say, someone from the East Coast or West would have sounded like 20 years ago. What I like about Q is that he’s the 1 member of Black Hippy that doesn’t have just one particular lane where he fits, because he’s able to do so much. It’s a reason why people see him as being one of the stronger artists that’ll have a bigger global impact because he makes better music all around. Kendrick and Ab-Soul can rap metaphors and complex rhyme schemes around him any day of the week, but his personality is such that he’s able to hop on a different sound and remain consistent because it’s so natural. When you look at this introduction to his major career, he adds some old and new as to what the future of modern-day gangster rap will sound like, without having the ‘this is that 90s type of sound’ attached to it. It’s an oxymoron in itself that a Crip member is on his way to having a number 1 album in the United States. That’s pretty gangsta to me. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review
That’s My Word & It STiXX