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ScHoolBoy Q, ‘Oxymoron’ | Album Reviews | DeadEndHipHop

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ScHoolBoy Q, ‘Oxymoron’ | Album Reviews | DeadEndHipHop

ScHoolBoy Q, ‘Oxymoron’ | Album Reviews | 

"Give daddy your best gangster grill"
“Give daddy your best gangster grill”
“An engrossing album dipped with hues of a bloody past, crippling drug use, sleazy living and easy dying. It took all Q could muster to spell out this moody doctrine, but the California-TDE rapper both delivered and dismantled.”

*Written Review

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                Oxymoron is straight hard-hitting, with rag-tag lyrics, loud delivery, and non-“conscious” subject matters that are told from a user, dealer, and trigger puller. Each song is a bit of a disunion within themselves, reaffirmations that lifestyle only serves as sub-context for the music. For every droll, amusing lyric comes a bone-hard serious verse, and for every campy tune comes a diabolical counterexample. Schoolboy Q decimates each beat within an inch of its life, a furiously daunting task taking into consideration the roars served on each drum and bass-line from boisterous production on songs such as “What They Want” and “Hoover Street”. Q tames the wild beasts uncaged by super-producers like Pharrell and Mike Will Made It with a stiff javelin that cuts straight across the ice cubes of the “polished trap” sounds and the sinister murals painted on steep, adamantine cliffs one calls a beat. Oxymoron is a particularly different and new sounding album, relishing in a lukewarm light that exploits the pairing of hard sounding music with progressional chords and various lurking instruments, like the piano’s on “Fuck LA” or the violins at the end of “Man of the Year”. Musically, the album is multi-faceted, with an elongated dragon painted on one side of the face, and a perched owl on the other. Tracks like “Gangsta”, “Hoover Street”, “Prescription/Oxymoron”, and “Fuck LA” are the raw, rugged, oozing and stenching songs which are manifests of previous Schoolboy works from “Habits and Contradictions” and “Setbacks”. Full of decomposing, malevolent harmony progressions and discomforting piano keys, these songs embody both Schoolboy’s personal intricacies and style. Meanwhile, tracks like “Break the Bank” and “Blind Threats” are clear homages to late 90’s hip-hop ancestry, leaking a long, thick trail of boom-bap elements chockfull of cutting percussions and ominous strings. The album serves up songs like “Man of the Year”, “Hell of a Night”, “What They Want”, and “Studio”, which offer up divergent countenances that include R’n’B elements, striking trap beats, dance bass-lines, and woo-ing melodies. Additionally, frivolous songs like “Collard Greens” and “Los Awesome”, along with cacophony anthems such as “The Purge”, “Grooveline Pt. 2”, and “His & Her Fiend”, are corners of the album which emit shadows deviating from the main course. They are lodged within the LP, spontaneous between tracks of different accords and themes. That division between seriousness and self-deprecation is a facet of Q’s music which separates him from the good kid, do-goody vibe attitudes of a Kendrick Lamar or a flawlessly cohesive, non-stop album from say a J. Cole or Drake. The finale of this album, “Fuck LA”, is the summation and the “Tl;dr” afterword of the album. A middle finger to the world and a reckless disregard for both conventional and bohemian schools of thought, this album is one of total disarray. Full of crushing melodies yet dastardly well-placed harmonies, the music side of this project is top-notch albeit overwhelming in certain respects.

ScHoolBoy Q, 'Oxymoron' | Album Reviews |

As Q treads on this album with his various moods and idiosyncrasies, the lyrical hole that occupies this album is, however, largely left un-filled. Q is by no means a super-flowing, extra-brainy rapper of an Ab-Soul or even Kendrick demeanor, but the feeling one gets is that Q left a lot of things un-said and a lot of gravely stones un-turned. The concept of this album, an oxymoron, where Q is doing bad to ultimately do good for his daughter, is really only a general gist of Q’s project. The stories and insights one might expect from the self-proclaimed “most gangster rapper since 50 Cent” are either largely non-existent or sluggishly explored on this album. Save the captivating narratives such as “Hoover Street”, “Blind Threats”, and “Prescription/Oxymoron”, Schoolboy Q released an uncharted and dense album, which clocks in at about an hour and 15 tracks, and one that is left un-bothered in terms of lyrical depth. Listening to past projects like “Setbacks” and “Habits & Contradictions”, one quickly realizes that Q was saying more on those angles. Braggadocio songs like “What They Want” and “Man of the Year” are appetizing, but come major label debut studio album time, a demand is placed that asks for more bread for the birds and more lyrics for the rummaging. Q only serves a half-palatable experience in terms of lyrical prowess and insight, and while it’s not fair to place him on that pedestal obtainable only by a few elite rappers, many will not give him the benefit of the doubt considering his company of sharp MC’s like Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, and Isaiah Rashad. Holistically, the album does not offer a whole lot from a written, narrative standpoint, but that is not to say a listener cannot be entrenched or floored by Q’s magnetic delivery and convivial love for ring-a-ling choruses and verses.

“O-X-Y, I’m Moroooonn…”

The Lyrics: 6.9/10

The Music: 8.8/10

Overall Score: 8.5/10

3 Best Songs: Hoover Street, Break The Bank, Prescription/Oxymoron

3 Worst Songs: Los Awesome, The Purge, His & Her Fiend

Alternate Tracklist:

1. Gangsta

2. WHat THey Want

3. Studio

4. Collard Greens

5. His & Her Fiend

6. Grooveline Pt. 2

7. Gravy

8. Blind THreats

9. Break tHe Bank

10. Hell of a NigHt

11. Man of tHe Year

12. Hoover Street

13. Prescription/Oxymoron

14. FUCK LA

Bonus: THe Purge & Los Awesome

Music Videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc-Vqcud32I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEMsjeq43_U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L2vJEb6lVE

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