Ties with The Crips, drug addiction, raising a daughter, introspection and re-evaluation; bucket hat-wearing party boy Schoolboy Q has a lot to say on his third studio album, and first major label release, “Oxymoron”. Coming in at a total of 19 songs (if you count all the bonus tracks) “Oxymoron” is an ambitious album, and for good reason.
Q has a lot to prove when he’s in the company of Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) label mates Kendrick Lamar, Ab-soul and Jay Rock, especially since “Oxymoron” is the first TDE album to be released since the Hugely successful “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.” This set a very, very high bar for Schoolboy Q to reach.
The album starts off with Q flexing his fame and reppin’ his hood on the track “Gangsta”, which is unfortunately riddled with an annoying array of Schoolboy’s ad-libbing “YAWKS”, “SKrrrrs”, and “WOOOs”.
The Pharrell-produced “Los Awesome” definitely makes up for anything that “Gangsta” lacks with its nasty synths, insatiable triangle ring and funky-fresh flow.
The album only gets better when its lead single “Collard Greens” starts. If you’re not bobbing your head while listening to “Collard Greens” you probably accidently muted the volume of your music player.
This is Q at his best, laying down fun party jams, riding dancy beats like it’s nothing and spitting hooks that will be stuck in your head for weeks (“oh, collard greens, chiddy-ching-ching could buy anything, cop that”).
Of course, the real star of “Collard Greens” is Lamar when he jumps in for his verse. After he flawlessly spits a few bars in Spanish, you can’t help but agree with him when he says “this yo favorite song”.
And though the party jams on this album definitely stand out (expect to hear “Hell of a Night” mixed at a frat party near you), Q is nothing to scoff at when he starts to get more serious and tell some stories.
“Prescription/Oxymoron” is an introspective look at Q’s struggle with drugs and how it has affected his relationship with his family and daughter.
However, the nice bit of reflection is ruined on the second half of the track when the once somber Q is replaced by a bad hook and some ad-libbing that can only be compared to the noise you would make if you were constipated.
Later in the album, “Break the Bank” is a surprisingly sober look at Schoolboy Q’s newfound wealth, and it’s accompanied perfectly by an almost haunting beat produced by The Alchemist.
The album ends with “Man of the Year”, an appropriate end for an
album not only about Q’s success but about the struggle to find the right thing to do amongst all the bad surrounding him.