Schoolboy Q | Habits & Contradictions

Top Dawg Entertainment (2012)
By MICHAEL C. WALSH  |  January 31, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

Schoolboy Q

It's fitting that Schoolboy Q's narcotic flip of choice is OxyContin — as opposed to, say, weed or crack or whatever the push du jour has been throughout hip-hop's longstanding partnership with the drug game. Appropriate not only because it places the Los Angeles-bred MC in an oddly divergent pocket from his contemporaries, but also because he turns out the audio equivalent of dope here on his second independently released LP. Without much that can be considered "structure" in terms of the verse-chorus-verse standard, Q confidently wobbles through an album's worth of jaded bangers. The key is confidence. Moments that would be cringe-inducing if delivered by the less intrepid come across as triumphant — check his reappropriation of the intro to Kid Cudi's nauseatingly played-out "Pursuit of Happiness" on the chorus of "Hands on the Wheel." Genesis is sampled on "Gangsta in Designer," Portishead on "Raymond 1969," and there's an unabashedly out-of-his-lane cool-jazz flip by Lex Luger on "Grooveline Pt. 1." The standout is "Blessed," featuring closest confidante and likewise poised-to-blow label-mate Kendrick Lamar. A dark affirmation on par with UGK's "One Day," the cut is indicative that once people start paying attention, Q won't be residing in the underground for much longer.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, dope, drug,  More more >
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