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Chalk One Up For South Central :: ScHoolBoy Q's Oxymoron Doesn't Apologize

Chalk One Up For South Central :: ScHoolBoy Q's Oxymoron Doesn't Apologize

By Cullen Poythress

I stumbled on Schoolboy Q via Kendrick Lamar’s related artist page on Spotify a few years back. Tracks like Blessed (featuring the aforementioned Kendrick) and There He Go instantly resonated as carrying that, “new hip-hop sound emerging from LA”, all the music critics had been plugging in the press—and for good reason. LA and South Central in particular clearly have a longstanding tradition in rap, but this dark, quirky, trippy but still very gangster new sound was definitely worth writing about. Bucking the lyrical style trends of some of his more outwardly flossy hip-hop counterparts, Q instead seems to stress a genuine disinterest in the flashy accoutrements of a successful rap career choosing instead to humbly disclose the dissonant realities of a South Hoover Street gangbanger. And indeed, “Ain’t got no jewelry on, still I’m shinin’ hard”— the opening line of There He Go—seems an accurate posturing for his entire sophomore album—a thread that continues in his newest record released early last week, Oxymoron. As the title’s double entendre suggests, Oxycontin, the downright sinister pharmaceutical narcotic that reportedly kills more Americans per year than Heroin and Cocaine combined has played a leading role in the former Crip’s past. As this recently released article in the LA Weekly exposes, Q has a longstanding relationship with the drug—working a three year career as a West Coast interstate trafficker of the substance before ditching it for the rap game. LA gang culture too plays a part in the lyrical direction of his new record and, like many successful MCs who’ve legitimately come from the hood, stands as a lingering motif that never strays far from the overall soul of music as trap boy anthems like What They Want and Fuck LA suggest. Check out the film shots Senay Kenfe shot below from the Vans OTW launch show:

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