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May 16th, 2012 MARTIN CIZMAR | Music Stories
 

Primer: Schoolboy Q

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Born: Oct. 26, 1986, on an Army base in West Germany.

Sounds like: A thugged-out West Coast version of Kid Cudi who wants to go clubbin’ with 50 Cent but ends up taking a bunch of ’shrooms and thinking about sad stuff. 

For fans of: Ice Cube’s The Predator, Kanye West’s “Lost in the World” and Clipse’s Hell Hath No Fury.

Latest release: January’s Habits & Contradictions, an immersive album that draws you with tangles of skippy samples and trippy beats filtered through an earnestly paradoxical worldview to create a mood that’s not altogether pleasant but always interesting. 

Why you care: Even if Dre’s Detox is like a mix away, West Coast hip-hop needed someone to slide down this wormhole. Sure, those Odd Future kids have done some interesting stuff, but they’ve never had the beats, hooks or arresting sincerity of Schoolboy Q—let alone the focus to make an album as cohesive but diverse as Habits & Contradictions. Or, on a purely technical level, the dexterity, as Schoolboy’s style changes from track to track in a way many rappers try but few pull off. A 25-year-old product of South-Central L.A., Quincy Hanley is ostensibly aligned with Kendrick Lamar’s Black Hippy crew. But while Lamar—who claims a vision of Tupac told him to continue his work, before we all saw a ghostly Tupac resurrected in hologram form—seems committed to an ultimately positive message, it’s hard to tell where Schoolboy is going with this thing. On “Oxy Music,” which is about his drug-dealing days, even he can’t figure it out: “Only Lords knows, and only time’ll tell/ Will I go to heaven, or will I burn in hell?”


SEE IT: Schoolboy Q plays Peter’s Room at the Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave., on Thursday, May 17. 8 pm. $15. All ages.

 
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