Oxymoron – a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true ).
With the incredible year and a half that Kendrick Lamar has had, it seems only natural for his TDE comrades to be next to hit the limelight. First up is ScHoolboy Q, who after a couple of delays, has finally released his major debut album. In terms of style and personality, Kendrick and Q are opposites, yet they stand together in conjunction. Kendrick has intricate story telling abilities, whereas Q is a slightly unhinged and hyper gangster rapper. Don’t take that in a bad way however – Oxymoron does not disappoint.
Whereas g.o.o.d. Kid m.A.A.d. City was a precise and perfectly honed album, this is raucous and unpredictable. Q’s punchy and double time flow is scattered through out and it’s this appeal that makes most of the songs work. “Collard Greens” has a melodic bass line, where Q’s flow is the main star. The same can be said for “Break The Bank” – his varying levels of intensity over the Alchemist-produced beat are incredible.
Q’s razor sharp delivery is the focal point for most of the album, but his penchant for hooks should not be overlooked. His barely-sober southern California drawl can create catchy as fuck, yet simple hooks. Take “Man Of The Year”, in which he screams “I’m the man of the year, ma-ma–man of the BOUNCE” – it’s nonsensical but Q makes it ring off an absolute treat.
The album is also driven by gritty street tracks. “What They Want”, a track featuring 2 Chainz, has a woozy and sloping beat courtesy of Mike Will Made It, a backdrop perfect for Q to deliver menacing and believable rhymes. Tyler, The Creator produced “The Purge”, which actually comes off as one of the most frightening songs. Tyler doesn’t sound out of place, coming through with a merciless hook, “Niggas got them choppers and they knocking at your door/The sirens getting louder when the bodies hit the floor/Why you look confused? Mothafucka, this is war”. The albums opening track “Gangsta” sews together his use of simple-yet-effective hooks, street authenticity and ping-pong delivery – “I’m faded, I’m fucking faded… I’m famous… Bitch I made it!”. This drunken confusion makes Q like nothing else in rap right now.
Despite the focus being on his delivery and not his lyricism, he still delivers a couple of surprisingly vivid songs. “Prescription/Oxymoron” is an intimate look into Q’s struggles with addiction and the skit with his daughter asking him to wake up really hits home. That is until the track turns into a brilliantly ignorant hook of “I just stopped selling crack today”.
Funnily enough, when ScHoolboy Q stepped away from what he does best, on the track “Studio”, it came out as possibly the best track on the album. An R&B infused record, it’s a love/sex song, with Q singing some hilarious lyrics towards the latter half of the song – “Let me put this dick inside of you” he sings sweetly. However, he dabbled with singing on another track, “His And Her Fiend”, a song that’s concept is far better than the music itself. It’s about a pill trying to convince someone to “let them take the pain away”, but the track is musically lacking.
Inevitably, Oxymoron is let down in a couple of other places.”Hoover Street” is pretty tedious, with a slow moving and repetitive beat. “Los Awesome” sounds like an exact copy of a track The Clipse could have made in 2006 on their Hell Hath No Fury album. After a stellar year for Pharrell, it’s a shame seeing him selling carbon-copy beats.
Oxymoron and g.o.o.d. Kid can stand together as their very own oxymoron. They work completely differently in terms of style, but can stand together as extremely good albums. There’s still a lot of room for Q to grow, which makes us excited for his future. For now, this is a very good project worth your time.
Highlights: Gangsta – Studio (ft. BJ The Chicago Kid) – The Purge (ft. Tyler, The Creator & Kurupt) – Break The Bank – Man Of The Year