Around this time last year, a skinny kid from South Central Los Angeles with brave fashion sense and a penchant for lyricism released the best rap album of 2012. His name was Kendrick Lamar Duckworth. The album was titled “good kid, M.A.A.D city,” and when you went to the record store that day or on your computer to download it (legally of course), then you could feel the goose bumps appear across your forearms. Real hip-hop fans knew a classic album had been constructed that was marketable, street sensible, and lyrical, the triple 7’s of crafting an LP in this particular genre of music. Nevertheless, on the other side of L.A., industry insiders, critics and fans alike were beginning to talk about another rapper with an entirely different lyrical style and mojo. Enter Schoolboy Q.
It’s no secret that Kendrick’s popularity took a small hit with the release of the buzz single titled “Control.” The record featured Lamar alongside Big Sean and Jay Electronica. “Featured” would be an understatement though, as Lamar proceeded to ether several rappers calling them out by name, and would contain a boast that Lamar was the King of New York, insinuating that he’s the best rapper in the game right now.
While everyone was talking about that particular record, which completely overshadowed Big Sean’s album (does anyone even know that it’s out?), no one realized that another burly, ex-Junior College football player, ex-gang-member-turned-rapper also from South Central L.A. was licking his chops, rolling his swishers and crafting one of the most anticipated album of 2013.
The album is titled “Oxymoron” and is slated to drop this fall. The good folks at Q’s label, TDE Entertainment, have been sitting on this release for a while. Because the truth is, he doesn’t need a release date. If you’ve ever heard him rhyme, you know he can afford to drop when he wants to. If you don’t believe me, go download a copy of his 2012 album, “Habits & Contradictions.”
While Kendrick may be the Chris Paul of hip-hop, Schoolboy Q is the Stephen Curry of the rap game. The insouciant attitude to writing venomous lines. The dense, crisp flows that mesh so well either in or outside of the beat. His ruggedness reminds hip-hop heads of a 20-year-old Snoop Dogg (I’m not calling him Snoop Lion). People, it’s not a fluke that he’s on every “most anticipated albums” list for the year. “Collard Greens” has generated enough of the buzz to reel you in. Now it’s time to pay attention.
Drake might have the most glamorous release with “Nothing Was the Same” this September, but Schoolboy Q will easily turn in the best rap album of 2013. It might not receive a Grammy nod or an American Society of Composers and Publishers award, but when has hip-hop just been ushered through the door into the VIP? She’s always had to push her way in, in stark contrast to the G-Funk era that permeated the 90’s, back when Dr. Dre was actually making hits as opposed to headphones ($200 for some headphones? Really?) The new centurions of hip-hop on the left coast have taken a different path toward acclaim. Listen and learn.