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When listing the brightest stars who've emerged out of the west coast rap scene over the past decade, ScHoolboy Q is definitely deserving to be at the forefront of the conversation. Taking advantage of the increased attention paid to his Top Dawg Entertainment label, due to the buzz surrounding Kendrick Lamar, the Los Angeles spitter released his breakthrough project Setbacks in 2011, which turned heads among fans and critics alike.
Expanding his reach even further the following year with his Habits & Contradictions album, ScHoolboy Q separated himself as the second TDE artist, behind Kendrick, primed for commercial success. That potential was realized after Interscope Records struck a deal to release and distribute Q's major label debut, Oxymoron, which exposed him to a national audience.
Released on February 25, 2014, Oxymoron debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 139,000 copies sold in its first week. Producing multiple hit singles, the album would earn platinum certification and earn a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album in 2015. ScHoolboy Q's career has continued to ascend since. But, Oxymoron will always be remembered as a magical moment in time that elevated him into the public consciousness.
To mark the 5th anniversary of ScHoolboy Q's debut, REVOLT picked seven songs from Oxymoron that helped make it one of the acclaimed releases out of the west coast in recent memory.
ScHoolboy Q's daughter, Joy, let listeners know that her father is a gangsta first and foremost on this bruising warning shot to open up the TDE artist's debut. Produced by Sounwave and Nez & Rio, this introductory tune sees the Hoover Crip taking it back to his roots and recounting memories of his indoctrination into the street life. Fueled by aggression and adrenaline, the Figg St. ambassador brings listeners into his world, where the pursuit of money, power and respect supersedes all.
2. "Collard Greens"
Producers Gwen Bunn and T.H.C. craft a quaking instrumental for ScHoolboy Q to maneuver over with this jittery standout, which is inspired by the rapper's hunger for the almighty dollar. Featuring an appearance from Lamar, who let loose a free-wheeling stanza that includes a little bilingual wordplay, this radio-friendly ditty cracked the Hot 100 by peaking at No. 92. It has since been certified double-platinum and is one of Q's signature records thus far.
3. "Hoover Street"
Crashing percussion and guitars assault listeners earholes on this expansive selection that gives a vivid glimpse into the inner-workings of his crime-riddled stomping grounds. Produced by Sounwave, who turns in a two-pronged track, this selection sees ScHoolboy giving detailed accounts of his stint as a drug dealer, as well as his unorthodox upbringing and family ties.
BJ the Chicago Kid's velvety tenor is paired with ScHoolboy Q's bars on this Grammy-nominated inclusion on Oxymoron. Produced by Swiff D, the song was the breakout single from ScHoolboyQ's debut, climbing to No. 38 on the Hot 100 and earning the rapper his first platinum plaque as a lead artist. Capturing the usual gruff lyricist in a seductive vibe, the track sees Q going from purring sweet nothings to barking raunchy commands in seamless fashion.
ScHoolboy Q's past addiction to prescription drugs -- particularly Oxycodine -- is analyzed on this transparent offering, which features production from Willie B and Sounwave. Incorporating a sample of "Undenied" by British rockers Portishead, this two-part title track gets the core of the rapper's relationship with pills, both as a buyer and a merchant.
6. "Break The Bank
Vaults get cracked on this Alchemist-produced track, on which ScHoolboy Q looks back on his career as a narcotics trafficker prior to his transition into music. Rhyming over piano keys lifted from "Something Is Happening" by Man, and drums procured from Giant's 1970 cut "Queen of Downs," Q unleashes one of his intensified rhyme spills on the album. Peaking at No. 32 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and devoid of any contrived attempts to gain airplay, this track found the Man of the Year earning success on the Billboard charts on his own terms.
7. "Grooveline Pt. 2"
One track from the deluxe version of ScHoolboy Q's debut that is simply too good to ignore is this elegant tune, which sees Q laying his mack down while brandishing his pimpish ways. Featuring appearances from Bay Area legend Suga Free and TDE songstress SZA, this cut thrives on its live instrumentation provided by Frank Dukes and Tae Beast; who bolster the track with drum kicks, crisp snares, and strings. The outcome is a plush composition that captures ScHoolboy Q making the ladies swoon, and exudes a vibe that's smooth and debonair.
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