After releasing the standard and deluxe album artwork for his major label debut Schoolboy Q did us all a favor and liberated an Alchemist produced cut he’s been hiding from the public since 2012. There is an ancient saying, “If you give a man a fish he will eat for the night, but if you give him an Alchemist beat he’s going to save it for his debut album!” OK, maybe not, but it’s easy to understand why Schoolboy saved this one. Schoolboy Q gives his fans what they really want on this harrowing track; aiming to take listeners back to Gangsta Rap with a refreshing (no shots) departure from the Drill tunes in Chiraq, and ‘Trap Music’ that has the streets by the neck.
“Fuck rap, I been rich! Crack by my stick shift/ Oxy like concerts, always my bread first,” he quips to start the song. A fitting intro for Metrojolt’s coverage of Oxymoron; Schoolboy Q honestly breaks down how his past dealings of Oxytocin provided his financial stability in the same way concert performances do for most artists. The title of his album Oxymoron is a play on his past dealings, and a continuation of the theme set by his last effort, Habits and Contradictions.
Q uses alternating flows over a truly exceptional beat to deliver another single off his highly anticipated debut album. ‘Collard Greens’ (feat. Kendrick Lamar) and ‘Man of the Year’ were two of the standouts, with four different singles making their way to several Billboard charts. Additionally the ‘Man of the Year’ video is quite superb if I may say so myself. However, on ‘Break the Bank,’ Q departs from any intentions of making a radio-friendly hit. He alternates tone from gravely crooning on the hook, to simple sounds on the chorus, to angrily staking his claim on the verses, expertly ebbing and flowing on the haunting beat.
Swinging for the fence, I hope I make it out the park
Where the base heads slide after dark, where the bangers get caught
Hide the gun in the trees, arrest me by the court
I just wanna smoke weed and sip lean by the quart (forreal)
‘Break The Bank’ is a hustler’s anthem, withSchoolboy detailing his meteoric rise and even challenging Kendrick’s spot atop the rap totem pole. A lyricist when he wants to be, Q takes the easy route at points, yet manages to pull it off without a hitch: “New shoes and sick clothes, bitches be front row, bow down her tempo, I don’t know her info”. While not a complex line at all, Q has the swag to deliver on his creed and surrenders to the realism that being a rap star affords In contrast, he fleshes out his humble beginnings, explicitly referencing growing up with “Du-rags, flatlines, and drive-bys at bedtime.”
Oxymoron is Q’s first release since King Kendrick unleashed Good Kid MAAD City and his claim staking ‘Control’ verse. So where does Schoolboy Q stack up in the national conversation and even within his own label? Despite two stellar projects in Setbacks and Habits and Contradictions, the book on Q is as malleable as they come. Some predict him to flop as he tries to emulate his slightly more ‘lyrical’ label mate, while others (like Mac Miller) are forecasting ‘Oxymoron’ to be a more diverse, and ultimately better project than Kendrick’s own seven time Grammy nominated album. ‘Break the Bank’ is certainly a strong offering from a rapper with a flawless resumè the past few years.
Truly I cannot stress enough how fortunate Q was to get this beat from Alchemist, which should float around in cyphers throughout the nation for months to come. Schoolboy Q wanted to break the piggy bank, and now he’s finally in position to cash out. He is on the brink of national stardom and rightfully has money on his mind. If all goes well, he might have to replace those dollar signs with a crown. #NEWWEST.
-Marcus K Byrd