Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron (Album Review)


I’d say I do about 2 album reviews a year and I’ve been inspired by the official journalism in the field of hip hop album reviews as of late. I’ve come to add a review to the spectrum that isn’t as narrow as a Dixon-Ticonderoga yellow pencil but instead I’ll review all aspects of the album with my ears wide open, looking like the floppy ears of a basset hound. Now let’s go.

Oxymoron is Schoolboy’s third album, the first that’s being put out on a major label. The album title and overall concept is genuinely intriguing. The concept of it is meant to represent how Q is stuck between the gangster lifestyle and the new life of being a good father to his daughter. The title also plays on the words of drugs ‘oxy’ representing the drug oxycontin and ‘moron’ referring to how prescription drugs and hard drugs are moronic to him. But wait, didn’t he do this already? “Habits & Contradictions”? Sounds like the same theme to me and it sure was. He’s run the well dry on that theme now.

The standard version of the album is 15 tracks long and the album begins with two extremely bold songs. The first “Gangsta” falls flat on its face. It combines some G-Funk stylings on the beat and Q screaming “gangsta” a bunch of times. The content of the song is interesting, with him telling his bitch to be on the corner even if she has pneumonia and other ignorant hood commentary but this song just doesn’t work overall. The next song flops too. It attempts to be groovy but to keep it simple, the beat is really weak and Jay Rock drops a very poor verse. He turns heads with his flow but not in a good way. These two lead songs are both in your face but they clearly can’t do it like M.O.P. or anyone who’s been given that hardcore nomenclature. In fact, these type of choruses are laced all over this album and it can be tough to tell them apart. The first four tracks are really bad, they set such an awful tone for the rest of the album

There’s quite a bit of generics within this entire album. For one, Q relies on the lazy flow that transitions into a much more high octane chorus a lot on this album. It works to perfection on Break The Bank but not on the majority. Another annoying trend that’s all over this album are the pauses during verses for stupid adlibs. I want to count the number of times I hear “Yah” or “Yawk” during all of the verses on this album. Now it’s no secret that Q isn’t a great emcee and I get that but, he’s not bad either. That’s why I’m basing this review more so off the beats and melodies than what Q is actually saying. That’s his niche and I accept it except he didn’t execute his niche very well on this album. Some of the content is good but I don’t recall one line that had me saying “Oh shit did Q just say that?” He has a knack for putting together nice melodies on his choruses and the only songs he did that on were “Break The Bank”, “Man Of The Year” and the second half of “Prescription-Oxymoron”.

One very subjective thing that I dislike about this album are the many trap snares and drums. I don’t like them as a whole and then there’s a few songs like on “Hell Of A Night” where they absolutely do not belong. Another blunder is the BJ The Chicago Kid assisted track “Studio”. This is the song where he disregarded his formula to try a track with a 90’s R&B style hook. Thing is, the hook was awful. It was poorly written and it’s one of those hooks that belongs on the cutting room floor and not on the album itself. The other song with female vocals “His and Her Fiend” was weak in all aspects. It seemed like it was meant to be a smooth track with an interlude sound but it was just bad.

Oxymoron has its high points. “I just stopped selling crack today!” That’s one of the few infectious hooks but there’s more awful hooks than there are good ones. Schoolboy’s whole mantra of gangsta but I’m good is getting old now and his wordplay didn’t say anything new. In fact, Suga Free brought the best verse in my opinion and I even called that before listening to the album. So all in all the album is okay, I like about half of the album but the the half can go in the recycle bin.

Overall Grade: 5.5/10

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