It’s not exactly 9/11/07—Jay-Z still needs to weigh in with a bombastic quote—but February 25 was a surprisingly good day for hip-hop: Not only did stoner hero Kid Cudi unexpectedly drop his fourth studio album, Satellite Flight, at midnight on iTunes to the lights of tens of thousands of bowls, ScHoolboy Q released his long-awaited major-label debut, Oxymoron. And holy shit is it good.
Behind bass-heavy beats that hit harder than anything outside the Lex Luger canon, Q spins tales of hedonism and the state of the gangsta life in 2014. In a way it’s the perfect complement to the Good Kid, M.A.A.D City of his labelmate, Kendrick Lamar: While Lamar raps about his difficulties in steering clear from L.A. temptations (while remaining a “good kid), Q falls right into them. “What’s wrong, you tired?” his real-life daughter asks his unconscious and drugged-out state on “Prescription;” Q later says of his addictions to Percocet, Adderall, Xanax and codeine, “Dinner on my shirt, my stomach hurts/I had a ball sellin’ 80s but yo, the karma’s worse.”
But it’s not all introspection. “Collard Greens” is fun, with Q making use of repeated words as a supplemental beat, and when he reaches outside himself to detail what it was like to grow up “a gangsta,” it’s totally fucking captivating. On “Hoover Street,” about his addict of an uncle, he rhymes: “He used to give me whiskey to piss in cups/ Knockin’ on the door to tell me to hurry up. He’s in a rush/ I gave it to him and got my ass whipped for doin’ it/ Moms used to tell me like, ‘n—a, know who you dealing with.”
Stream the album, courtesy of TDE, below. West Coast rap is back, if it was ever gone at all.