Drug use is at an all time high across the globe. Which puts the demand for great music about drugs on an equal level. The people wanna get high fast, and they want to do with music that relates to the activity. Top Dawg Ent. has been slowly living out a Frankenstein effect in the game lately with Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar. They returned to the lab, applied power and alive came Schoolboy Q, their answer for putting a hold on the drug field of music. Under TDE, Q has been building his name slowly but surely. The success of Kendrick Lamar helped a lot. In a sense, if the Weeknd donned a gangsta persona and was from Los Angeles, you’d have Schoolboy Q.
Unlike Abel Testafaye’s lugubrious relationship with his music, Schoolboy Q handles a more fun element. Throughout Habits & Contradictions, Q displays this nicely. He and Ab-Soul add a lot of energy and bounce to their sequel, “Druggys With Hoes Again.” While we know those two can create good music, another duo has been brewing in the form of Q and ASAP Rocky. They go two for two on collaborations with “Hands On The Wheel”. It makes everything feel like one big party. The one true comparison between The Weeknd and Schoolboy Q’s styles lies in “How We Feeling”. A slowed down record of “ohs” and high thoughts but no actual memorable parts giving it the feel of a long interlude.
Let’s not put Q in this lone category as a “drug rapper” but more of a rapper who just happens to rap about drugs at times. There’s a lot more to who the man born Quincy Hanley really is. Who knew that sending sexual text messages (“Sexting”) could trigger the same energy in Q as the actual sport. On the flip side, alongside Dom Kennedy, who steals the show, and Curren$y, Q’s toned down side works on “Groovline Pt. 1,” surprisingly produced by Lex Luger. It gives off that same surprise when you realized he produced Wale’s “That Way”.
While Habits & Contradictions deserves your undivided attention on the first listen, after a while there will be some songs that are likely to get the skip button. “Niggahs Already Know,” while creative from one point of view, will make you sick of that three word combination by the time you reach the end. It’s hard to hate any of the records but songs like “Raymond 1969” and “My Hatin’ Joint” just act like fillers. Several listens to both songs doesn’t give off the same kind of vibes as the rest of the album.
It’s hard to deny TDE’s ear for talent. There’s a reason for everyone slowly succeeding at their own paces. With his second independent album a great success (4,000 first week as opposed to 1,000 with Setbacks, his first album) in more than one way, Schoolboy Q has made it clear that he’s going to be one of those future forces in the game, like Kendrick Lamar. It seems one more big project could launch him in that direction. For now, Habits & Contradictions should remain in rotation for quite some time and become a habit of getting a daily spin.
Purchase: Schoolboy Q – Habits & Contradictions