I joined the Black Hippy party in December of 2010 the day I heard Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q’s freestyle over Weezy’s “6’7’” beat. Kendrick and Schoolboy’s version came out only one day after Wayne and Cory Gunz released theirs, and when placed back to back, the two don’t even compare. Kendrick and Schoolboy bodied what would become the best track on Carter IV (admittedly not saying much). At that point I had heard of Jay Rock, the third Black Hippy member, mostly because of his brief stint at Young Money, but Ab-Soul, the fourth member was still an unknown to me.
Fast forward to 2011. Kendrick Lamar absolutely owned the year with Section.80 succeeding on all levels and ending up on just about everyone’s year-end “best of” lists. Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Schoolboy all released their debut full lengths with varying rates of success. Noz the popular Nah Right blogger dubbed the group the new Hieroglyphics for their diversity in lyrical styles and topics. I’m not sure who plays Del in that comparison, but the two crews do have more than a few similarities.
Now that the Black Hippy name is out there, the question is whether they have the staying power to truly become the next big thing in West Coast hip-hop. With Habits & Contradictions, Schoolboy Q has answered that question with a resounding yes. Schoolboy’s follow up to his first album, Setbacks, was released at midnight on January 14 and is easily the best hip-hop release at this point in the year. Featuring guest appearances from Q’s Black Hippy cohort, A$AP Rocky, Dom Kennedy and Curren$y, and production from Alchemist, Lex Luger and A$AP Ty, there is plenty of talent surrounding the Carson City MC. Some MC’s might be overwhelmed when surrounded by so many talented MC’s/producers, but Schoolboy still manages to own the project.
“Hands On The Wheel” featuring A$AP Rocky is the albums party anthem. An ode to bitches and blunts featuring some Lana Del Rey-esque vocals taken from Cudi’s “Pursuit Of Happiness.” Whether it’s coke, E or shrooms, Schoolboy and A$AP are indulging.
Too damn high, can’t stand myself
I love drunk driving, man I’m something else
Heat on my side, you’re more than welcome to melt
I’m ’bout to finish a pound, you’re more welcome to help
Later in the album, “Oxy Music” gives the listener some drastically different insight into Schoolboy’s drug habits. Instead of reveling in the party life, Schoolboy is now delving into the struggles of addiction and selling drugs.
Satan in your soul let it take control
Oxy cotin fiends keep the foil low
Let the pill burn inhale exhale it slow
Let yo heart explode drop ya to the floor
“Grooveline Pt. 1” would fit better on a Curren$y album, although Schoolboy does sound natural over the soulful Lex Luger beat. The rest of the album reflects the contradictions (it’s a very aptly named LP) in Schoolboy’s life. He wants to just party and have fun, but his personal devils, and his environment keep pulling him away from the good life. In the end, Schoolboy is an incredibly likable character despite his struggles.
Download: Schoolboy Q – “Oxy Music”