Why you should care

Because Q wants to collaborate only with God, and we think he’s pretty damn close to it.

Rapper ScHoolboy Q doesn’t care for the media. Which is ironic, because the media friggin’ loves him. On the hunt for a new golden boy of hip hop — while Kanye loses it, while Kendrick loses to Mack, while our ears are plagued by mediocrity, we’ve hailed the rise of ScHoolboy. Who just happens to be Kendrick’s best buddy. But does he want to be mine? Not so much. The media “switch up your words. Try to make you look bad. I don’t like that shit. No offense to you.” None taken, man.

Q is sort of like the hip-hop version of Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch. Where Oscar is always in a garbage can, Q is always in a bucket hat. He is kind of scruffy-looking, will snap at you if you ask the wrong question (or any question, for that matter), is totally outspoken with sarcastic responses to everything, loves the color green (Oscar for body hue and Q for smoking purposes) and rarely smiles, but when he does, it’s to spread love. In a recent tweet to his fans, he exclaimed, ”NO GOLD R PLATINUM SINGLES.… Not even a Record dat went TOP 40, yet my ALBUM IS IN DEMAND MOE THAN ANY OTHA ARTIST!!! U guys r amazing!” That’s about as happy as this thug will get, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Yet, the industry doesn’t wait on many. And when it wants something, it — hell, we — want it right away. Unfortunately, 27-year-old Q’s album was one of those things. His third album and debut major label release, Interscope Records’ Oxymoron — originally meant to drop today — leaked just six days early. And while that’s pretty expected in this day and age, it still came as a slight shock to the rapper. Just two days before the leak, Q found himself walking into the Beats by Dre-NYC store for a preview session, telling everyone to ”f*cking buy my album,” showing off his unreleased tracks in his own kind of self-promo. But as everyone cringes and waits for Q to react — he’s chillin’. See, what you all don’t yet get is that this guy — who’s the talk of the industry these days — just doesn’t give. Well, maybe a little bit. Last week he gave in to an impromptu freestyle on MTV’s hit online show RapFIX. Chalk it up to being in promo mode. Lucky for us he’s lighting up a bit.

Q is a former Army brat and now loving father whose young daughter led him evolve from a gangbanging hustler from the dead-end streets of South Central L.A. to a recording artist with a bright future. So much so, after toiling away for about eight years, he’s now one of the many favorite rappers coming out of the highly sought-after and successful music label Top Dawg Entertainment. The TDE label boasts the hottest crew of lyricists around, named Black Hippy, featuring Q, Ab-Soul, Jay-Rock and the music industry’s supernova star, Kendrick Lamar. No longer personally fighting out of Lamar’s mainstream shadow, Q’s laid-back-roll-up-a-joint vibe has pulled listeners in, and he now holds the gaze of everyone. So we decided to let him rip. On OZY.

Hear him talk yourself — and watch:

OZY: Your album drops, well, today — by the time people are reading this. What type of reaction are you expecting from your fans for the album?

SBQ: Honestly, I really don’t know. I’m actually waiting to see that. I’m really interested to seeing how much of my supporters are going to be out there and what people are going to say because it’s nothing like what I have ever done.

You are three albums deep in tough times and struggle life themes, so what’s new about this project? Where’d the concept come from, and what’s the feel of it?

Real Dark. Basically bad for good. And all that kind of stuff. All the bad things I’m doing for a good cause to take care of my daughter. My whole album is not just about life issues. First off, I’m more developed and more polished than I was on my last project. Also, it’s dark like real dark. All my projects are dark, but this is extra dark. It’s dope.

As the most outspoken member of Black Hippy, you spew serious heat on the track “Man of the Year”; is it all cockiness or confidence?

Both. You got to believe in yourself. People take believing in yourself and liking what you do as being cocky. There is nothing wrong with being into yourself; you gotta know you’re the best to be the best. Jordan wasn’t going around saying “Scottie Pippen would beat me 1-on-1 or he’s better than me,” he knew he was the best. It’s confidence too because I know I deliver to my loyal fans. So, yeah, I am the “Man of the Year.”

Hip-Hop releases are like Miley Cyrus tongue sightings, too many to keep track of, so with that competition do you expect your album to be one of the best of 2014?

Of course! Hopefully the best. But I hope the rest of my team drop excellent projects. Isaiah [Rashad] just dropped his [Cilvia Demo album], you know [TDE] dropping six projects this year. Hopefully, they have dope albums too. I wouldn’t mind having the weakest album out of them.

This project is truly a family affair as your daughter is the cover art for Oxymoron, was that always the plan?

Yeah. From day one that was my plan to have her on there. I was just trying to figure out a way to do it more unique than everybody else. Everybody else put their kids or themselves up there, [and] I wanted to do it different. I think I got it covered; it’s dope.

Tour life, studio life and everyday life has taken its toll on your new celebrity status. How have you seen yourself change as a creative person the longer you’ve been in the industry?

A lot. I take my time with everything; nothing is rushed. Everything counts now whether it’s a verse, ad-lib or even a drop for a DJ. Everything counts now, these days. I really just take my time with everything. No more doing four or five songs a night. I’m really paying attention to my craft.

Do you feel that you’re able to tap into the raw emotion of the streets that you were raised in faster or slower now?

I would say medium; I wouldn’t say faster or slower. I’m out of that lifestyle, so there’s a lot of things I don’t know. But at the same time, my ears are still to the streets. I still have homies that live on my block, and I get info. But at the same time those types of issues are not in my life anymore.

You’re hilarious, mean, combative and very outspoken in interviews and social media, but we’ve noticed how you’ve been curbing that lately. Is there a reason for that?

I see that on the Internet people really take a lot of this stuff to the heart or whatever. Like the stuff you do or say or even the way you act and don’t understand you as a person. Like I just seen all over the Net that it said I was the “Best person in Black Hippy.” For example, if I said I was the best, of course I would say, that because I’m not thinking somebody is better than me even if they are better than me. That’s like I’m playing basketball and somebody walk on the court and I’m like, “Yeah, he better than me.” It don’t go down like that. At the end of the day I was joking, too. The riders or websites will take what they want out of it and say, “Schoolboy Q said he’s the best in Black Hippy,” and make it seem like it’s some serious talk or serious issue. I hate that part of it. Then you have people like, “Q, is you crazy? What are you thinking about?” I’m looking at them on Twitter today like, ”Are you serious?”

That’s that Oxymoron life for real.

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