Schoolboy Q stopped by Berkeley’s Rasputin Music on Telegraph Avenue and Channing Way on Tuesday to celebrate the release of his major-label debut, Oxymoron.
One-fourth of rap supergroup Black Hippy, LA hip-hop artist Schoolboy Q’s debut album features collaborations with artists such as 2 Chainz; Tyler, the Creator; BJ the Chicago Kid and fellow Black Hippy members Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar. Oxymoron tells the story of Schoolboy Q’s difficult life, exploring his relationship with drugs, gangs, crime and, most importantly, his young daughter Joy. The oxymoron of his album is that Q must do “bad” in order to do good for Joy.
A sea of excited and eager fans with albums in their hands and blue wristbands on their wrists lined up in front of Rasputin, waiting for Q’s arrival. The line snaked down Telegraph and up Haste Avenue, filling the sidewalk with hip-hop enthusiasts. Security quickly checked and escorted the audience into the store.
After an hour of delays, crowd control issues and waiting, Schoolboy Q arrived.
Wearing a black hoodie, black jeans and his signature bucket hat, Q stepped onto the balcony of Rasputin Records to greet his fans, a king addressing his subjects.
Q leaned on the railing and thanked Berkeley for supporting the album: “I just want to let you know that this is the only place in the world right now selling my album. I’m celebrating my album release with you all today.”
Playing three songs from Oxymoron, Q delivered a high-energy and powerful performance. He opened up the set with “Collard Greens,” to the crowd’s approval. Although he did not perform the song with featured artist Kendrick Lamar, Q provided enough energy for the entire store. He then transitioned into “Break the Bank,” an Alchemist-produced hip-hop track about Q’s desire to be successful regardless of the consequences. The audience could hear Q’s suffering in his difficult path to success, something that seems forced in the album.
The set closed with “Man of the Year,” a hard-hitting banger that has been one of his most famous songs to date. Although the set was over, fans continued dancing, cheering and chanting “Schoolboy Q, Man of the Year.”
As one fan enthusiastically remarked, “I’m really happy he’s coming here. Kendrick came to (Rasputin) two years ago when (Good Kid, MAAD City) dropped. And now Q is doing the same thing.”
Although Q had a flight to catch (he was set to perform in New York the next day), he remained calm and friendly during the autograph signing, answered fans’ questions and shook hands.
In a recent interview with MTV, Schoolboy Q revealed he considers himself one of the last gangster rappers. He hopes Oxymoron will not only inspire future artists, but also resuscitate the seemingly dying genre of gangsta rap; Tuesday’s event may have achieved just that.
Contact Matt Hong at [email protected].