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The DNA of ScHoolboy Q's 'Oxymoron'

The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Chart last week, we picked it apart.
Ryan Bassil
London, GB

ScHoolboy Q’s Oxymoron took so long to be released that it almost felt like it wasn’t going to happen. First announced in June 2012, the months that followed were peppered with anticipation, hard-as-fuck pre-release tracks “Yay Yay”, “Man Of The Year” and “Collard Greens” serving as bait cock-tease for a record that had been continually pushed back.

Last week the record debuted at #1 on the Billboard Chart and TDE scored another home-run in the label’s already impressive career of game-winners. We don’t know the secrets to their success. But we do know about the DNA of Oxymoron


The Producers

Similar to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music, Top Dawg Entertainment have an in-house production team. Known to the world as Digi+Phonics, the group produced five cuts on the record and have been named by both Complex and BET as among the Top Young Producers on The Rise. Not content with using just Digi+Phonics though, ScHoolboy enlisted a whose-who of hip-hop production to help out. Pharrell Williams stepped in on the Jay Rock featuring “Los Awesome”. Mike WiLL Made It produced “What They Want” and elsewhere on the album, Clams Casino, The Alchemist and Tyler, The Creator all have guest production spots.

The Featured Artists

The features on the record, not just limited to producers, are evident of the varied soundscapes that are melding together across the West Coast, and a passing of the torch, with ex-Death Row Records Vice President Kurupt and Californian rapper Suga Free appearing on a tracklist that also includes TDE members Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and Jay Rock. The latter inclusion reinforcing Top Dawg’s stronghold. Not all of the features were planned, though. Talking at the listening party for Oxymoron, Q said, “I just needed somebody from [Wu-Tang] on the album… [Raekwon and I] ran into each other in the elevator.

"Nothing music related. I wasn't going to do music. He wasn't going to do music. He just walks on the elevator I was on."

And then they made the blunt-coasted “Blind Threats”.


TDE Studio Rules

The Title

By dictionary definition, Oxymoron is a figure of speech that juxtaposes contradictory elements, like, “Damn, dude. Those Nike’s are icy hot” or “Wow, you’re pretty ugly”. ScHoolboy didn’t name his album because he has a fetish for English Language, instead, in an interview on The Breakfast Club he revealed that the album’s title stems from his past a drug dealer selling Oxycontin, and his desire to follow the concepts of his last album, Habits & Contradictions. So… sort of like Habits & Contradictions 2, but with a better name.

The Bucket Hats

ScHoolboy Q once said “I don’t spend money on nothing, except my daughter, bucket hats and weed”. He owns over 300 of them, best come correct and believe they make up at least a tiny bit of the essence of the album. Also check Kendrick's response of - "what?!"

The Daughter

Yeah, it’s cool that JAY Z featured Blue Ivy on a track that one time, but ScHoolboy’s daughter leads the listener through Oxymoron, appearing on a bunch of skits, and he didn’t even have to boast about it.

The Gangster

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanBassil