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“Schoolboy Q’s ‘Gangsta’: An Ironically Candid Cry”

Schoolboy Q, for all the stardom and accolades he’s received, rightfully so, has a relatively simple point: he does not hate his fellow men. Life for him is not a machinelike battle for pu**y, it’s more than that.

I think a lot is said by the tie-died t shirt he dons on the iTunes photograph. He’s a huge black dude from LA, clearly a dangerous part, but I, a white dude from the suburban Midwest, understand everything that he’s saying here. It’s all a statement of camaraderie and unity.

Oxymorons is a big burger to try to take a bite out of, like most hyped-up hip-hop albums are, so all I’ve listened to so far is the opener, “Gangsta.” The song is a serious statement by being stupid. It contains a chorus of a sort of O.D.B.-type voice of seemingly inebriated belligerence screaming, “Gangsta gangsta gangsta / Gangsta gangsta gangsta we… “, ad infinitum.

I take “Gangsta” as considerable solace for the fact that, unlike in Chicago, hip-hop continues to constantly grow and blossom in LA. I mean, this album sounds nothing like NWA, whereas a lot of the best stuff back in this area still sounds like Common, at best. This makes the “oxymoron” that a sensitive, artistic emcee claims to be “gangsta” obviously easier to swallow — the beats are colorful, and create a forcefield of urban contentedness around what’s going on lyrically, which is basically Q saying stupid sh**.

So, the question is begged, was saying stupid sh** his only choice for this new album? I argue that yes, it was, because, with all the discourse we’ve heard about the media trying to turn the music industry into a fashion show, not to mention just the very competitive vapidity of America’s sociological paradigm, Q is saying that he simply doesn’t give a sh**. He’s an emcee, but he’s not about to pass up his kinfolk — that’s not what it’s about. Stasis, slothfulness, sometimes this is all there is, and these things are the opposite of judgment. The thing that’s mindblowing about “Gangsta,” ultimately, is that it’s a barbaric “yawp” that embodies a caricature, evidencing the fact that the great emcee is seamlessly adaptive, and that, in music’s best times, the right brain usurps the left, and guides you to a place ironically blessed.

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