ScHoolboy Q to bring West Coast sounds to a West Michigan stage

By David Specht | 4/16/14 8:33pm


GVL/Courtesy – The Orbit Room
Schoolboy Q Concert Preview

While Lakers have likely spent the last few days struggling to stay awake during their fellow classmates’ final presentations, there’s one last schoolboy set to present this week whose subject matter might be a bit more provocative.

Since dropping his third studio album, “Oxymoron,” in February, South Central Los Angeles rapper ScHoolboy Q has been on an international tour to promote the album’s release. The tour’s next stop is at The Orbit Room in Grand Rapids on April 19. The show is open to all ages, and the doors open at 6:30 p.m.

While some critics were on the fence with his slightly scatterbrained 2012 album, “Habits & Contradictions,” Q has redeemed himself with a more bold, confident sound on “Oxymoron” — which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Vivid lyrics are complemented by Q’s raspy voice, making for a memorable experience.

On some of the album’s hit singles such as “Break the Bank” and “Hoover Street,” Q’s uncompromised authenticity allows for the sound of ‘90s gangsta rap to shine through.

Nate Smith, a senior at Grand Valley State University and fan of ScHoolboy Q, said “Oxymoron” is Q’s best album to date and will make for a solid live performance.

“I think ScHoolboy Q’s success can be attributed to a combination of a couple of really good singles and being the head of Top Dawg Entertainment,” Smith said. “With acts like Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul in your roster, it’s hard not to get noticed.”

Accompanying Q on Saturday will be Long Beach rapper Vince Staples and TDE label-mate Isaiah Rashad, who recently participated in the TDE Cypher during the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards. Both of the supporting artists released mixtapes earlier this year and are expected to perform numerous tracks from these works.

While not that conceptual in regard to the album’s storyline, “Oxymoron” is built upon hard-hitting beats prepared by high-profile producers including Pharrell, The Alchemist and Clams Casino, making for a strong set list. Though much of the album is comprised of cautionary street tales and contrite contemplation, stimulating songs such as “Collard Greens” featuring label-mate Kendrick Lamar and “What They Want” featuring 2 Chainz demonstrate Q’s ability to elegantly transition from introspective tracks to those more party-oriented.

And after a long week of perhaps less-than-stimulating student presentations, Q’s upbeat tracks are exactly what some Lakers are looking for.

“I’m mainly excited to go to ScHoolboy Q’s show to hear the beats that he raps over,” said Emma Balliet, a junior at GVSU. “He isn’t a lyrical genius by any means, but his music is great to dance to and just enjoy yourself.”

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