ScHoolboy Q

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One of the most dynamic and revealing voices in contemporary hip-hop, ScHoolboy Q chronicles a turbulent life marked by street life and vices, with subjects such as fame, fatherhood, and sobriety also related with his ever-changing flows. He came up with fellow South Central L.A. native Kendrick Lamar and the Black Hippy collective, and charted with Setbacks (2011) and Habits & Contradictions (2012), his first two albums for Top Dawg Entertainment. ScHoolboy Q soon broke through to become one of the most prominent artists of the mid- to late 2010s. He placed Oxymoron (2014), Blank Face LP (2016), and CrasH Talk (2019) at or near the top of multiple Billboard charts; scored Top 40 hits as a collaborator on tracks headlined by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (“White Walls”) and Tinashe (“2 On”); and earned five Grammy nominations, including two for Best Rap Album. Q returned the next decade with the intensely measured and emotionally complex Blue Lips (2024). ScHoolboy Q was born Quincy Hanley in 1986. He was writing rhymes by age 16, but didn’t think of rap as an area of focus until he began working with Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment around 2006. Lamar formed the Black Hippy collective with ScHoolboy along with Jay Rock and Ab-Soul, and the Top Dawg label signed the artist. After his 2008 debut mixtape, ScHoolboy Turned HustlA, his Gangster & Soul mixtape landed in 2009, and Top Dawg released his official debut, Setbacks, in 2011. In 2012, Top Dawg announced it had signed a joint venture deal with Interscope and Aftermath, which saw Lamar’s debut get a full release. Later that year, ScHoolboy Q announced he was recording his third album and would be the second member of Black Hippy to benefit from the deal. After a series of mysterious tweets in 2013, Q announced that the release would be called Oxymoron, but nearly a year passed before the dark and abstract album — which featured a whole host of guest producers and vocalists — was released in February 2014. Nevertheless, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and pushed the single “Studio” into the Top 40. During this phase, Q assisted Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on “White Walls,” a number 15 pop hit, and teamed with Tinashe on the number 24 hit “2 On.” Oxymoron and “Studio” were later Grammy-nominated respectively for Best Rap Album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. A worldwide tour took up most of 2015, and 2016 saw the “That Part” single drop as a prelude to Blank Face LP, which debuted at number two after its release in July of the latter year. The whimsical and varied album earned Q his second Best Rap Album nomination, while “Studio,” featuring BJ the Chicago Kid, was also up for a Grammy, in the category of Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. In 2017, Q appeared on the Calvin Harris collaborative track “Cash Out” with PartyNextDoor and DRAM, as well as on “Bahamas” with A$AP Mob and “Lil Story” with Gucci Mane. In 2018, Q linked up with 2 Chainz and Saudi for the track “X” from the TDE-curated Black Panther soundtrack. Another contribution to a film soon followed, landing ScHoolboy on the Creed II soundtrack with 2 Chainz and Mike WiLL Made-It on “Kill ’Em with Success.” Three years after Blank Face, Q returned his focus to his solo material on “Numb Numb Juice,” the lead single from his fifth studio album, CrasH Talk. The record was released in April 2019 and landed at number three with guest appearances from the likes of Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Baby, Kid Cudi, and 21 Savage. In July 2020, he appeared on the Gorillaz song “Pac-Man,” and also made guest appearances that year on tracks by Roc Marciano, the Alchemist, and Conway the Machine. In 2021, Q showed up on tracks by NEZ and Childish Major. Additional verses in support of Isaiah Rashad and the Alchemist preceded the March 2024 arrival of the dense and deliberate Blue Lips, welcomed with a number 13 showing on the Billboard 200. AzChike, Freddie Gibbs, and Ab-Soul were among the set’s many featured MCs, though the rapid-fire solo cut “Yeern 101” made the biggest commercial impression. ~ David Jeffries & Andy Kellman