One more time, for posterity’s sake. Schoolboy Q’s highly anticipated Oxymoron drops this Tuesday, but before he cashes in on his sardonic street slang, Q takes it back to the hustle days with his newest video for theOxymoron single “Break the Bank.”
Q’s label, TopDawgEnt, features hoodies and t-shirts with the map outline of Africa and the text “Compton” on it’s merchandise page, a strong image that is hard to shake when watching this video. From desolated, debris-strewn alleys to ink-covered, akimbo Uzi-wielding chop shop workers, Q ironically raps about being on the precipice of success while taking viewers through a tour of one of America’s toughest locales. Bucking the trend of juxtaposing shots of before and after success, Q keeps it grounded in the reality that he grew up in. There aren’t any glasses of Cristal or overflowing champagne bottles to be found in the scenery, just 40 ouncers and plastic cups of lean.
Claude Debussy Q might not be, but he takes his turn playing the 4 key piano melody of the song in the corner of a shadowy room, with his daughter dancing by his side. It’s hard to ignore the symbolism.
After the unflinching reality Q portrayed in his seminal mixtape Habits and Contradictions, it’s been nearly impossible for anyone to attack his street cred or claims to the gang life that he once lived. But on the eve of the launch of his first album, one of the most anticipated in recent hip-hop memory, there is something admirable in looking back, not forward.