Renata Raksha photo
Special post by Paul Meara
Fans can take an artist to levels of success unimaginable to the championed. Schoolboy Q is one of those artists.
Q is a member of Top Dawg Entertainment, a collective of five rappers and a vocalist, and in a matter of four years TDE has moved from relative irrelevance to comparisons to famed ’90s West Coast collectives Death Row and NWA.
From the jump, Saturday’s show at Newport Music Hall started with a bang. Numerous cuts off of Q’s recently released chart-topping sophomore album Oxymoron were ignited, including hype renditions of “Californication” and seminal sub-knocking banger “What They Want.”
Older Schoolboy songs followed. Tracks from Q’s debut album, Habits and Contradictions, were performed in a more sober, lower-hyped manner. “Druggys Wit Hoes Again” and “Nightmare On Figg St” led into a more introspective and reflective portion of Schoolboy’s hour-long set.
“Because of ya’ll Oxymoron is No. 1,” Schoolboy said during a song break. “Not a pop album, not no country or alternative shit. This album.”
“Blessed” appropriately followed right after — a song that represents Schoolboy Q’s journey from the trials and tribulations of South Central Los Angeles to rap stardom. It also exemplifies the realness relayed in his music and paints eerily real situations he experienced during his climb in the rap game, and before.
Interestingly, Schoolboy inserted two A$AP Mob-related tracks into his set. The first, his feature on Harlem native A$AP Rocky’s “Brand New Guy” from his debut mixtape Live.Love.A$AP and the second, his verse on last year’s hit remix of A$AP Ferg’s anthem “Work.” Both songs got the crowd ratcheted up a few notches for what would be the beginning of the end of the show.
Throughout the concert, Q asked fans what they wanted to hear and as the set rolled on, one obvious omission lingered. Fans from all over the concert hall chanted “Man of the Year” during song intermissions. To quench their thirst, the lights came on in what was a relatively dark setting from the beginning. The crowd knew what was coming. As the instrumentals for Oxymoron’s hit song “Man of the Year” began, fans exhaled with excitement, creating an appropriate closing, which represented Q’s progression from aspiring artist from South Central L.A. to rap superstar and possibly by 2014’s end, Man of the Year.
“I was broke in 2010,” he said to close out the show. “2014 is a whole different story, and it’s all because of you.”