Artist You Should Know: Schoolboy Q
More often then not, people fall into a trade or profession non-intentionally. We don’t usually realize what we are good at until it’s sitting right in our lap. Such is the case with Quincy Matthew Hanley, better known by his stage name Schoolboy Q. As a young man growing up in Los Angeles, Q’s upbringing would not have suggested a path to fame and fortune, at least not as a hip/hop star. From a young age Schoolboy Q found his passion on the football field. Starring a wide-receiver and cornerback, he played his way up to the collegiate level at West Los Angeles College. Despite his ‘Schoolboy’ moniker, he wasn’t much for his studies. While maintaining a 3.3 GPA in high school, it was his other passion that took up most of his personal life. At the age of only 12, Q joined the 52 Hoover Gangster Crips. In an interview he confessed that it was less conflict related than it was simply him joining the crowd: "I was gang-banging at 12. I was a Hoover Crip. My homies were doing it and I wanted to do it. I can't really explain that. I didn't get into it with another hood or anything like that. I was just following the leader." He 2007 he was arrested for an undisclosed felony, consequently spending a short stay in jail. Upon getting out, Q would find a new passion that would lead him to the life of fame that he enjoys today.
Schoolboy Q wrote his first rap verse at the age of 16, but didn’t fully get into music until the age of 21, after his stint in jail. While he had previously found outlets in football and the street life, Q would later say that music was simply a way to express himself: “By 21, I started to really get into it and gained a passion for it. You got to let your aggression out, so you got to get in the booth and let it out. I was really working on my craft, studying music, and I became Q. I did all of it, school and the streets. I was just lost; I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was just trying to do something. Then I found music and it was just over after that. I made my first little bit of money doing music, after that I wanted to get used to doing it, and I kept rapping. Then it became something that I had to do."
Fast forward to 2016, and Schoolboy Q finds himself surfacing to the top of the rap game. He flirts in production with widely popular A$AP Mob. He’s a member of Top Dawg Entertainment, arguably the most prominent rap group in their prime, headed by rap superstar Kendrick Lamar and mentored by non other than Dr Dre. His last record Oxymoron, his first major label release, debuted at #1 and was certified platinum. His most recent release Blank Face is well on its way to do the same. Schoolboy Q has climbed his way to the top the old fashioned way, hard work and pure talent. In this month’s Artist You Should Know, we look at his artistic vision the music videos THAt Part, Studio, and By All Means.
THat Part: When Schoolboy Q heard the opening lines of the sample Kanye sent him for THat Part, he thought it was a joke. What it turned out to be was completing one of the more fiery songs on his Blank Face LP. So much so, they made it one of the lead singles for the album as well as turn out this music video. When you recruit the talents of heavy hitters like Kanye, artistically the results are often epic. This video may fall short of 'epic', but in nonetheless worth the watch. Follow Q and 'Ye as they tour you throughout a eerily lit house as they preach about the trap life.
Studio: Studio was the #1 song off the Oxymoron album and was certified platinum. However, it was close to not making the record at all. Schoolboy Q originally didnt want to include the song, despite having wrote it himself. While he didn't feel it fit the album, pressure from the record company pushed it through as a lead single. Fortunately for both parties, Schoolboy Q was wrong. The video depicts Q working late in the 'studio', while his girl waits for him at home. This hard work has aided in making his last two LP's so successful.
By All Means: The video for By All Means finds Q back on the same streets where he took part in gangs as a young teen, palling around with some friends all adorned in Top Dawg gear. While Schoolboy Q has climbed the latter and achieved the social status of celebrity, he clearly hasn't forgot his roots. He lets you have a little glimpse of how it was like growing up in the streets of L.A., where individuals aren't handed the easy route to fame and fortune. Repeatedly chimed in the chorus are the lines 'Get yours, get yours, get yours, by any means.' This motto is one of the backing forces in the unrelenting rise of Schoolboy Q.