ScHoolboy Q is in no way trying to be another Kendrick Lamar, but the comparisons are justifiable. Both hail from LA, and the Black Hippy/TDE imprints but their approach to music is where they differentiate. Where Kendrick’s GKMC is powered by definitive story telling and structure, ScHoolboy’s strong point lies in his persona with lyrical ability coming in second. His ear for production is a bonus and quickly becomes one of the focal points of his debut, but Oxymoron helps Groovy Q carve his own niche in the rap game even if it’s the last of his worries.

 “Fuck rap..my daddy a gangsta” his 5 year old daughter Joy declares on the bouncy opener “Gangsta,” and it helps set the tone for the album’s entirety. Q wastes little time proving he’s capable of radio appeal with the 2 Chainz assisted “What They Want,” and offers a glimpse of his storytelling prowess on “Hoover Street” where he raps on the last half “My uncle’s nuts he used to give me whiskey to piss in cups/knocking on the door telling me to hurry up he in a rush.” But if anything will show you this guy’s future in the rap game is promising, look no further than “Prescription/Oxymoron.” The haunting production caters to Q’s eerie lyricism (“My phone rang, rang and rang and rang/ If you ain’t sellin’ drugs, then I don’t hear a thing”) as he lets us in on his addiction to prescription pills, while his daughter remains innocently concerned. It’s the kind of record Eminem would’ve flourished on circa ’99-2001.

“The Purge” is a unique stand out, with Tyler, The Creator on chorus duty and on boards for some menacing production, while West Coast legend Kurupt is refreshing to hear after all these years. “Blind Threats” is simply a production gem. Handled by newcomer Lord Quest, Raekwon and Q make a flawless pairing. And somehow, the guy even manages to sound grittier and hungrier than he usually does, on the Alchemist produced “Break the Bank.”

With the flow of the album, it’s hard to understand why ScHoolboy didn’t include his collaboration with 50 Cent. Not that it would’ve turned the project into a classic or anything, but he recently did an interview where he stated the song with 50 didn’t FIT the album when in fact, as good as the songs are, the project suffers from a lack of direction. Almost as if it’s on shuffle permanently. But then again, this is what his daughter could’ve meant in the very beginning. “Fuck rap.” As in “fuck the traditional and what we’re used to, cause her “daddy’s a gangsta.” Also, the songs with his TDE crew unfortunately serve as the weakest offerings on the album. The Pharrell-produced “Los Awesome” featuring Jay Rock for instance, shouldn’t surprise you if it was later revealed the beat came from a Clipse or Ab-Liva recording session from 2002. All in all, Oxymoron is sure to bring more accolades to the TDE imprint and rightfully so. With five more albums set for release later this year, the crew has little time to reflect. But if one thing’s for sure, a much more raw form of gangsta rap has been revived. Take notes from the ScHoolboy.