Ah, gangsta rap. Schoolboy Q wears the genre proudly, which is great because it allows songs like “Hoover Street” to exist. He paints an autobiographical narrative of growing up on Hoover St. and eventually becoming a Crip. Put simply? Shit is real as fuck. Crack addiction. Robbery. Guns. Baby Lucas.


More seriously, though, I think people sometimes forget about the narrative capability of hip hop. The current status of rap as “the world’s party music” generally means that the most popular songs are the ones that are relatively mindless. They might not be bad songs (Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” for example), but there’s nothing interesting or clever about their construction. I believe they’re called “bangers.” Q’s got a few on Oxymoron. They’re effective.

So is “Hoover Street.” Not because it’s something brand new, but because it’s a part of the same tradition of storytelling that made hip hop so popular in the first place. Also, great production. The song’s beat is as gritty as its themes.

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Schoolboy Q