★★★ (out of 5 stars)
Two years ago, Schoolboy Q released a mixtape steeped in bong water and populated with paranoid ambience in one of the darkest rap albums released recently. This year, it’s all about big record labels, big collaborations and big production value via Oxymoron, Quincy Hanley’s major-label debut. With the likes of fellow Black Hippy crew members Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar, gut-buster Tyler, the Creator, and even some Pharrell beats sprinkled in for good measure, this is an album that spreads itself thin among gangsta rap, stoner hip-hop and even a little club pop-rap. Lackluster lyrics lead to “Gangsta, gangsta, gangsta,” as an album-opening hook and then a slew of booze, bongs and bitches for thematic elements. Still, Schoolboy Q’s atmosphere remains largely rooted in grungy ’90s hip-hop and boom bap. If the likes of “Los Awesome,” “Hoover Street” and “Break the Bank” are any indication, this is still an album worth its weight in gold teeth.