Class was definitely in session last night at the Observatory when West Coast gangster rap's crowned prince ScHoolboy Q took the stage for a packed crowd in Santa Ana. The LA rapper, whose album Oxymoron debuted at #1 on Billboard 200 album charts last March, strutted out from the back of a smoky stage just before 11 p.m. Appropriately, he started his set with the gun-clapping track "Gangsta," jumping up and down across the stage in his Toronto Maple Leafs Jersey with 'Kessel' monogramed across the back.
Blunts were consumed as the audience belted "crush a bit, little bit, roll it up, take a hit". Q held the mic in his right hand, leaning forward towards the audience and asked, "How many of you got Oxymoron in here?" Taken back by the response he noted, "I never thought I would be rapping. I never thought I would make an album and people would love it. I never thought my ugly, finger nail ass, would be up here." The crowd went wild and he shouted, "let's get to some Oxymoron!"
Q spent the first three years of his rap career creating mix-tapes as an underground artist before launching his professional career in 2011. Today, with over 1 million followers on Twitter and over 1,000 fans that stood by my side tonight, he gains viral recognition for his contributing to this decade of rap music.
He performed a few tracks, pausing in between to address guys fighting in the mosh pit while simultaneously telling the ladies, "this isn't a Trey Songz concert!" He arrives at "Collard Greens" thrusting his hips towards the audience, humping the sky. The crowd chanted and he stood there motionless, absorbing the energy with a slight smirk upon his face. A girl throws her EOS chapstick at him, he picks it up somewhat puzzled and bounces it back into the audience telling everyone to hold three fingers in the sky.
Next, he transitioned to "Blessed," a song that nods to a socially conscious message of trials and tribulations that the 28-year old artist has encountered since being born to military parents in Germany and then growing up on the streets of South Central, Los Angeles. "Everyone in here is blessed tonight," he said. "I want you guys to know that. I was standing right there (he points to the front/center audience) when I saw Lupe Fiasco. I was sleeping on a friends couch and I wasn't even rapping. Then I began recording every-night and I was able to take care of my daughter."
He repeated the chorus one last time before moving on to cover A$ap Ferg, Kendrick Lamar and ASAP Rocky. He finishes his hour and a half set with "Studio" and "Hell Of A Night" and the crowd echoes 'Q – Q – Q'. The strobe lights invert, he says "I love you" and exits.
The crowd begged for more and Q gave in, returning to the stage to perform "Prescription/Oxymoron." After that it seems as if he was ushered off the stage by The Observatory staff because the show abruptly ended as the confused, yet awestruck, fans dispersed into the parking lot quickly running to take cover from the rain.
Hands On The Wheel
What They Want
Man Of The Year
Work (A$ap Ferg Cover)
m.A.A.d. City (Kendrick Lamar Cover)
Brand New Guy (ASAP Rocky Cover)
Break The Bank
There He Go
Hell Of A Night