Schoolboy Q

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Schoolboy Q
Schoolboy Q in August 2012.
Background information
Birth name Quincy Matthew Hanley[1]
Also known as ScHoolboy Q
Born (1986-10-26) October 26, 1986 (age 28)
Wiesbaden, Germany[2][3]
Origin South Figueroa Corridor, South Central Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper
Years active 2008–present
Labels Top Dawg Entertainment, Interscope Records (current)
G.E.D. Inc. (former)
Associated acts Black Hippy, ASAP Rocky, Danny Brown, BJ The Chicago Kid, Jhené Aiko, Mac Miller

Quincy Matthew Hanley (born October 26, 1986),[4] better known by his stage name Schoolboy Q (often stylized ScHoolboy Q), is an American hip hop recording artist from South Central Los Angeles, California. In 2009, Hanley signed to Carson-based independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) and in late 2011, secured a recording contract with major label Interscope Records. Hanley is also a member of West Coast hip hop group Black Hippy, alongside his label-mates and fellow California-based rappers Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar.

In 2008, Hanley released his first full-length project, a mixtape titled ScHoolboy Turned Hustla. He then released a second mixtape in 2009, titled Gangsta & Soul. He then followed up with his first independent album, entitled Setbacks, released in January 2011. The project, released under TDE to digital retailers only, reached number 100 on the US Billboard 200 chart. A little over a year later, his second independent album Habits & Contradictions, was also released exclusively to digital retailers. The album received generally favorable reviews and debuted at number 111 on the US Billboard 200.

After signing with Interscope, Hanley subsequently began recording his major-label debut studio album, entitled Oxymoron. The album was released on February 25, 2014 and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200. The album was supported by the singles "Yay Yay", "Collard Greens", "Man of the Year", "Break the Bank" "Studio" and "Hell of a Night", with "Collard Greens", "Man of the Year" and "Studio" all charting on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Early life[edit]

Quincy Hanley was born October 26, 1986, on a military base in Wiesbaden, Germany.[2] While his parents were still there, they split up and went their separate ways. Therefore his mother chose a surname for him at random, which is why no one else in his family shares his last name.[3] His father remained in the Army, however his mother did not, and moved with Hanley to Texas for a couple years, before settling in California.[3] He grew up in Los Angeles, California, on 51st Street, neighboring Figueroa and Hoover Street. He claims to have been playing American football from the age of six years old, up until he was 21. Hanley played receiver, cornerback, and tailback, and in college he played receiver and returner.

After graduating Crenshaw High School, Hanley went on to attend Glendale Community College, Los Angeles City College, Southwest College and West Los Angeles College, the latter of which is where he played football for the West Los Angeles Oilers: "I went to West L.A. college, I went to Southwest college, LACC, and Glendale. I didn't really get the school like that. I would go to practice and go home. I wasn't really paying attention in class. I was just in there making sure I did enough work so I could still be eligible. I wasn't really trying to pass the class. I was just trying to be eligible to play football." As to how he came up with his stage name: "When I was in school, all the homies called me Schoolboy. I wore glasses and I had a 3.3 in high school, before fucking up my senior year gang-banging. My name's Quincy, so I just stick to Schoolboy Q."[5]

Growing up on Hoover Street, Hanley joined a street gang called the 52 Hoover Gangster Crips: "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." Before turning to music, Hanley became a drug dealer selling Oxycontin, and for a short time crack and marijuana: "I was selling Oxycontin. I sold crack a little bit, but I didn't make a whole lot of money selling crack or weed or any of that. I made a lot of money selling Oxycontin. I used to go out of town and get it. You just sit back, your homie tell you about this person, and that person spread the word. And then they come to you. You don't need to get that hype. So I was selling all types of shit. Got beat up, beat shit up."[6] In 2007, he was arrested for a crime he won't disclose and says he was sent to jail for six months, half of which he finished on house arrest: "When I was 21 I got arrested and went to jail. I got a felony charge and they gave me a strike too. I don't be putting out what my charge was but it wasn't a sexual thing."[3][6]

Musical career[edit]

2006–09: Beginnings[edit]

Schoolboy Q has said he wrote his first verse when he was 16, but wasn't serious about music until he was 21. Music became his way of expressing himself: "I wrote my first verse when I was 16. I wasn’t really rapping, but you know everybody wrote a verse before. I wrote the verse but I wasn't really fucking with it. 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."[7]

In 2006, he began to work with Top Dawg Entertainment, a Carson-based independent record label, recording at their studio House of Pain and collaborating with their artists. His first time at the studio he worked with his soon to be Black Hippy cohorts Jay Rock and Ab-Soul: "I walked in and the beat was playing. Ali told them that I rap. Punch told me to jump on the beat. It was a record that Jay Rock and Ab-Soul were writing to, so then I wrote it. Punch liked it and he told me to come back through. I kept coming back, kept getting better, and eventually they signed me to [Top Dawg Entertainment]." On July 29, 2008, Hanley released his first mixtape titled Schoolboy Turned Hustla, with G.E.D. Inc., the same imprint that helped launch the career of fellow West Coast rapper Tyga, with whom Schoolboy Q worked with early in their respective careers. After the release of Schoolboy Turned Hustla, he signed a deal with Top Dawg Entertainment in 2009, where he later formed Black Hippy, with fellow label-mates and frequent collaborators, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul.[8][9]

In 2009, Hanley was involved in a short-lived "beef" with fellow West Coast rapper 40 Glocc. ScHoolboy Q released a diss track titled "Ezell (40 Glocc Killa)", where he questions 40 Glocc's gang-banging. Hanley later stated in a video interview as to why they were "beefing": "He made some false statements about my boy, Tyga, that's my little brother. He did a lot of fake stuff with Wayne, a lot of lies, rumors and childish shit that I really didn't like, and I really felt disrespected by this clown saying all this shit so I just had to like air it out". He went on to say "It's over with, I did what I did, I said what I said and I won't diss him no more, because it's obvious he ain't on my why categorize myself with a loser?".[10] Hanley released Gangsta & Soul, his second mixtape on May 14, 2009, which included the aforementioned diss track. The mixtape was his first official project with Top Dawg, which presented the mixtape alongside G.E.D. Inc.

2010–2011: Setbacks[edit]

Main article: Setbacks (album)

Although Hanley did not release a project, 2010 had him touring and in the studio working with the rest of Black Hippy and on his then-upcoming project Setbacks. On January 11, 2011, TDE released Setbacks, his first independent album, exclusively through iTunes, to critical acclaim.[11] The album reached number 100 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling close to 1,000 digital copies in its first abbreviated week.[12][13] Two weeks after the album's release, Hanley took to Twitter and gave the album away for free.[14] By the time Schoolboy Q's first album Setbacks was released in early 2011, he'd quit gangbanging altogether.[15]

Setbacks propelled Hanley into the spotlight and allowed him to earn a large internet following: "The concept behind Setbacks was [to talk about] all the shit that's the reason why I can't rap. The reason I can't accomplish what I want to accomplish is because I'm doing all this dumb shit. I put it all together on the album. Like, "Druggys Wit Hoes", I'm out here drugging and I'm not even trying to fuck with hoes. "Kamikaze", I'm not even trying to rap—keep going broke. Different shit like that, I sum it up all in one album. My life did a whole 180 after that dropped. A lot of people still didn’t know the name though, but a lot of people did. It was weird. It just took me to the right spot. I made some fucking money off the project, it helped me see that I needed to do more positive shit in life, and it made me into the person I am now. All I do now is just chill. I'd rather just chill, work on my music, be with my two-year-old daughter, and smoke weed and shit."[16]

Hanley headlined his first show on March 11, 2011, at the Key Club in West Hollywood, California.[17] In March 2011, Hanley was arrested at the 2011 South by Southwest music festival and explained that he was ultimately jailed because of marijuana possession: "I got sent to jail for some weed. That was all bad. And I was the one that broke up the fight", said Schoolboy Q. "And then my manager Dave he thought he was Tupac Shakur, 'Don't touch my artist! Don't touch my artist! Don't touch my artist!' I'm cool. I'm his artist. I'm like whatever. I'm straight then he kept going crazy. My ass went to the pen... Yeah, I got away and then everybody walked out like Tupac in MGM. Police was like 'Aww, there they go'. Of course I'm the only one with all the weed."[18]

2011–2012: Habits & Contradictions[edit]

On September 22, 2011, via his Twitter feed, Hanley announced the title of his second independent album to be Habits & Contradictions. He described the album as a "prequel to Setbacks".[19] On September 26, he released the first offering off of Habits & Contradictions, a song titled "Druggys Wit Hoes Again" featuring Ab-Soul. On October 19, 2011, he leaked "There He Go", followed by "Oxy Music" on October 28. On October 31, he was featured on ASAP Rocky's critically acclaimed mixtape Live. Love. ASAP, on a song titled "Brand New Guy", which was well received by the public. To keep promoting Habits & Contradictions he released "My Hatin' Joint" on November 15, 2011. On November 29, 2011, a music video for "To tha Beat (F'd Up)", a song taken from Setbacks, was leaked,[20][21] later that same day Hanley officially released a music video for a new track titled "Sacrilegious" for Habits & Contradictions.[22] On January 2, 2012, Hanley released "Blessed", his latest collaboration with fellow Black Hippy, Kendrick Lamar and announced the album's release date to be January 14, 2012.[23]

Schoolboy Q (front) with fellow Black Hippy member Ab-Soul in April 2012.

On January 6, 2012, via Twitter, Hanley announced guest appearances on the album would include ASAP Rocky, Currensy and Dom Kennedy.[24][25][26] On January 6, Hanley also released a public service announcement for Habits & Contradictions, shot and edited by Dwayne LaFleur.[27] Hanley sat down with freeOnSmash, for an interview and spoke on some of the tracks from his Habits & Contradictions, the interview was released on January 9, 2012. OnSmash claims "The 17 track project, due out January 14, is a look into Q’s life, with tales of pill selling, life struggle, partying, religious hypocrites, his block and everything in between."[28] The album was released exclusively through iTunes, with only a few hard copies being sold and signed by ScHoolboy Q in L.A. In early hours of release, the album moved up to iTunes Top 10 Albums chart and stayed over within days after release. The album debuted at #111 on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 3,900 digital copies in the United States.[29] With only two days at retail the Top Dawg Entertainment release scanned nearly 4,000 units to crack the Top 100, without any marketing or advertising.[29] The album also debuted on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums at number twenty-five, Top Rap Albums at number sixteen, Top Independent Albums at number seventeen and at number three on the Top Heatseekers album chart respectively. Music videos for "Hands on the Wheel" with ASAP Rocky, "NigHtmare on Figg St.", and "Druggys wit Hoes Again" with Ab-Soul, followed the album's release.

In March 2012, MTV announced that Top Dawg Entertainment closed a joint venture deal with Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment, marking the end of Hanley's career as an independent artist. Under the new deal, Black Hippy cohort, Kendrick Lamar's debut studio album, good kid, m.A.A.d city will be jointly released via Top Dawg/Interscope/Aftermath, while releases from the rest of Black Hippy will be distributed via Top Dawg/Interscope.[30] On March 24, Schoolboy Q announced #TheGroovyTour; a month-long tour with Ab-Soul accompanying him the entire way. The tour began on April 20 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California.[31] On April 3, 2012, Interscope Records released "Hands on the Wheel" as a promotional single via iTunes and began promoting the song at Urban and Rhythmic radio formats in North America.[32]

2012–present: Oxymoron[edit]

Main article: Oxymoron (album)

In June 2012, Hanley revealed he had begun working on his major label debut, and announced he will be the second member of Black Hippy to release his commercial debut with Interscope, following Kendrick Lamar.[33] From September to November, Hanley appeared alongside Danny Brown and ASAP Mob as supporting acts for ASAP Rocky's 40-date national Long. Live. ASAP Tour. Also Hanley toured with rappers Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and Kendrick Lamar on the Under The Influence Tour.[34] In a November 2012 interview, Hanley expressed "Kendrick [Lamar] left me no choice but to drop a classic", referring to Lamar's debut good kid, m.A.A.d city and its impact on his own respective major label debut.[35]

Schoolboy Q in July 2012.

On December 12, after multiple hints and hashtags with the word "oxymoron", via his Twitter Hanley tweeted: "OXYMORON '13", confirming his major label debut's title.[36] Oxymoron was included on many "Most Anticipated Albums of 2013" lists, including fourth by the NY Press',[37] sixteenth by Complex Magazine[38] and the seventeenth by XXL Magazine. Schoolboy Q has announced collaborations on the album to include Black Hippy, ASAP Rocky, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Pharrell and The Alchemist.[39][40] In March 2013 Schoolboy Q stated the album was four songs away from being completed.[41] On March 26, 2013 it was announced that Q would be a part of XXL Magazine's 2013 Freshman Class, along with Black Hippy cohort Ab-Soul.[42] In June 2013, Schoolboy Q was featured in a commercial for MySpace as part of their relaunch, alongside fellow American rappers Mac Miller, Pharrell and Chance the Rapper, among others.[43]

In June 2013, Schoolboy Q performed at the 2013 BET Experience Music festival, with Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Miguel, immediately preceding the BET Awards show.[44] On June 11, 2013 Schoolboy Q released "Collard Greens", the lead single from his debut album Oxymoron. In July 2013, for their 53rd issue, Mass Appeal called on photographer/director 13thWitness, to shoot Schoolboy Q, alongside friend and fellow American rapper Mac Miller, for their cover story. In the story, the two speak on how they met, their comedic relationship and their respective futures.[45] On August 7, 2013, Hanley appeared on BET's 106 & Park, to premiere the music video for "Collard Greens.[46][47] On August 27, 2013 Hanley appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, alongside Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, to perform "White Walls", the sixth single from the duo's platinum-selling debut album The Heist, which was released in October 2012.[48]

In October 2013, at the BET Hip Hop Awards, Schoolboy Q performed "Collard Greens", his debut album's lead single.[49] Schoolboy Q also appeared alongside his Top Dawg label-mates Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Isaiah Rashad, in a cypher presented by BET.[50] On November 5, 2013, it was revealed Schoolboy Q would appear on the soundtrack to the 2013 video game NBA Live 14.[51] A snippet of the song, which is titled "Man of the Year", first surfaced with the release of the music video for Kendrick Lamar's single "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe".[52] On November 23, 2013 the song was released as a single via the iTunes Store.[53] With the release of the 2014 Grammy Nominations, Q was nominated for Album of the Year for his participation on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' album, The Heist.[54]

On January 24, 2014, Schoolboy Q made his network television debut, performing "Man of the Year" on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[55] In January 2014, Schoolboy Q announced a three-month tour in support of his major-label debut, set to begin March 1, in Providence, Rhode Island. The tour run came to a close on June 1, in Manchester, England. Schoolboy Q's Top Dawg label-mate Isaiah Rashad and fellow American rapper Vince Staples, made appearances to support Q in domestic dates. Rashad, also supported Q on European tour dates.[56][57][58][59]

Upon its release, Oxymoron debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 139,000 copies in the United States.[60] In its second week the album dropped to number eight on that chart, selling 30,000 more copies according to Nielsen Soundscan.[61] In its third week the album sold 16,000 more copies.[62] In its fourth week the album sold 12,000 more copies bringing its total album sales to 198,000.[63] As of April 27, 2014, the album has sold 236,000 copies in the United States.[64]

In April 2014, before his two sold-out shows in Las Vegas, Schoolboy Q was the musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. During his time on stage, Schoolboy Q was joined by BJ the Chicago Kid, for a special rendition of Oxymoron '​s fourth single "Studio," and later returned to perform the album cut "What They Want."[65][66] Also in April, Schoolboy Q made his solo magazine cover debut with the April/May issue of the long-standing hip-hop magazine The Source, which hit newsstands on April 10, 2014.[67][68]

Musical style[edit]


ScHoolboy Q cites American East Coast rappers Nas, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep, Beanie Sigel, 50 Cent, and Wu Tang Clan along with West Coast rappers Kurupt and 2Pac, as artists who influenced him: "But Biggie, Nas and 50 Cent [are my biggest influences]".[69] He claims Queens rapper Nas, is his all-time favorite rapper.[70] In several interviews, Schoolboy Q has stated 50 Cent is the biggest reason he started to take rapping and his music career seriously, even going as far as saying 50 Cent probably saved his life:

"We got the same shit going on. Everything he talk about is the same shit I did. I relate to [him]... I can listen to 50 Cent and tell he really mean what he's saying. He's one of them niggas that got away with confidence. Fifty ain't got the best bars, he ain't got Jay-Z bars but his confidence on a record... you can't deny it. I seen where he was doing an interview about Ja Rule during the beef shit, he was saying that 'any nigga that just getting out of jail that don't know what to do with himself should get into the rap game.' Recently when I just got out of jail I didn't know what to do I wasn't going to try and finish playing football. That's when I was fucking around with rapping, I wasn't really rapping but when I heard that I was like fuck it... I really went hard at it. Fifty probably saved my life on some real shit."[71]

He has also stated the person he looks up to the most is hip hop mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs, from whom he adopted the nickname "Puffy".[72] He said that he's always admired Diddy's prowess as a businessman and longevity in the hip hop industry: "I like to carry myself like Puff Daddy, and Puff Daddy is one of my idols. That nigga did all he did and he's still getting it and he still looks like he's 32. You know what I'm saying? This nigga's still getting it. You haven't heard too many big artists since [him] just break out and just kill it like that on his label. Not to take away from nobody, but you never seen nobody like really, really come kill it from his label and he's still [in] top form."[33]

Rapping technique[edit]

In an interview with Complex magazine, he stated he got his "rhyme-style" from Brooklyn rapper Jay-Z: "I got [my rhyme style] from Jay-Z though. If you really listen to Jay-Z, he has a new sound every time he raps. It's never the same. He might use a little swag, but it's always like a different flow. So that's all I try to do."[69] He says he chooses to not always do the traditional style of rapping, having no restrictions when he raps: "But at the same time, it's just a feeling I can't really explain. You got to be wiser to stay on the track, but there's no rules. When you start rapping with rules, it’s when you start sounding boring. You may hear me fuck with my voice, you may hear me do a two-bar pause, you may hear me do an odd 33 bars instead of 30. Give you 14 bars instead of 16."[69] Schoolboy Q has said: "what I get from 50 [Cent] is a lot of aggression", in a 2012 interview, adding "he basically birthed my whole style".[2] ScHoolboy Q has been called very versatile with his rapping, as proven on his albums Setbacks and Habits & Contradictions. LA Weekly noted on Setbacks: "His style had begun to take shape, with his penchant for stretching vowels like Silly Putty or slurring a word and then snapping back into double time."[15]

Personal life[edit]

Schoolboy Q has a daughter, born in 2010, named Joy Hanley, whom he has mentioned in several of his songs. She has also appeared in several of his music videos, notably "Phenomenon", "Nightmare on Figg St.", "There He Go" and "Break the Bank".[16] Schoolboy Q's daughter was also involved in his major-label debut album Oxymoron, where she appeared on the album cover and had various speaking parts throughout the album.[73]

Schoolboy Q revealed why he capitalizes the letter H, in all his words when he tweeted: "wHy my H always capitalized???? HIIIPOWER X HIPPY X HOOVER X HEAVEN & HELL AKA MY LIFE."[74]


Awards and nominations[edit]

BET Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2014[75] Himself Best New Artist Nominated

BET Hip Hop Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 "Studio" Best Collabo, Duo or Group Nominated
Oxymoron Album of the Year
Himself Rookie of the Year

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 The Heist (as featured artist) Album of the Year Nominated
2015 "Studio" (with BJ the Chicago Kid) Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Nominated
Oxymoron Best Rap Album Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 "Man of the Year" Artist to Watch Nominated


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