Oxymoron - ScHoolboy Q
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 91
    It’s something special, just like it was always planned to be.
  2. Feb 24, 2014
    90
    While his darker material seems unchanged by fame, it’s really his lighter, more radio-friendly material that gets taken to the next level on Oxymoron.
  3. Feb 25, 2014
    88
    Both heavy with bass and filled with memorable hooks, Q's long-gestating major label debut is tight in length and rich with intent.
  4. Feb 25, 2014
    85
    Make no mistake, Oxymoron is rather brilliant, and provides a perfect foundation to build upon in later releases. An exciting release from an exciting artist.
  5. Feb 26, 2014
    82
    While Lamar dazzles with precise storytelling, Q conjures attention with brusque physicality. Both MCs are aiming for different marks, and although Q's style is too unkempt to produce an album full of clean shots, his misses on Oxymoron are often just as compelling.
  6. Mar 20, 2014
    80
    Oxymoron is all killer, no filler--and despite some tracks here not quite translating to radio, in the album context nothing feels out of place.
  7. Feb 27, 2014
    80
    Through varied production, Q strikes a balance between his hard persona and the party vibe found on Habits’ catchiest tracks.
  8. Feb 27, 2014
    80
    Once the songs open up, once the mind begins latching onto whatever phrases happen to stand out from track to track alongside the larger personal narrative and getting lost in the blunted haze provided by Mike Will, Sounwave, Alchemist and Nez & Rio among others, it’s hard to remain as aloof as initial impressions might feel.
  9. Feb 26, 2014
    80
    It’s not that Schoolboy Q is the best lyricist; and there’s not an immediately profound life lesson here; there are no mind-boggling internal rhymes; but Oxymoron is amazing mostly because it attempts to heal past bruises with more bruises. Schoolboy hides nothing and everything leaves a mark.
  10. 80
    For its occasional low ebbs, Oxymoron is an impressive display of bleak wit.
  11. Feb 25, 2014
    80
    ScHoolboy’s presence on Oxymoron is poised and confident.
  12. Feb 24, 2014
    80
    Rambunctious and irreverent, Oxymoron blasts bullet holes in the theory that gangsta rap can't sound fresh for 2014.
  13. Feb 24, 2014
    80
    This isn’t a blockbuster--no Drake cameo, no Dr. Dre co-sign--but that’s the beauty of it.
  14. Feb 24, 2014
    80
    A not-as-good-kid traversing the same m.A.A.d. city as Kendrick, Schoolboy complements Lamar's narrative distance with evocative, unflinching first-person dispatches from the front lines.
  15. Feb 28, 2014
    78
    Interscope’s trust in TDE saves the album from the awkward test tube collaborations that bog down many of its peers, but Oxymoron’s doubling down on a reliable formula makes for a relatively risk-averse listen.
  16. 75
    The height at which Oxymoron’s target is set is not very impressive, but the precision and showmanship with which it’s hit deserves commendation.
  17. Feb 25, 2014
    75
    Schoolboy Q elicits a lot of emotions throughout Oxymoron, but sympathy isn’t one of them.
  18. Apr 18, 2014
    70
    For those unfamiliar with Q's pre-Interscope material, his official debut provides insight, and an appetizer of what his more than respectable discography can do to not only entertain fans of 2010s rap, but inspire them. [Apr/May 2014, p.81]
  19. Mar 13, 2014
    70
    While Oxymoron is never dull, thanks to Q’s indisputable skills as a rapper and beat selector, by its conclusion you’ll wish he’d given less of its runtime over to his gangsta persona and more to exploring his own identity.
  20. Mar 4, 2014
    70
    Oxymoron is definitely not the game changer many thought it might be, but it's yet another very good addition to the combined Black Hippy legacy.
  21. Unfortunately, there are quite a few pitfalls outside of just weak hooks. The pacing of the album feels a little off, and it starts pretty early on with "Los Awesome" being a jarring change from the opener "Gangsta," though the former is much more enjoyable than the latter.
  22. Feb 27, 2014
    70
    ScHoolboy Q comes off like the dude who gives in to all the peer pressure, constantly on the verge of betraying his talents and smarts just to fit in and be one of the bros. The weirder he gets, the better.
  23. Feb 25, 2014
    70
    The production is too inconsistent to get him there, but it's certainly not due to a lack of intrinsic talent on his part. Keep your eyes on Q.
  24. Feb 25, 2014
    70
    The production is too inconsistent to get him there, but it's certainly not due to a lack of intrinsic talent on his part. Keep your eyes on Q.
  25. Feb 25, 2014
    70
    What it lacks in punch it makes up for in being a more focused effort than its occasionally mixtape-esque brother, and thus, Oxymoron isn’t so much a backpedal for Q and TDE as it is a solid side-step.
  26. Feb 25, 2014
    70
    Given TDE’s ever-increasing appeal, Oxymoron isn’t quite an elite offering, but it meets the difficult task of attracting casual fans without straying too far from the formula that attracted ScHoolboy Q’s core audience.
  27. Feb 24, 2014
    70
    The wonders never cease on this adventurous and street-tough effort, but they never sort themselves well, either, and with accessible highlights like "Blind Threats," "Break the Bank," and "Man of the Year" all bundled toward the end, this LP requires a surprising amount of patience.
  28. Feb 27, 2014
    60
    The production is usually fantastic, from the wall of elastic electronic noise conjured by Pharrell Williams on Los Awesome to the reggae-influenced bassline of single Collard Greens, but guest verses from old hands Kurupt and Raekwon show up the star turn's limitations as a rapper: you're occasionally struck by the sense of gangster rap boxes being ticked.
  29. Feb 27, 2014
    60
    Schoolboy Q is neither a great lyricist nor a technically dazzling rapper.... Happily then, the production on Oxymoron is uniformly solid.
  30. Feb 25, 2014
    60
    He has the instincts of a good storyteller, and maybe even the potential to be a standard bearer for his art form, but when he falls back on tired "pimps and hoes" narratives, he sounds firmly, frustratingly rooted in the past.
  31. Mar 7, 2014
    50
    Ultimately, nothing hangs together long enough to enable a consistent or enjoyable listening experience.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 131 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 5 out of 32
  1. Feb 26, 2014
    9
    The expectations for Q's upcoming album were high no doubts about that, Oxymoron might be the most anticipated hip hop debut release we have during 2014 and the comparisons to Lamar's stellar conceptual major label drop "good kid, m.A.A.d. city", is, mainly the main reason to why people can not enjoy this for what it is. It is not a continuation of it. And to continue on there, it's pretty much why this album is getting the floods with hate, cause that's what many mentally is setting it for, ignored as it's own piece of work by the average/hip hop listener.
    They are label mates, but the lanes between these two are like fire and water, completely different. Oxymoron must be listened as.. Oxymoron and none other.
    Oxymoron is a grower, not a one ticket go. Give it a week with you, let it sit at least.

    This is not driven with minimalistic production or flowed as focused, or having the cinematic delivery about a quiet kids journey through a rough city.
    No, this is the gangsta, the wildly "ni**a" with the burnt blunt and trigger, telling his side of view, if it's slanging or a first strap given by his grandmother. It's always kept interesting with a brilliant, slightly over-the-top vocal delivery and flows with banger productions from the elites like Pharrell and Alchemist.

    Oxymoron is less of a schizo "Habits & Contradictions" was and more of a triumph, banger or at times grimey, sonically and vocally. Though, this dark and introspect has Q never been, as on tracks as a "Hoover Street" and "Prescriptions/Oxymoron". Two absolutely fantastic tracks with Q painting his dusts vivid, a wide picture of a turned Crip member. The switch up they both got middle through in, is just amazing.

    ScHoolboy Q's major label debut is one hell of a killer, with a big fist aimed at your lips, ready to bust it bloody for no reason. But what a gangster does, ain't always a play on the grams or gangbanging, is, getting women too, to love.
    This groovey Q and long-time TDE contributant, BJ The Chicago Kid sets a perfect mood on "Studio", a vibe which much draws feelings back to a track of Snoop and the late Nate Dogg, with that being said, our generations "Ain't No Fun (If The Homies Can't Have None)".

    Yeah we got a 2 Chainz feature on here, so what, it bangs. And what not to love more, then hearing the legend, one and only Kurupt on a track, on the run of a police sire called production signed and sealed with the name of Tyler The Creator. Who also, handles the hook.

    There are many highlights on Q's Oxymoron, too many to drop. We got the beautifully produced Chromatics-sampled track "Man of tHe Year" ready to bounce an audience and ready for spins on to the radio-familia, then a Clipse inspired "Los Awesome" with a tasty, heavy, on the fense of over-production, with raw verses from Q and labelmate Jay Rock who ended it with a filthy murder.

    With 2013, the year of big album disappointments, from Jay Z to Drake to Ye, Q does the opposite, he delivers, if it's not the most lyrically, it'll be the most outlandish flow to do you a victim. The first great major release Oxymoron to enter with a big bang for the year to follow. One of the most creative, fun, hard gripping and original albums to hit the mainstream the last decade.

    It feels new, it feels rich, it feels adventurous, experimental. Q's Oxymoron has a lot of feelings around it, a more varied experience than his previous work.
    ScHoolboy Q's most polished and cohesive, in my opinion, best album yet. The crazy odd boy breaking it in with gangster rap in to the mainstream scene à la 2014.

    Six stand-out tracks out of the twelve: Gangsta, Los Awesome, Studio, Prescription/Oxymoron, Blind Threats and Break tHe Bank.

    If didn't get, I absolutely love this. Going to let it sit, but can say, that this project, can end up being a favorite of the year, and many years already passed.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 25, 2014
    10
    This album is what I was excpecting from schoolboy q. It was a very enjoyable gangster rap album with plenty of bangers. I am giving it a 10 because people had mixed opinions about the leak and I think it deserves a higher score than people have been giving it. I love all the singles and songs like blind threats and prescription/oxymoron. Very good album. Just don't expect it to be like Good Kid m.A.A.d city Full Review »
  3. Feb 25, 2014
    10
    Above average production, flow, and delivery. Oxymoron is one of the most definitive albums of our generation. It speaks well on how mainstream rap is evolving and changing it's sound. The album has both its serious moments with it's dark and erie title track, but it also keeps a sense of fulfillment and joy with tracks like Man Of The Year. Full Review »