MAN OF THE YEAR – Schoolboy Q

MAN OF THE YEAR – Schoolboy Q

White Rabbit – San Antonio, TX
By PunkSoda – Friday, March 21, 2014

The White Rabbit exploded. With the intensity of a bomb, the tightly packed venue on N. St. Mary’s went full-on crazy for Schoolboy Q. Man of The Year? An understatement if you asked anyone in that room Friday night. Artists have “blown the roof off” of a venue in the past, but the walls came off the White Rabbit for the rapper with the #1 record in the country.  “I didn’t expect this shit right here. This is our first stop in TX and I (didn’t expect this shit here).” I assume that’s what he said because the roar of the audience was so loud, I couldn’t clearly make out the words.

Photo by Fred Lindgren.

I left downtown in a hurry and arrived at the Rabbit moments before Isaiah Rashad took the stage. On Friday night March 21 at the Rabbit, there was a tension in the room, the kind when you’re favorite team is about to win the big game. Rashad came out to a crowd holding up their phones with that stadium cheer. The debut album by Isaiah Rashad seemed to be a big San Antonio favorite. The audience knew every word on tracks performed off Cilvia: Demo and sang or rather, rapped along.  Isaiah Rashad performed at a number of events during SXSW including the Fader Fort with Schoolboy Q and fellow label mate SZA. Top Dawg Entertainment is home to Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, SZA and Isaiah Rashad. They are a record label that’s managed to bring not only hyped, but critically acclaimed acts to the national spotlight. Oxymoron is Schoolboy Q’s latest album and it peaked #1 on the Hot Billboard 200 upon its debut (currently 15), the first album from a Top Dawg Entertainment artist to debut at #1. This concert came just weeks after regional TX promoter ScoreMore brought Bun-B to town and made headlines with their SXSW events.


Photo by Fred Lindgren.

‘Fuck LA’ is the last track on Oxymoron but was the first track off Q’s set list at the White Rabbit. Again, the intensely enthusiastic crowd knew every word. When Q got to “Hands on the Wheel” off Habits & Contradictions, he laughed as he said he didn’t even need to rap A$AP Rocky’s part because the crowd could do it, but he added the color anyways. The show wasn’t full of stage effects or crazy lighting, no video or laser dragons coming out of the PA. It was just Schoolboy Q and his charisma. He’s got a stage presence that’s infectious, he could have told stories of back in the day and everyone would be hanging off every word.

Photo by Fred Lindgren.

When the beat for ‘Collard Greens’ hit, the place erupted. The BPM seemed a little faster, but that didn’t stop the crowd from mimicking every sound effect, singing every echo and delayed vocal. “GIMMIE GIMMIE GIMMIE some” or “Blast! Blast!” My favorite hearing the crowd do that part Kendrick does where he goes “boom Boom BOOM BOOM”; I’ve never seen that before. I think of sing-alongs as a subdued, relaxed affair with an acoustic guitar, maybe some lighters in the air, but no. This was loud, booming bass and tongue-twisting rhymes all done with everyone projecting their voice, it was intense. Immediately after ‘Collard Greens’ was the first track off the album: ‘Gangsta’. To hear that sample immediately after the hyped ‘Collard Greens’ was brilliant: “GANGSTA, GANGSTA, GANGSTA!”

Photo by Fred Lindgren.

The last few songs of the night included ‘Break The Bank’, which is made in a classic gangster rap fashion that has a heavy, dark beat that grooves and comes with an intimidating hook.  I thought it was interesting that after he would rhyme his parts of some songs and the chorus, the beat would just hard cut to silence. But the crowd would go crazy, it didn’t matter. Seeing San Antonio this enthusiastic for an up and coming artist was impressive. ScoreMore’s got their finger on the pulse and brought another act San Antonio loved. The city showed up and got turnt. The night ended with the single “Man of The Year”.  I couldn’t get it out of my head for hours. I had seen video online but seeing Q perform the song live in my hometown convinced me that Schoolboy Q is “Ma – Ma – Man of the Year”.


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March 23rd, 2014