Schoolboy Q Talks "Real Dark" Rap and Why Music Awards Mean Nothing

Schoolboy Q, rocking the bucket hat like a boss.
Schoolboy Q, rocking the bucket hat like a boss.
Photo by Renata Raksha

The bucket hat. It's been worn with such pomp by many of history's greatest and most influential men. There was Bob Denver on Gilligan's Island and Bill Murray in Caddyshack. But there is one actor who rapper Schoolboy Q insists wore it the best.

"Homeboy from I Know What You Did Last Summer," he says. "Just because he was killin' niggas, and it never came off."

And this man knows his hats. His headgear has become as synonymous with his image as a can (AKA bowler hat) was to Nate Dogg. Now, a year removed from his latest album, Oxymoron, which was nominated for a slew of Grammys, Q spoke with New Times about award shows, album covers, and his Black Hippy crew as he preps to perform at the first-ever Rolling Loud Music Festival in Miami.

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New Times: The cover art for your last three projects was in black and white. Why?

Schoolboy Q: That's the sound it got. It sounds real dark. All of my music pretty much sounds like that, like black and white. It sounds evil. It sounds bright. It's a mixture.

What's been the darkest point in your life?

Probably trying to become a rapper. Shit, that was probably the darkest point in my life. There's so many steps you got to go through to become a rapper. It ain't just go in the studio and rap. It's all about the shit you go through.

One may assume it's the things that led them to rap, since you are now using music to escape.

I mean, rap is an escape, but a lot of rappers just be saying that shit, "Rap is an escape. I get the frustration out in the booth." It's just a lot more to it than becoming a rapper. You go through so much to drop a project, drop a record. So much you go through with family, with industry, with fans. Just so much emotionally. It can break certain artists down. That's why a lot of artists do break down, because of the industry. But I'm a different person.

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Tell about a time you started to lose faith.

Shit, like, at the beginning of my career. You record so much music, you do so much stuff to get to a certain point, and nobody is believing you that you're taking this thing seriously. You just lose it. You almost want to give up, but the passion and the love for it wouldn't let me do it. So I kept going, and it never got to me.

But yeah, your family looks at you weird, your girl looks at you weird, your friends look at you weird because you're in the studio 18 hours a day. And to some people, that's just losing shit when you're not making money.

And then dropping projects and you're not bigger than Jay Z, because you think when you drop a project, you're going to blow up instantly. It doesn't work like that. I dropped five projects just to get to this point I'm at right now. So I always thought I was going to be Jay Z level after every project, but it just doesn't work like that.

What brought you back to reality and lifted you up?

Just letting our shit go. You think the road to success is on the other side of the door, but actually you got to go downstairs, you got to go through the other door, you got to get to the other door, through the other — you get what I'm saying?

You just got to stay in there and get in there and see the glory. Keep trying to work and get to that success point you're comfortable with, and even then when you get to that point that you're comfortable with, you're still not comfortable, because you want more. Like, I'm not comfortable with where I'm at. I still want more. I want a lot more.

How do you feel about the Grammys?

I really don't care too much about awards. I've never been to an awards show except one time, and that was 2013. And this year, I was nominated for every fucking award that was out, and I didn't show up to nothing. It's just not my thing. I don't like being around people. I don't like being around a bunch of rappers. I just don't like artists. They're just weird.

And you're not big in the club scene. But if you were to win Best Rap Album of the Year, what would the celebration be like?

I wouldn't celebrate. There's so many people that won that award that didn't deserve it. So many people that didn't get nominated for that award. I'm just ready for the next move. The album was last year. I would appreciate winning, of course. I would love to win. I mean, I'm not sweating it. I'm ready for the next one.

How long would it take you to purchase season tickets if the Rams moved back to Los Angeles?

Yeah right. Fuck the Rams. I don't like the Rams. I don't give a fuck what team comes to L.A. I ain't going to that game. If the Niners playing, then I'll be there. But other than that, I hope they don't even bring a team to L.A. It's going to make traffic worse. I live in the Valley; there's already traffic out here. They bring a team to L.A.? It's going to be worse.

Is a Black Hippy album coming soon?

Realistically, when do we have time to drop a Black Hippy album? You drop an album, you go on tour, and we're not like other rappers that tour for a month. We have an actual fanbase, and we go out and we perform in a lot of places in the world. We're not these WorldStar rappers that just do the clubs and go to their city a hundred times.

We got passport stamps, man. My tour lasted six months. There's no way in hell I have time for a Black Hippy album. I have to put my next album out. Kendrick don't have time for a Black Hippy album. Ab-Soul don't have time. Jay Rock don't have time. People need to give that up. Black Hippy is just a name we came with when we're all together on a track. It's easier to put Black Hippy instead of Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock.

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Rolling Loud Music Festival. With Schoolboy Q, Juicy J, A$AP Ferg, Action Bronson, and others. Saturday, February 28. Soho Studios, 2136 NW First Ave., Miami. Gates open at 1 p.m., and tickets cost $60 to $100 plus fees via All ages. Visit

Schoolboy Q Talks "Real Dark" Rap and Why Music Awards Mean Nothing

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