Schoolboy Q is an American hip-hop recording artist from Los Angeles, California. Born in Germany and grew up in Los Angeles, he was not very serious about making a career in music until he was a teenager. Although he listened to rap music more than any other genre, he was a very practical minded young teen. He wrote his first verse at the age of 16 and became serious about a career in music only after he turned 21. For the next three years, he produced mix tapes after mix tapes in order to establish himself before he embarked on bigger goals as a musician. In 2009, he came in touch with rappers Kendrick Lamar, Ab-soul and Jay Rock and formed a group called Black Hippy. In 2011, he released an independent debut album titled ‘Setbacks’ and followed it up with ‘Habits & Contradictions’ in the next year. The success of both the albums had him landing a deal with Interscope records, which resulted in his fully fledged debut album’s release with the title ‘Oxymoron’. The album was a major commercial and critical success and debuted on the first spot on the Billboard 200 music charts.
Childhood & Early Life
Schoolboy Q was born Quincy Matthew Hanley on October 26, 1986, on a military base in Germany to his father who worked in the US Army. He was born into a broken family as his parents divorced even before he was born. Following his birth, his father decided to stay back in Germany performing his duties as an army-man and his mother took him back to USA where they started living in Texas. Later, his mother took him to California and got settled there permanently.
Schoolboy got enrolled into John Muir Middle School where he became addicted to playing American football. He did not care about his academics at all and just went to the school to practice football. He was a troublesome kid and while still in high school, he joined some local gangs and started leading a ‘petty crime’ life.
As he embarked into his teens, he started listening to music but was not interested in a career yet. He further wrote some rap-verses but he put them to no use. He earned the nickname ‘Schoolboy’ during his time in Crenshaw High School as he came across as a studious kid owing to the glasses he had to wear due to his weak eyesight.
He went to several different colleges for his undergraduate degree and played football for the college teams up until he was 21 years of age. He was a key part of the team West Los Angeles Oilers before he embarked into a life of crime as he joined some local gangs.
He was one of the most recognizable faces in the 52 Hoover Gangster Crips gang during his early teenage years and before he finally embarked into a career in music, he became a drug dealer for some time. He sold marijuana and crack on the streets of Los Angeles. In 2007, he was arrested for six months for a crime related to ‘home invasion’.
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Schoolboy had started writing verses at the age of 16 and in 2006, he started working in the Top Dawg Entertainment, a major local record label. There he got acquainted with Jay Rock and Ab-Soul; two of the three musicians with whom he later went on to start the group Black Hippy. In 2008, Schoolboy released his debut mix-tape titled ‘Schoolboy Turned Hustla’, which was based on his real life experiences. Following the success of the mix-tape, he was offered a contract by Top Dawg Entertainment and Schoolboy officially became one of their artists in 2009.
He then formed a group named Black Hippy which included his former collaborators and friends Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock. In May 2009, Schoolboy released his second mix-tape titled ‘Gangsta & Soul’, which also included the infamous track ‘Ezell’. The diss track was directed towards the rapper 40 Glocc and Schoolboy asked him about his gang-banging actions in the song. He recorded the track to seek revenge on behalf of his friend Tyga, who became the victim of some accusations made by 40 Glocc.
In 2010, Schoolboy spent most of his time touring around the country and working with fellow members of Black Hippy. TDE released his next album independently in 2011, which was titled ‘Setbacks’, which was also his studio album debut. A very few copies of it were sold in LA while the entire album was presented digitally through iTunes. The album was not promoted at all and despite that, it made a place in top ten lists of albums on iTunes and also earned respectable ranks on many rap and hip-hop charts.
In early 2012, Schoolboy released his second independent studio album titled ‘Habits & Contradictions’. The album received humongous critical acclaim and was listed as one of the five best albums of 2012 by Complex. Within two years of its release it sold 48,000 copies in USA alone, which was a major feat given the independent nature of the release.
In 2012, Top Dawg Entertainment signed a deal with Interscope Records and Aftermath Records and hence, Schoolboy was no more an independent artist. As he announced his debut album under the new label, he became the second member of Black Hippy to present an album under a major record label. He further said that the success of Kendrick’s debut album put him under immense pressure to come out with a better one.
Before releasing his album ‘Oxymoron’, Schoolboy created hype around it by releasing four singles from the album back to back. The album was released in February 2014 to a critical and commercial appreciation. It was praised for its unique production values along with the highly aggressive lyrics penned down by Schoolboy. The album debuted at the top spot in the Billboard 200 chart and sold 1,39,000 copies in the first week of its release. At the 2015 Grammy Awards, it received a nomination for the Best Rap Album of the Year.
In April 2016, Schoolboy released a single titled ‘Groovy Tony’ and followed it up with ‘That Part’, which was recorded in collaboration with ace rapper Kanye West. In May 2016, Schoolboy made the public announcement about his next album and in July, he released the studio album titled ‘Blank Face LP’.
Album ‘Blank Faces LP’, like all the previous albums by Schoolboy, became a major critical success. It debuted on the Billboard 200 at the second spot. The album was nominated at the Grammy Awards in the category of Best Rap Album and one of the singles titled ‘That Part’ received a further nomination as the Best Rap Performance.
In December 2016, Schoolboy announced that he was working on his fifth studio album. In February 2017, he further announced that his next album was close to completion. But the album kept getting delayed, on which Schoolboy further said that there were ‘like 50 songs’ which were shortlisted and that it would take a little more time.
Schoolboy Q was in a serious relationship with an unknown girl in 2010 and had a daughter with her in the same year. He named the daughter Joyce ‘Joy’ Hanley and has mentioned her in several of his songs. She also appeared on the album cover for ‘Oxymoron’ and has several speaking parts throughout the album.
In 2013, the rumour surfaced about Black Hippy parting ways. It was said that Schoolboy had slept with fellow ‘Black Hippy’ Kendrick Lamar’s girlfriend, which became the cause for group’s official split.