ScHoolboy Q is one of those rappers that you never truly know what to expect. With his recent major label debut, Oxymoron, Q treads the line between being dubbed a "conscious rapper" and a full-on trap gangsta rapper by way of drug references and a 2 Chainz feature. So, it makes perfect sense that the Dallas stop of his Oxymoron Tour, alongside supporting acts Isaiah Rashad & Vince Staples, would be true to its namesake, with a sold-out South Side Ballroom experience that was a hyperbola of low energy haze, hip-hop hippies, unapologetic spirituality, and high energy trap house.
"YAWK YAWK YAWK YAWK!" the crowd screams as a DJ blasts a mix of Kendrick Lamar's "M.A.A.D. City". The post-spring break concertgoers, decked out with floral bucket hats, and North Face fleeces, begin to get anxious as their voices cut through the haze of greenery to start a slow chant of, "QUINCY QUINCY QUINCY!"
Already on a first name basis with his audience, the Top Dawg Entertainment signee stomps onstage with the trap-heavy introduction, "Fuck L.A." Rocking a camouflage coat and signature bucket hat, a la Gilligan's Island, Q announces, "Dallas has always been one of my favorite places to do shows, so let's see if that's still true." Immediately after, he rolls into a full ambush of dark trap tracks with drowned basslines from his most recent release, accompanied by flashing yellow and red strobes. By the time he's three tracks in, the crowd is panting, either from the mini-mosh pits that erupted, or the overwhelming aura of kush cologne. Birds are being flipped left and right, and Q is throwing open bottles of water onto the audience.
"Ya'll might think it's too early to do this, but I'm a slow this down," Q explains during his first of many minute-long monologues in between musical mood switches. "This is for all of my fans riding out to Habits & Contradictions." The strobes instantaneously solidify as dark blue while the Black Hippy group member dives into a capella verses from the independently released 2012 album.
Washing my sins off in hell's water Feel like the Bible told me lies as I pray to 'em Kneel down, put my faith in 'em, will you answer me?
But if God won't help me, this gun will I swear I'm gon' find my way
Numbed by his own soulful twists and references to the Bible and his daughter, Q's calmed demeanor stuck around for a majority of his set. But even with the low-energy dismissals, the young crowd remained at his borrowed Hiii Power stance, sparking their lighters to better maintain the spiritually connected hip-hop environment. In the midst of smart-phone illuminations, waving peace signs rose above the crowd of teary-eyed former trap lords.
Ditching his unworldly side for more worldly interactions, Q reintroduces himself with a friendly reminder to the audiences; "Don't ever bring your boyfriend to a fucking ScHoolboy Q concert." From there, he welcomes his more unapologetic self back with tracks that relay his connections to living the fast life by way of weed, women, and puttin' in work.
Fuck rap, I've been rich, crack by my stick shift Oxy like concerts, always my bread first GetMine my nickname, O-X and cocaine Nina my new thing, blew up before fame
Admitting early on he was indeed tired, ScHoolboy Q's set fizzled to a conclusion, with moments of old-school hip-hop head bobs and the energy resurrecting performance of crowd favorite, "Man of The Year."
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Leaving the crowd with one last flash of hype dopeness, a drowsy Q walked off stage and the ski-masked crowd, young, wild, and free, attuned their moods over the course of the hour-long set to ride-out with the roller coaster of lyrical themes brought to town by way of the Oxymoron Tour.
Maybe the crowd knew walking into the show that ScHoolboy Q would bring a collection of aggressive highs and soulful lows that were paradoxes. Maybe the performing artists mirrored the hazed and dazed vibes of the air-bending crowd. Or maybe Q was just tired.
Either way, the Dallas stop of the Oxymoron Tour at the South Side Ballroom was a show that once again reminded TDE fans that between the gangstafied trap love and spiritual connections to everyday realities lies hip-hop's unapologetic oxymoron- ScHoolboy Q.