Schoolboy Q’s major-label debut doesn’t hit stores until Tuesday, so the Black Hippy MC was a bit perplexed on Sunday night when fans at his free concert in New York City rapped all of the words to songs that, technically, haven’t been released yet.
“Y’all must’ve copped the bootleg,” Q half-joked with the crowd, who were treated to a free show at Le Poisson Rouge as a part of NPR.org’s First Listen Live concert series.
A weekend leak of his upcoming Oxymoron didn’t seem to bother Q very much, though, as he ran through a number of songs, new and old. TDE diehards bounced frantically to proven party-starters like “There He Go” and “Nightmare on Figg St.” And Schoolboy maneuvered through tracks from his 2012 independent album, Habits & Contradictions, with ease.
When Q’s DJ queued up “Druggys Wit Hoes Again,” Schoolboy brought out Ab-Soul to perform and then got the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to his Black Hippy partner, who turned 27.
Q was dissatisfied with the crowd participation on “Blessed,” however, sensing some trepidation from fans who didn’t want to repeat the N-word, which is rapped over two dozen times in the song. Schoolboy, who says he doesn’t believe in racism, invited all of his fans to recite the lyrics, no matter their race.
“I ain’t saying go out the show and say, Yeah, my n—a,'” he warned. “Someone might get hot.”
After that PSA, Q continued the show with a taste of soon-to-be-released Oxymoron, including “Gangsta,” “Blind Threats,” “The Purge” and “What They Want.” The set, which Schoolboy said he ran through on a whim, reached a fevered pitch when he dropped his new single “Man of the Year.”
Whether Schoolboy Q will still hold that self-appointed Man of the Year title when December draws to a close remains to be seen, but he’s definitely setting 2014 off the right way.