Birth name – Quincy Matthew Hanley
Born October 26, 1986 (age 26)
Origin – South Figueroa Corridor, South Central Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres – Hip hop, gangsta rap
Occupations – Rapper
Labels – Top Dawg Entertainment, Interscope Records
Associated acts – Black Hippy, Ab-Soul, ASAP Rocky, Danny Brown, Jhené Aiko, Mac Miller
Website – topdawgmusic.com
Quincy Matthew Hanley (born October 26, 1986), better known by his stage name Schoolboy Q (often stylized ScHoolboy Q), is an American hip hop recording artist from South Central Los Angeles, California. Signed to Top Dawg Entertainment and Interscope Records, Hanley is a member of hip hop supergroup Black Hippy, along with fellow West Coast rappers and label-mates Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar.
Preceded by two mixtapes, his first independent album Setbacks, released January 11, 2011, reached #100 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling close to 1,000 digital copies in the first week. Almost a year later on January 14, 2012, he released his second independent album Habits & Contradictions. The album debuted at #111 on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 3,900 digital copies in the United States. His major label debut studio album, entitled Oxymoron, is set to be released in 2013.
1986–2009: Early life and career beginnings
Hanley was born October 26, 1986, on a military base in Germany. While there, his parents decided they were no longer staying together. Therefore his mother chose a last name for him at random. That is why no one else in his family shares his surname. His father remained in the Army, but his mother took Hanley to Texas for a couple years, before settling in California. He grew up in Los Angeles, California on 51st Street, neighboring Figueroa and Hoover Street. He claims to have been playing American football since the age of six years old until he was 21. He played receiver, cornerback, and tailback, however in college he just played receiver and returner. After graduating Crenshaw High School, Hanley went on to attend Glendale Community College, Los Angeles City College, Southwest College and West Los Angeles College where he played football for the West Los Angeles Oilers: “I went to West L.A. college, I went to Southwest college, LACC, and Glendale. I didn’t really get the school like that. I would go to practice and go home. I wasn’t really paying attention in class. I was just in there making sure I did enough work so I could still be eligible. I wasn’t really trying to pass the class. I was just trying to be eligible to play football.” As to how he came up with his stage name: “When I was in school, all the homies called me Schoolboy. I wore glasses and I had a 3.3 in high school, before fucking up my senior year gang-banging. My name’s Quincy, so I just stick to Schoolboy Q.”
Growing up on Hoover Street, he joined a street gang, the 52 Hoover Crips: “I was gang-banging at 12. I was a Hoover Crip. My homies were doing it and I wanted to do it. I can’t really explain that. I didn’t get into it with another hood or anything like that. I was just following the leader.” Before turning to music Hanley became a drug dealer selling Oxycontin, and for a short time crack and marijuana: “I was selling Oxycontin. I sold crack a little bit, but I didn’t make a whole lot of money selling crack or weed or any of that. I made a lot of money selling Oxycontin. I used to go out of town and get it. You just sit back, your homie tell you about this person, and that person spread the word. And then they come to you. You don’t need to get that hype. So I was selling all types of shit. Got beat up, beat shit up.” In 2007, he was arrested for a crime he won’t disclose and says he was sent to jail for six months, half of which he finished on house arrest: “When I was 21 I got arrested and went to jail. I got a felony charge and they gave me a strike too. I don’t be putting out what my charge was but it wasn’t a sexual thing.”
He claims to have written his first verse when he was 16, but wasn’t serious about music until he was 21. Music became his way of expressing himself: “I wrote my first verse when I was 16. I wasn’t really rapping, but you know everybody wrote a verse before. I wrote the verse but I wasn’t really fucking with it. By 21, I started to really get into it and gained a passion for it. You got to let your aggression out, so you got to get in the booth and let it out. I was really working on my craft, studying music, and I became Q. I did all of it, school and the streets. I was just lost; I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was just trying to do something. Then I found music and it was just over after that. I made my first little bit of money doing music, after that I wanted to get used to doing it, and I kept rapping. Then it became something that I had to do.”
In 2006, he began to work with Top Dawg Entertainment, a Carson-based independent record label, recording at their studio House of Pain and collaborating with their artists. His first time at the studio he worked with his soon to be Black Hippy cohorts Jay Rock and Ab-Soul: “I walked in and the beat was playing. Ali told them that I rap. Punch told me to jump on the beat. It was a record that Jay Rock and Ab-Soul were writing to, so then I wrote it. Punch liked it and he told me to come back through. I kept coming back, kept getting better, and eventually they signed me to [Top Dawg Entertainment].” On July 29, 2008, Hanley released his first mixtape titled Schoolboy Turned Hustla. After the release of Schoolboy Turned Hustla, he signed a deal with Top Dawg Entertainment in 2009, where he formed Black Hippy with fellow label mates and frequent collaborators, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul.
In 2009, Hanley was involved in a short “beef” with fellow West Coast rapper 40 Glocc. ScHoolboy Q released a diss track titled “Ezell (40 Glocc Killa)” where he questions 40 Glocc’s gang-banging. Hanley has went on record as to why they were “beefing”: “He made some false statements about my boy, Tyga, that’s my little brother. He did a lot of fake stuff with Wayne, a lot of lies, rumors and childish shit that I really didn’t like, and I really felt disrespected by this clown saying all this shit so I just had to like air it out”. He went on to say “It’s over with, I did what I did, I said what I said and I won’t diss him no more, because it’s obvious he ain’t on my level…so why categorize myself with a loser?”. He released Gangsta & Soul, his second mixtape on May 14, 2009, which included the aforementioned diss track.
Although Hanley did not release a project, 2010 had him touring, doing guest appearances and had him in the studio working with the rest of Black Hippy and on his then-upcoming project Setbacks. On January 11, 2011, exclusively through iTunes he released Setbacks, his first independent album under Top Dawg Entertainment, to critical acclaim. The album reached #100 on the Billboard 200 selling 787 units its first week. Two weeks after the album’s release Hanley took to Twitter and gave the album away for free. By the time Schoolboy Q’s first album Setbacks was released in early 2011, he’d quit gangbanging altogether.
Setbacks propelled Hanley into the spotlight and allowed him to earn a large internet following: “The concept behind Setbacks was [to talk about] all the shit that’s the reason why I can’t rap. The reason I can’t accomplish what I want to accomplish is because I’m doing all this dumb shit. I put it all together on the album. Like, “Druggys Wit Hoes”, I’m out here drugging and I’m not even trying to fuck with hoes. “Kamikaze”, I’m not even trying to rap—keep going broke. Different shit like that, I sum it up all in one album. My life did a whole 180 after that dropped. A lot of people still didn’t know the name though, but a lot of people did. It was weird. It just took me to the right spot. I made some fucking money off the project, it helped me see that I needed to do more positive shit in life, and it made me into the person I am now. All I do now is just chill. I’d rather just chill, work on my music, be with my two-year-old daughter, and smoke weed and shit.”
Hanley headlined his first show on March 11, 2011, at the Key Club in West Hollywood, California. In March 2011, Hanley was arrested at the 2011 South by Southwest music festival and explained that he was ultimately jailed because of marijuana possession: “I got sent to jail for some weed. That was all bad. And I was the one that broke up the fight”, said Schoolboy Q. “And then my manager Dave he thought he was Tupac Shakur, ‘Don’t touch my artist! Don’t touch my artist! Don t touch my artist!’ I’m cool. I’m his artist. I’m like whatever. I’m straight then he kept going crazy. My ass went to the pen… Yeah, I got away and then everybody walked out like Tupac in MGM. Police was like ‘Aww, there they go’. Of course I’m the only one with all the weed.”
2011-2012: Habits & Contradictions
On September 22, 2011, via his Twitter feed, Hanley announced the title of his second independent album to be Habits & Contradictions. He described the album as a “prequel to Setbacks”. On September 26, he released the first offering off of Habits & Contradictions, a song titled “Druggys Wit Hoes Again” featuring Ab-Soul. On October 19, 2011, he leaked “THere He Go”, followed by “Oxy Music” on October 28. On October 31, he was featured on ASAP Rocky’s critically acclaimed mixtape Live. Love. ASAP, on a song titled “Brand New Guy”, which was well received by the public. To keep promoting Habits & Contradictions he released “My Hatin’ Joint” on November 15, 2011. On November 29, 2011, a music video for “To tha Beat (F’d Up)”, a song taken from Setbacks, was leaked, later that same day Hanley officially released a music video for a new track titled “Sacrilegious” for Habits & Contradictions. On January 2, 2012, Hanley released “Blessed”, his latest collaboration with fellow Black Hippy, Kendrick Lamar and announced the album’s release date to be January 14, 2012.
On January 6, 2012, via Twitter, Hanley announced guest appearances on the album would include ASAP Rocky, Currensy and Dom Kennedy. On January 6, Hanley also released a public service announcement for Habits & Contradictions, shot and edited by Dwayne LaFleur. Hanley sat down with freeOnSmash, for an interview and spoke on some of the tracks from his Habits & Contradictions, the interview was released on January 9, 2012. OnSmash claims “The 17 track project, due out January 14, is a look into Q’s life, with tales of pill selling, life struggle, partying, religious hypocrites, his block and everything in between.” The album was released exclusively through iTunes, with only a few hard copies being sold and signed by ScHoolboy Q in L.A. In early hours of release, the album moved up to iTunes Top 10 Albums chart and stayed over within days after release. The album debuted at #111 on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 3,900 digital copies in the United States. With only two days at retail the Top Dawg Entertainment release scanned nearly 4,000 units to crack the Top 100, without any marketing or advertising. The album also debuted on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums at number twenty-five, Top Rap Albums at number sixteen, Top Independent Albums at number seventeen and at number three on the Top Heatseekers album chart respectively. Music videos for “Hands on tHe WHeel” with ASAP Rocky, “NigHtmare on Figg St.”, and “Druggys wit Hoes Again” with Ab-Soul, followed the album’s release.
In March 2012, MTV announced that Top Dawg Entertainment closed a joint venture deal with Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment, marking the end of Hanley’s career as an independent artist. Under the new deal, Black Hippy cohort, Kendrick Lamar’s debut studio album, good kid, m.A.A.d city will be jointly released via Top Dawg/Interscope/Aftermath, while releases from the rest of Black Hippy will be distributed via Top Dawg/Interscope. On March 24, Schoolboy Q announced #TheGroovyTour; a month long tour with Ab-Soul accompanying him the entire way. The tour began on April 20 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California. On April 3, 2012, Interscope Records released “Hands on the Wheel” as a promotional single via iTunes and began promoting the song at Urban and Rhythmic radio formats in North America.
In June 2012, Hanley revealed he had begun working on his major label debut, and announced he will be the second member of Black Hippy to release his commercial debut with Interscope, following Kendrick Lamar. From September to November, Hanley appeared alongside Danny Brown and ASAP Mob as supporting acts for ASAP Rocky’s 40-date national Long. Live. ASAP Tour. Also Hanley toured with rappers Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and Kendrick Lamar on the Under The Influence Tour. In a November 2012 interview, Hanley expressed “Kendrick [Lamar] left me no choice but to drop a classic”, referring to Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city’s impact on Hanley’s own respective major label debut.
On December 12, after multiple hints and hashtags with the word “oxymoron” via his Twitter Hanley tweeted: “OXYMORON ’13”, confirming his major label debut’s title.Oxymoron was included on many “Most Anticipated Albums of 2013” lists including fourth by the NY Press’, sixteenth by Complex Magazine and the seventeenth by XXL Magazine. Schoolboy Q has announced collaborations on the album to include Black Hippy, ASAP Rocky, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Pharrell and The Alchemist. In March 2013 Schoolboy Q would say the album was four songs away from being completed. On March 26, 2013 it was announced that Q would be apart of XXL Magazine’s 2013 Freshman Class.
In June 2013, Schoolboy Q is scheduled to appear at the 2013 BET Experience music festival, with Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Miguel, immediately preceding the BET Awards show.
ScHoolboy Q cites American East Coast rappers Nas, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G. along with Kurupt and 2Pac as artists who influenced him: “But Biggie, Nas and 50 Cent [are my biggest influences]”. He claims Queens rapper Nas is his all-time favorite rapper. In several interviews ScHoolboy Q has stated 50 Cent is the biggest reason he started to take rapping and his music career seriously, even going as far as saying 50 Cent probably saved his life: “We got the same shit going on. Everything he talk about is the same shit I did. I relate to [him]… I can listen to 50 Cent and tell he really mean what he’s saying. He’s one of them niggas that got away with confidence. Fifty ain’t got the best bars, he ain’t got Jay-Z bars but his confidence on a record… you can’t deny it. I seen where he was doing an interview about Ja Rule during the beef shit, he was saying that ‘any nigga that just getting out of jail that don t know what to do with himself should get into the rap game.’ Recently when I just got out of jail I didn’t know what to do I wasn’t going to try and finish playing football. That’s when I was fucking around with rapping, I wasn’t really rapping but when I heard that I was like fuck it… I really went hard at it. Fifty probably saved my life on some real shit.” He has also stated the person he looks up to the most is hip hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, from whom he adopted the nickname “Puffy”. He said that he’s always admired Diddy’s prowess as a businessman and longevity in the Hip Hop industry: “I like to carry myself like Puff Daddy, and Puff Daddy is one of my idols. That nigga did all he did and he’s still getting it and he still looks like he’s 32. You know what I’m saying? This nigga’s still getting it. You haven’t heard too many big artists since [him] just break out and just kill it like that on his label. Not to take away from nobody, but you never seen nobody like really, really come kill it from his label and he’s still [in] top form.”
In an interview with Complex magazine, he stated he got his “rhyme-style” from Brooklyn rapper Jay-Z: “I got [my rhyme style] from Jay-Z though. If you really listen to Jay-Z, he has a new sound every time he raps. It’s never the same. He might use a little swag, but it’s always like a different flow. So that’s all I try to do.” He says he chooses to not always do the traditional style of rapping, having no restrictions when he raps: “But at the same time, its just a feeling I can’t really explain. You got to be wiser to stay on the track, but there’s no rules. When you start rapping with rules, it’s when you start sounding boring. You may hear me fuck with my voice, you may hear me do a two-bar pause, you may hear me do an odd 33 bars instead of 30. Give you 14 bars instead of 16.” ScHoolboy Q has been called very versatile with his rapping, as proven on his albums Setbacks and Habits & Contradictions. LA Weekly noted on Setbacks: “His style had begun to take shape, with his penchant for stretching vowels like Silly Putty or slurring a word and then snapping back into double time.”
ScHoolboy Q has a daughter, born in 2010, named Joy Hanley, whom he has mentioned in several of his songs. She has also appeared in several of his music videos, including those for “PHenomenon”, “NigHtmare on Figg St.” and “THere He Go”. Schoolboy Q revealed why he capitalizes the letter H in all his words when he tweeted: “wHy my H always capitalized???? HIIIPOWER X HIPPY X HOOVER X HEAVEN & HELL AKA MY LIFE.” He is known for his recreational drug use which currently includes smoking marijuana.
Main articles: Schoolboy Q discography and Black Hippy discography
Habits & Contradictions (2012)
Red Everything Movement