5. Schoolboy Q, Habits & Contradictions
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment
Released: January 14
What makes Habits & Contradictions so fun is that it's so unpredictable. On the one hand, it's easy to look at Schoolboy and see him as the rascal of Black Hippy. Unlike Ab-Soul and Kendrick, Schoolboy is more of a straight-up gangster who joined a gang, sold drugs, and went to jail. But then again, his name is Schoolboy for a reason (growing up he wore glasses and was a good student before gangbanging), and he still comes off as left-field.
When he raps, everything is over enunciated. It's as if Q can't make it through a sentence without sounding aggregated, overjoyed, and just slightly off. Meanwhile, his songs are diverse and offer more range than you'd expect. He can be fun and charming on "Hands On The Wheel" and "There He Go" but then come off sounding like a crazy-eyed killer on "Oxy Music" and "Raymond 1969" before being thoughtful and emotional on "Sacrilegious" and "Blessed."
Kendrick is obviously the breakout star of 2012, but don't be surprised if people are saying the same about Schoolboy in 2013. -IA