Album: Live. Love. ASAP
Label: Polo Grounds/RCA
By the end of 2011, Kendrick Lamar had firmly established himself as one of the most important newcomers on the scene after releasing Section.80. However, at that time, although TDE had a budding fanbase of diehards, most rap fans didn't know what to expect from the rest of the Black Hippy crew. If they were lucky, maybe they had wandered unto ScHoolboy Q's Setbacks, which remains a decent release but still a record that showed more potential than finished product.
On "Brand New Guy," Q fired on all cylinders, and by stepping out of K-Dot's growing shadow, he made his mark. It's not just that his eccentric delivery on this verse was the perfect counterpart to A$AP's always in control demeanor, it's that Q's personality shined through. Simply put, ScHoolboy Q is fun to listen to. There's no denying the entertainment value to picturing lines like, "While you gone? Shit, Netflix on your couch/What this popcorn about?/Microwave oven while you out there cuffing." The verse not only put Q on the map, but it proved that A$AP and Q could be a formidable, if unlikely, duo; they would go on to collaborate several times. —Insanul Ahmed