Age: 26
Label: TDE/Interscope
From: Los Angeles, California
Active Since: 2008
Latest Release: Habits & Contradictions
Recent Single: "Yay Yay"
Quietly, there are some of us who, despite the masterful artistry on display all over last year's consensus "best rap album in the universe," good kid, m.A.A.d. city, actually preferred the darker, druggier sounds of Habits & Contradictions, the debut of Kendrick Lamar's Top Dawg Entertainment stablemate Schoolboy Q.

Schoolboy may not be a lyricist on the level of Lamar (he's not, at least not yet; his rhymes lack the thematic breadth and emotional depth of his more famous colleague's), but there's something about his music that's more inviting—a looseness, maybe, a hazy, narcotic vibe that better lets shine a distinctly, definitively Californian charisma.

Half goofball/half tough-guy, Schoolboy charms and chills in equal measure. And judging from the seething, sinuous awesomeness of "Yay Yay," the first song we've heard from the upcoming Oxymoron album, he's got more of the same in store. —Dave Bry

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