There is something haunting about Schoolboy Q‘s video for “Groovy Tony”, but also something very beautiful. The song itself is very dark and gritty, focusing on the character’s rage in the streets and stand-alone attitude, and the video follows suit. Nevertheless, make no mistake, this is art.
Schoolboy Q can be qualified as a “gangster rapper” based on his background in the Hoover Crips and some of the subject matter of his music, but he is much more than that. Songs like “Blessed” off his album “Habits and Contradictions” (available on iTunes) show a great deal of depth and detail, and even many of his more gang related anthems signify the struggle of the street life more than they do unnecessary violence and money talk.
This video cuts into the character’s first person view point of dragging a body through a mangled junk yard at night and leads to a third person view of him firing off multiple rounds from an automatic weapon in slow motion. Oh yeah, did I mention that there is a stockpile of dead bodies in the junk yard? He goes on to recklessly crash his car, light a joint off his burning arm, and even hang a man.
All of this sounds rather morbid and unappealing to many, but it should be recognized for what it really is. Not only does the video match the themes of the song perfectly, it is shot and directed in such a way that the song is not only complimented, it is vividly brought to life.
The fact is that despite the dark, drug dealing past that Schoolboy Q comes from he is actually a very well-tempered individual who cares much more about making art than proving he is tougher and more of a gangster than his peers. If you watch any interview with Q, from those of “The Breakfast Club”, to “Big Boy TV”, to the Back & Forth segment he participates in with A$AP Rocky, you will find that he is a very down to earth person and not one to take himself too seriously.
Schoolboy Q’s “Groovy Tony” may be dark, violent, and even devilish at times, but it is more of a focused artistic expression than it might seem.
What he does take seriously, however, is his craft. Q spent his first days as a rapper acting as a hype man for his fellow Black Hippy member Kendrick Lamar and has spent his time since then striving to improve as a rapper. The evidence of this is found clearly and concretely in the progression of lyrics, themes, and technical abilities from his first work to his most recent album “Oxymoron” (buy it here).
Get Schoolboy Q‘s “Groovy Tony” on iTunes.