Sitting down with journalist Peter Bailey for a lengthy interview, ScHoolboy Q credited Kendrick Lamar for pulling him out of depression with an opportunity to tour and make music. Referencing a period of self-doubt leading up to 2012, Q detailed his struggle with depression.
“I would say that I really believed that 2012 was gonna happen at a point because I was so down and out,” he said of fears of an apocalypse. “Like when you mad, you say and do things that you may not even really mean or noone will know what you’re saying. It’s just in the moment. When you’re dealing with depression, it’s the same thing it’s just over a long period of time. It ain’t just a day. Think about being mad. When you mad you say something...it’s momentary. Imagine that the whole day. It becomes depression. Stress and depression.”
When asked about how he was able to return to good-health, ScHoolboy Q referenced his opportunity to continue rapping.
“Music bro,” he said. “TDE. Kendrick. Honestly, Kendrick Lamar more than anybody. He put me on the road with him. Made me his hypeman. Put some money in my pocket. Top was behind me. Punch was behind me. But mainly Kendrick was the one that showed me that this is for real. We could really eat off this shit. Not even just eat off this shit. This is something you like to do, why not love it?”
“I put my life in my music,” he later said. “I don’t even know how to rap bro. Like I said, Kendrick gave me the game. I watched Kendrick, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, and them niggas rap every day and took it serious. I didn’t know how to rap. At first it was just rapping before we fully grew into what we are today. They were just in the studio everyday. Rapping, rapping. Now that I see it like that, it’s like that shit was practice. Kendrick went from K. Dot to Kendrick Lamar. He changed his name. That set the tone for the whole camp almost. He changed his name and then he stopped rapping. He used to rap about shooting people, getting drunk, smoking weed, Lamborghinis. He knew that wasn’t real. That’s why it never got on. He changed his name and he put his real life story into his music and it’s been over ever since. That gave me the game. I was ScHoolboy Q, I used to try to walk with a backpack ‘cause my name is ScHoolboy Q.”
When asked about his thoughts on audiences that didn’t grow up in his circumstances consuming his music, the Oxymoron rapper said “I can’t judge nobody ‘cause they grew up a little different.”
“Even me, I grew up in a bad neighborhood but even my bad neighborhood was better than somebody else’s,” he said. “I didn’t grow up in Compton or Watts. I grew up in L.A. on Figg….It’s grimey over there but it’s nothing like Watts. It’s grimey in Watts. That’s like the dirtiest you gon’ see in the city. Watts and the East Side. Compton and L.A. isn’t as bad as everything else but it is still bad. But still, like I said, I think they do understand because I drop albums and most of my fans—even tonight, you gon’ see—it’s gonna be a gang of White people in there. I understand. I can watch a movie and like it and it has nothing to do with me. It’s just I know what’s going on and I can understand it.”
ScHoolboy Q Explains Shift In His Music Videos
Detailing his worry in his daughter’s seeing vulgar sexual imagery in Hip Hop and his own music specifically, Q recalled a 2012 performance that opened up his eyes.
“That’s all I care about, her feelings,” he said. “I don’t bring girls around my daughter. She won’t meet no girl. She won’t see me around no girl. I remember I was pissed because in 2012 I had a show in L.A. on my birthday. My daughter came and Top—the C.E.O. of the label—he surprised me. I don’t think he knew my daughter was gonna be there, but he had strippers there. This is my first time ever doing videos where girls is like running around topless with chests out. I never did those types of videos ‘cause I never wanted to put that image out there ‘cause of my daughter. This is the day of the show. My daughter’s there she’s at the top. So Kendrick, I brought him out. He like puts my hat over my head. Then some strippers come out I guess. I didn’t know, I start hearing the crowd go crazy and I peeked and I could see that it’s strippers. Once it was over I’m laughing. Then they come bring out my daughter she’s crying her heart out.
“Like I said, I hated videos [like] that but this project Top and them wanted me to do like ‘Man of the Year,’ ‘What They Want.’ That wasn’t my idea, if it was my idea I wouldn’t have girls doing that type of stuff in my videos. Not yet anyway...I never shot a video in my hood ‘til I did ‘Break the Bank.’ One video. ‘Cause I’m not here to show off that. I want it to be epic. More and more epic when I come through...I didn’t want to put that image out there ‘cause my homies is still in the street. They still gang banging. The gang members know me, they watch my video. So an enemy gang member could see that video and identify [people]...That’s why I was never with that...I always like have’em put hoods on or something. This is the only time I did it and I still regret it to this day that I have my homies in my video.”