Schoolboy Q sold out the Newport Saturday. The Southern-Central L.A. rapper’s new album Oxymoron had debuted on the Billboard charts as the number 1 album in the country earlier in the week. While one would assume both of those facts have an obvious correlation, I would also offer that his chart and touring success is a testament to not sensationalizing the extreme negative in marketing makes for a good financial decision in terms of touring the Live Nation/Clear Channel type of venues. There are plenty of ways to make money in rap. But this is probably the most efficient. And as the saying goes: If You Don’t Work. You Don’t Eat. Not that this a new phenomenon: A$ap Rocky packed the Newport when I saw Schoolboy Q open for him in October of 2012 and so on and so forth. In between songs, Schoolboy Q extolled the virtues of smoking weed on stage to the adulation of his audience. It was evident his label TDE’s “Black Hippy” movement was in full stride with the college crowd when coupled with obvious over-the-top success of fellow Top Dawg Entertainment recording artist Kendrick Lamar. But this isn’t to paint a picture of a man rapping over Sublime, and telling people to live in wigwams while rubbing mud on their bodies looking like Me Phi Me. Schoolboy Q was dressed in classic Slauson Swap-meet Street-style. His EPMD-style bucket hat accessorized his crisp T and creased Dickies. When Q played songs like “Hoover Street” and “Gangsta” he showed his Crip roots in a manner that would probably make Snoop Lion C-walk and reminisce his youthful indiscretions and struggles. But no one felt like punching each other in face. The crowd was too busy waving their hands in the air. This reminded me of when I saw someone with a similar profile awhile back. A few friends and I went and checked out Lloyd Banks at the Newport during the height of the G-Unit era. 50 Cent was touring stadiums and doing Michael Jackson Thriller numbers. Banks was 50’s ace and a platinum artist. The difference is that instead of the crowd being mostly black with a healthy amount of other races like the Schoolboy Q show; the Lloyd Banks show attendance was about 40 white dudes with no one else present. The show ended with a bar room brawl which looked really funny. Please picture 40 white dudes fighting in 1500 capacity room. No one was hurt so it just looked silly. To be honest though, At the time you wanted to see a fight at a G-Unit show. But this was the era where most rap stars either played stadiums or “In the Club”-Style nightclubs, so the model of a full performance by a huge street rapper in a mid size capacity venue wasn’t really in place. I am sure if Banks had played Club Ice or Club Envy like Fif’s first show then he would’ve sold out those venues at $60 dollars a ticket. And there would have been a greater possibility of African-Americans fighting each other instead of caucasoids. During that time period, unless you were someone huge like Hov, or Snoop, you weren’t drawing your crowd to the rock club. And the rock crowds were a bit scared too. Back then rappers were selling tons of record telling their street story and marketing themselves as super villains. The side effect of this successful formula was, the only people who came out to the Banks show from the campus area were white dudes who liked to fight while listening to rap. This isn’t to diminish Lloyd Banks. I was at the show because I had been messing with him since the G-Unit Radio mix-tapes. This is just a statement of comparisons. However, Schoolboy Q calling himself Schoolboy and labeling himself a “Black Hippy” presents a party atmosphere that is conducive to touring with less violence which helps in selling tickets. When Schoolboy Q rapped the grateful “Blessed” from 2012’s Habits and Contradictions, or let fellow TDE/Black Hippy Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid M.A.A.D. City” breathe, the crowd sang along without any sense of danger even though they were watching a performer who is a member of one of the more famous street gangs. In his marketing, Schoolboy Q presents his street life part of his story but he isn’t posing with weapons. So by the time Q rocked “Man Of The Year” people had received their full entertainment and party value without fear. The crowd left happy after responding to Q’s O-H chant with an I-O. Perhaps Dr. Dre’s post-Chronic “Been There/Done That” wish is finally coming to fruition.

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