17. Schoolboy Q, 'Oxymoron'
Pippen to Kendrick Lamar's Jordan in the Los Angeles crew TDE, at least in terms of songwriting, Schoolboy Q is no even-keeled second banana. And while some critics have diminished Oxymoron for its thematic chaos, this major-label debut tingles and palpitates with nonstop personality and moment-to-moment drama. An ex-drug-dealing daddy (daughter Joy pops up here and there) who still gets high on his own supply, Q pings in and out of skeevy debauchery and terse reflection with believably confused fervor. In fact, "Break the Bank" (produced by the Alchemist) and "Collard Greens" (produced by THC and Gwen Bunn and featuring Lamar) reach levels of ferociously heady humanity and effusive musicality mostly unmatched by his 2014 peers. And then he easily slumps into the cut on the slinky, rogueish R&B slow-jam "Studio." Dude's got m.a.a.d. chops. C.A.