My momma was raised in the era when clean water was only served to fairer skin.”

From the moment DJ Karla Moy, also known as Hustlegrl, dropped Kanye’s “New Slaves” for Schoolboy Q fans inside Toronto’s Sound Academy it was obvious that even if for some mysterious reason the Top Dawg Entertainment artist didn’t show up, this show could hold its own. But the diverse crowd was definitely part of Schoolboy’s cult following, which he has been steady building since his underground days through to the last two years when he moved into the mainstream.

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When the concert kicked into full effect, the only opening act of the night Redway came onto the stage using the energy from Hustlegrl’s set to perform impressively. His biggest reaction from the crowd didn’t come until it mattered most though. As his high tempo performance was coming to end, he managed to smoothly transition the audience into his new record titled, “You Know the Ones”. The crowd became receptive to this song, reciting lines from it and setting the energy up for none other than the headliner: Schoolboy Q.

When Q hit the stage, he put the youthful crowd into a frenzy. After one hour of waiting after Redway’s performance, BOOM! The music dropped and Schoolboy came on in an orange balaclavas hat.

After performing a couple songs, Schoolboy stopped the music to ask, “How many people got that Oxymoron?” Many cheered in response. Schoolboy followed up with saying, “I didn’t even know it was number one in Canada,” and was extremely thankful of the fans. From there he dived into his full arsenal of material – underground to mainstream. “Collard Greens” set the crowd on fire; the high energy remained all night long.

At one point Schoolboy, who admitted he was both high and drunk, took a breather to drink some water. Fans starting screaming “Gangsta, Gangsta” urging Q to perform his underground hit off Oxymoron. As he got into it, the crowd recited every word. And then he followed that up with his smash hit “Studio”, to the liking of many women in the audience.

Three quarters into the show, the most heartfelt moment of the night arrived after giving fans what they wanted. Schoolboy thanked everyone saying, “I don’t have a job, you guys pay my bills, put my daughter through school.” The fans felt the happiness coming out of Q’s mouth knowing they contributed to that.

An hour and a half into his set, he capped off the night with his biggest hit yet, “Man of the Year”. The price tag to see Schoolboy Q live was definitely worth it. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before his cult following takes him to sold out arenas.

Words By. Issey Abraha + Photos By. Fitzroy Facey