In hip hop music, we often find the letter H capitalized. For example, on Schoolboy Q’s “Blank Face LP” album cover, we see that his name is spelled as “SCHOOLBOY Q.” Why does he capitalize this letter? To understand why an artist may choose to do this with their name or lyrics, it is important to first know how a rapper might use the letter in graffiti art.
-The letter H is often used in graffiti art to signify the artist’s name. In this context, it can be seen as a way of establishing one’s identity and separating themselves from other artists.
Since most track names on hip hop albums have two words separated by “and,” many rappers will include an ampersand (&) between their own first and last name because they feel that without it they would not be recognized or remembered. This is also true with album titles; for example, Schoolboy Q titled his second studio album “Oxymoron” instead of spelling out what he does: ‘oxy-‘ referring to oxycodone (a narcotic painkiller), -‘moron’- which means stupid person who
Schoolboy Q often capitalizes the word “H” in his lyrics. Why? Does it mean something different than a regular H or is he just being creative?
The name of Schoolboy Q’s album, Habits & Contradictions, begins with an uppercase letter H. This title is also used by two other musicians: rapper Mac Miller and pop icon Sia (who has written songs for Rihanna). But why does this letter get special treatment? The answer may lie in the meaning that some associate with the character. It can represent one who habitually engages in criminal activity–a hooker, hustler, hold-up artist; someone on drugs. These various meanings explain how schoolboy q uses upper
case letters in his lyrics.
The letter H clashes with the name of Q’s album, Habits & Contradictions. It mirrors an involuntary spasm–a sign that one has lost control over their life and may be coming down from a drug high or going through withdrawal symptoms from addiction. Schoolboy q frequently references drugs throughout this album and uses capitalized “H”s to describe them as well: “I keep it gangsta all day now I’m trying to find tranquility…Trying for riches but got nothing.” This is not out-of-character because he grew up around many people who were addicted to heroin, including his father who died due to complications related to substance abuse. These experiences could have shaped schoolboy q’s perspective and the way he talks about drugs.
The capitalization of “H” also can be seen as a reference to hip-hop culture–the subculture that often references drugs and has become intertwined with it in various ways, such as sampling songs by rappers who rap about drug use or referencing lyrics from popular songs when making new ones. Schoolboy q is one of many artists who have grown up immersed in hip-hop culture; his work reflects this upbringing through both explicit mentions of drugs and hidden messages using the letter H.
This blog post discusses how schoolboy q uses the letter H throughout his album Habits & Contradictions, referring to much more than just heroin addiction while reflecting on society’s relationship with substances