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Collard Greens (song)

"Collard Greens" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Schoolboy Q, released on June 11, 2013 as the lead single from his third studio album Oxymoron (2014). The song, produced by production team THC and co-produced by Gwen Bunn, features a guest appearance from his Black Hippy cohort and fellow American rapper Kendrick Lamar. The song has since peaked at number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 36 on the UK R&B Chart. It was met with generally positive reviews from music critics.

Background

Schoolboy Q spoke to MTV about the song saying, "This is like the introduction to the album. This is just getting people excited and getting people ready for what's about to happen." The song's theme is based around smoking marijuana, even though the featured artist Lamar does not smoke.

During the process of Lamar writing his verse he spoke to a Peruvian man who worked at Interscope Studios and they came up with a few bars in the Spanish language that he included in his verse, along with a few in French. Q admitted to MTV that he didn't understand Lamar's verse and that he had no idea he was going to include a multilingual verse in the song.

Critical reception

"Collard Greens" was met with generally positive reviews from music critics. David Amidon of PopMatters said, "Collard Greens" "is a fantastic single, blending the irreverent wordplay of the Pharcyde or Camp Lo with the reggae-tinged g-funk of DJ Quik or Warren G." David Jeffries of AllMusic called the song brilliant. Stephen Weil of Tiny Mix Tapes praised the song's production and said, "Collard Greens" has a flashy guest verse by Kendrick Lamar and a terrific hook that makes it the most fun, replayable song on the album. Lizzie Plaugic of CMJ stated, the song "could’ve been just another easily forgotten earworm jam with a looming expiration date. But with TDE labelmate Kendrick Lamar lending his nasal-clogged flow to a rapid-fire Spanish-riddled verse and Q’s staccato stutter, the track still has legs. The only difference is that now, that plucking, hollow water-drop beat is instantly recognizable." Jason Lipshutz of Billboard stated, "the truly addictive component of "Collard Greens" is the subtle bounce of [Schoolboy Q's] cadence in the first half of his verses. The bisyllabic screech drives the thudding beat forward, and the technique is even more effective when Q returns after his pal Kendrick Lamar pops up to playfully spit bilingual game."

Craig Jenkins of Pitchfork Media praised the song's production. Richard Perry of No Ripcord said the song is, "a bouncy number defined by its bleeps, rubbery bass, Kendrick's multilingual spitting and Q’s penchant for getting wasted and bedding women." Joe Sweeney of Slant Magazine praised the "fresh-sounding" production of the song. Sam Kriss of TheLineOfBestFit called the song excellent. Michael Madden of Consequence of Sound said, ""Collard Greens" bustles like a multilingual block party." Omar Burgess of HipHopDX said the song has, "all the earmarks of a single but an execution that feels forced. A melodic hook and an intricate enough rhyme pattern power it, but the actual content isn’t particularly inventive."

Complex ranked "Collard Greens", number 28 on their list of the 50 best songs of 2013. Dave Bry elaborated saying, "It's like the Odd Couple. Kendrick is the neatnik Felix Unger to ScHoolboy's slovenly Oscar Madison. The studio is like the apartment they shared on the show—can't you just see Kendrick following a stumbling ScHoolboy around, trying to hold an ashtray under his blunt. Anyway, they both handle the throbbing, bouncy beat that producers THC and Gwen Bun made for them with aplomb, proving why the TDE formula works so well."

Music video

On August 7, 2013, Schoolboy Q appeared on BET's 106 & Park to premiere the music video for "Collard Greens. The video was directed by JeromeD, and features cameo appearances from fellow American rapper Macklemore and production duo Nez & Rio. The psychedelic video features Lamar and Q at a massive house and pool party, accompanied by an abundance of beautiful women. It features the artists mirrored in and out of special effects, such as being seen through a kaleidoscope and the picture being changed to negative. Schoolboy Q credits the video as being his first major record label, big budget music video. He also said he had shot a different video for it, but was unhappy with the final project and chose to shoot a new video.

The week of its release XXL named the video one of the best new hip hop music videos. XXL would also name the music video one of "The 15 Best Hip-Hop Videos Of The Summer".

Live performances

On September 16, 2013, Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar performed "Collard Greens", in New York for Vitamin Water and The Fader's Upcapped concert series. They also performed "Hands on the Wheel" and "Blessed", and featured their new TDE label-mate SZA. The next day they also performed the single on The Arsenio Hall Show. On October 15, 2013, Schoolboy Q and Lamar performed "Collard Greens" in a medley with Lamar's song "Money Trees" at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards. On January 28, 2014, Schoolboy Q performed the song, along with "Break the Bank" and "Man of the Year" on the season finale of DJ Skee's SKEE Live. Kendrick Lamar has performed "Collard Greens" at every show on the Damn tour.

Track listing

Charts



Weekly charts

Certifications

Release history