Growing up on Hoover Street, Hanley joined a street gang called the 52 Hoover Gangster Crips: "I was gang-banging at 12. I was a Hoover Crip. My homies were doing it and I wanted to do it. I can't really explain that. I didn't get into it with another hood or anything like that. I was just following the leader. " Before turning to music, Hanley became a drug dealer selling Oxycontin, and for a short time crack and marijuana. In 2007, he was arrested for a crime he at the time would not disclose and says he was sent to jail for six months, half of which he finished on house arrest. He later revealed on reddit that it was related to a home invasion but did not go into detail. On an interview with Montreality, Schoolboy gets asked what were his jobs as a teenager. Aside from selling drugs, stealing, and gang banging, he says he used to put air in bikes at an auto shop on 49th and Figueroa Street, when he was 10 years old. His first big pay check was around 20,000 from his first rap records. Schoolboy Q started writing verses when he was in his teen years, but didn't seriously start writing self-proclaimed, fully devoted verses and lyrics until he was 21, stating that as he grew towards his legal years he started to realizing that music allowed "you. . . to let your aggression out, so you got to get in the booth and let it out. " On Quincy's internal struggle to survive the streets and make ends meet, while making a name for himself, he says "I was just lost; I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was just trying to do something. Then I found music and it was just over after that. I made my first little bit of money doing music, after that I wanted to get used to doing it, and I kept rapping. Then it became something that I had to do. "