Schoolboy Q's third album takes its title from this track. He told Fader magazine the name connects to his other records: Setbacks and Habits & Contradictions. "They're basically all the same title, damn near mean the same thing," Q said. "We're living or dying. We're already dead, the living dead. So do what you gotta do. Take care of your family, of yourself as a whole, and everything will be alright. People are so worried about the next person. That's what's f---ing the world up, jealousy and anger. If people would worry about their own s--t, everything would be all right. We probably wouldn't need a president."
The song finds Q spitting about an assortment of drugs including prescription codeine syrup and Xanax. Speaking on MTV's RapFix Live, the rapper explained how he managed to conquer the addiction. "I grew up in a different era, I didn't grow up in the '70s and '60s where people where really really got hooked on drugs," he explained to host Sway Calloway. "People my age, they get hooked on drugs, but not in the way back in the days used to be. We all know what we're getting into before we do it now. It's like gangbanging — it's getting smaller and smaller, because we know the outcome of it."
"So, with drugs I feel like everybody's just dabbling, then getting rid of it and leaving it alone," Q continued. "That was just kinda what I did. I was dabbling with it, I liked it, it really got a hold of me to where I knew what I was doing, then I just had to pump my brakes, like this is not cool. And I just stopped."
The cover of the standard edition of Oxymoron features Q's daughter Joy scowling, as she wears her father's trademark bucket hat. The deluxe edition features the rapper himself staring through a ski mask at the listener. Speaking with New York radio station Hot 97, Schoolboy Q explained he chose the picture of Joy for the album's standard edition as, "the oxymoron in this album is that I'm doing all this bad to do good for my daughter. That's why I'm robbin'. That's why I'm stealin'. Whatever it is that I'm talking about in my album [that's] negative, it's always for a good cause, for my daughter."
The song details how Q went from selling OxyContin to becoming an addict himself. "I say in the song, 'I had a ball selling [OxyContin] 80s, but yo, the karma's worse,' and that's true," he told Billboard magazine. "Once I was done dealing, I got addicted to Xanax and Percocets. My past came back to haunt me."
Speaking during a Q&A session for Oxymoron, Q described how he arranged the song to juxtapose the process of selling prescription pills and addiction: "I put the OxyContin and selling it at the end of the relapse or the addiction," he said. "I sold OxyContin and then I got addicted [to pills]. This way, I showed that I got addicted then I sold it. That was a crazy record."
"That's true s--t - the first part of it when my daughter tried to wake me up and I was dead to the world," he added. "That was my little secret. I always had the cup with me. They just never knew I had a gang of pills in the other bottle. That was a little story about me and how I was addicted, too."