Q Da Kid Interview
|Artist:||Q Da Kid|
|Next Project:||Untitled Debut Album|
|Twitter:||Q Da Kid on Twitter|
|Website:||Q Da Kid's Website|
In today’s music industry, commerce and art are allowed to intermingle more freely than ever before. Hip-hop artists in particular will willingly walk that fine line, knowing that their careers will flourish as a result. Take rising star Q Da Kid, for example: though his big break came in the form of a flagship spot on Procter & Gamble’s Tag Records, formed to help promote the body spray of the same name, one listen is enough to prove that the Brooklyn native aspires to be not only the freshest-smelling emcee in the game, but also a breath of fresh air for heads on the lookout for new lyrical talent.
Since parlaying a close relationship with Island Def Jam executive Jermaine Dupri into his current deal, Q Da Kid has been pulling all-nighters, working overtime to get his face in the public consciousness. In addition to pushing the J.D.-featuring single “On a Mission,” he’s been busy performing, shooting Tag commercials and magazine ads, starring in an episode of MTV Diary, and, of course, preparing his debut album, “It Was All A Dream,” for an 2009 release.
In an exclusive interview with our very own DJ “Z,” Q Da Kid steps into the Booth to discuss his feelings on the historic election of Barack Obama, the long grind that preceded his big break, and why he has what it takes to stand alongside hip-hop legends Jay-Z, Rakim, and Nas.
Listen to the Interview
Q Da Kid Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a Brooklyn-born emcee who has worked extremely hard over the last 10 years for the very opportunity he has finally received. Please welcome the flagship artist on the newly-formed Tag Records, Q Da Kid – how you doin’?
Q Da Kid: What’s goin’ on, what’s goin’ on, Z?
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on is, in honor of Senator Barack Obama winning the Presidential election-
Q Da Kid: Yeah, that was big, last night.
DJ Booth: It was huge, so I’m gonna start every interview from here through to the end of the month with the same question. Q, where were you last night, when the announcement was made?
Q Da Kid: I was in a room last night, workin’ on this song, so I was really in the house, watchin’ it on TV, the whole situation goin’ down. But I was stayin’ in Manhattan, so I heard all the commotion goin’ on outside.
DJ Booth: Q, what does this mean for the future of our country?
Q Da Kid: It’s a big situation, for all my family, and my past family, just to see a black person inside the White House. Just listening to him talk, you know that he’s really gonna put it down. You don’t even care that he’s black or nothing, it’s just the way he puts it together and the way he says what he’s tryin’ to do – that’s why I think he’s the best candidate right now.
DJ Booth: I agree completely. Q, if you ran for Presidency of the United States of America, what is the first thing that you would do upon getting into office?
Q Da Kid: I would change a lot, man. I would just change the whole situation, everything that’s goin’ on, and just try to help out the whole community, get more jobs back, and try to help out with money, ‘cause there’s a lot of stuff goin’ on. I grew up in the ghetto, and I’m in the ghetto a lot each time I go back to New York, so I see how so much is going on, and people can’t afford this, and people can’t afford that, and gas prices are so high… So, you know, there’s a lot of things going on. Everything’s gotta change.
DJ Booth: Q, there are many similarities between yourself and President-elect Obama, the first of which is you’re both on a mission. Now, he is on a mission for change, and you have conveniently titled your unofficial debut single featuring J.D. “On a Mission,” so how do you plan to complete yours?
Q Da Kid: My mission is all about the grind. I’ve always been on the grind. Everybody that knew me before the whole situation with Tag knows that I’ve always been on the grind. I’ve got my own studio. Like, at a time when I felt I couldn’t get in the studio, I just got tired of people tellin’ me no, or chargin’ me a bunch of money, so I just went and bought my own studio. So I stay at home, I learned how to mix my own music and learned how to record my own music – anything I wanna do, I just figure it out and I go do it myself, so that’s why I named the song, “On a Mission,” ‘cause I’ve been on that mission for years now.
DJ Booth: Well, that mission has taken you all over the place: New York, Miami, Atlanta. Do you think that your tri-state travels thus far have helped you acquire hip-hop’s electoral votes, if you will.
Q Da Kid: Yeah. I always tell people, there were times when I felt like I didn’t even want to do it anymore. I just wanted to quit and get it over with, I felt like I wanted to go and do something else. But I felt like the more I pushed, it helped more. Everything happens for a reason; everything is timing. At the time when I felt like I wanted to get a deal, I don’t feel like that was my time, and I feel like the time that I waited was much better. ‘Cause if I had gotten a regular deal, I would have been in a regular situation, and now that I’ve got this deal, they put so much into me.
DJ Booth: The mission, as you just pointed out, could have ended when J.D. left Virgin for Island Urban Music back in ‘07. Q, how confident were you that J.D. would give you another shot on another major label?
Q Da Kid: I was just bein’ loyal. I always was loyal. There were so many times when I could’ve left J.D., but I was always loyal, and I think that my loyalty is what showed him, “Okay, this dude is loyal.” [People] were trying to offer me situations at other [labels], and I was like, “No.” At the end of the day, when I was down and out, J.D. was always there for me, so I always felt like I had to be loyal. That’s how I feel [about] all the people that surround me: if you ain’t loyal to me, then you don’t need to be around me. I was so loyal to him that he always would keep me around. When this whole deal came around, he was loyal to me, ‘cause I was loyal to him, so he came to me with it first, like, “This is a situation I’ve got goin’ on – do you wanna be that person?” It was up to me to say yes or no. It sounded so good, I was like, “Of course I wanna do it!”
DJ Booth: Well, the appropriate title to your debut is It Was All a Dream. Upon the release of this debut, will all your dreams have come true, or are there still many more that you’re aiming to fulfill
Q Da Kid: My dreams are comin’ true right now. [There’s] something new every day. I just performed in Denver, opening for the Denver Nuggets game, I introduced the players, I had a little reality show on MTV. I always wanted to see myself on MTV, and that dream came true. I always wanted to perform in front of a bunch of people, and that dream came true. I always wanted to be in the studio with this person and that person, and my dreams came true, so I feel like every day of my life, something new on my dream path always comes true.
DJ Booth: I’m sure somewhere on that list, probably near the bottom, one of your dreams was to be on the phone with me doing an interview, so there you go – another dream come true.
Q Da Kid: I always see DJBooth on the net, so yeah I had to see what’s goin’ on.
DJ Booth: No doubt, Q. I just read your current bio, and there’s a quote that says, “When I really put it together, I can be in the same category as Rakim, Nas, and Jay-Z.” So Q, what makes you believe that you have what it takes beyond a shadow of a doubt, long-term, to be in the same breath as those three hip hop legends?
Q Da Kid: Those are people that are just lyrically inclined to tell a story. I feel like people wanna know who you are – like, if you listen to a Jay-Z song [from] before Jay-Z was even Jay-Z, he’ll always tell you about Jay-Z, and how he got to the point of being Jay-Z. When you listen to Rakim, Rakim was always tellin’ you about Rakim. Nas used to tell you what would go on in his project building, or what happened to him in his life, “One Love,” his homebody got locked up. When you start hearin’ more of my songs, you’re gonna hear that I always tell a story of what’s goin’ on. Like, this Obama stuff that happened yesterday, I’m gonna go write about it. If something happens in my family or whatever, I’m gonna write about it, ‘cause I feel like somebody’s goin’ through the same life that I’m livin’, somebody’s goin’ through the same pain that I’m going through, so I can relate to Jay-Z when I listen to him.
DJ Booth: So it’s safe to say, when someone picks up a copy of your new album, they’re going to know everything there is to know about the life of Q Da Kid?
Q Da Kid: Oh, yeah, you’re gonna hear everything about me.
DJ Booth: No cutting corners, no leaving anything behind?
Q Da Kid: I don’t cut any corners. I’ve got to tell my story – I mean, if I don’t tell my story, I’m gonna subliminally tell my story, and it’s for you to figure it out. I could be talkin’ about somebody else, and it’ll probably be me. I can take rap and talk about rap as a chick, I can take something and reverse it and it’ll be talkin’ about me, but I’ll be talkin’ about something else.
DJ Booth: I gotcha. Let’s talk about your situation. The pairing of a long-standing record label and a Fortune 500 company who owns a body spray product is certainly a first of its kind. Q, with all the exposure that you’re going to receive through this co-op venture, how high are your expectations for this debut?
Q Da Kid: They’re high because, at the end of the day, it’s your first time comin’ out. You see how the game is goin’ these days: a lot of people ain’t sellin’ records, so that weight on my mind, too. Hopefully it’ll be good, but I believe in myself. Once you believe in yourself, you should believe in your craft, you know?
DJ Booth: Well, obviously you’re working with Tag body spray, so, Q, have they given you a lifetime supply of their product?
Q Da Kid: [laughs] Yeah, I can get it when I want it. I use it every day. I’ve got all my friends on it, and everybody on it, the whole family, uncles, cousins – I’ve got everybody on it.
DJ Booth: Well, this leads into my next question. There’s currently seven fragrances of Tag body spray. I’m gonna list them all, and I want you to name which best fits your personality. We’ve got First Move, After Hours, Wild Card, Get Yours, Lucky Day, Midnight, and All-Nighter, so which one of those best fits you?
Q Da Kid: All-Nighter, ‘cause I’ll be up all night. I feel like that’s a good one for me. And Get Yours, ‘cause that’s what I’m doin’. I’ve got a song on my MySpace called “Get Yours,” so that describes me: go get yours.
DJ Booth: Q, as of right now, I know that the label has not given you a solid release date, but their goal, I know, is to push you hard through the New Year. So when the time is right, and the album does drop, give everyone one reason why they need more Q in their lives.
Q Da Kid: Creativity and innovation. Plus it’s gonna be a different sound. It’s not gonna be what everybody else is doin’. I’m tryin’ to bring back hip hop, I’m trying to be a part of that hip hop element, period. If you look at the comments, they’re always like, “Yo, I think you could really bring back hip hop,” and that’s all I’m tryin’ to do. I feel like it’s gone, a lot of people are just following trends. I coulda came out with a big song, like something crazy with Janet on it or Usher, but that wasn’t the song for me. Me tellin’ my story on the first song, I feel like that’s what people wanted to hear, and now I can go any route I wanna go, ‘cause I already told them my story, and they understand me now.
DJ Booth: Well, if you’re gonna bring hip hop back, my friend, I have already jumped on your bandwagon. I wish you nothing but the best; give everybody a website or a MySpace page, something so they can find out more about you.
Q Da Kid: You can check me out on myspace.com/qdakid19, you can check me out at youtube.com/qtagrecords, you can check me out at tagrecords.com, and the list goes on, man. But if you log on to any of those three, you can find out more information about me.
DJ Booth: Q, thank you so much for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth, my friend.
Q Da Kid: You’re welcome. Any day, man – whenever you wanna holler, just call me.