Every now and then, we get an MC that could be labeled as a “thinking man’s” MC. An MC that sparks thinking, that sparks emotion, and ignites people to actually listen to what’s being said. While they are not as prevalent as they once were during the late 80′s and early 90′s, a few still exist, such as NYC’s Quad Almighty. Quad is bent on lifting African-Americans to a better existence as well as the hip hop culture itself. His music is full of “lessons”, some might be wrapped up in easy to swallow songs, while others come out and whack you upside the head. He is also rolling with a band. His sound is advanced and makes use of what he has to work with. Aiming to be the leading force behind change, we sat down to kick it with Quad as we talk about his hometown of Milwaukee, hooking up with Finsta of NYC legend Finsta Bundy, and where hip hop is heading…..
Quad Almighty – Revelations
Quad Almighty - The Dateline
WYDU: What’s good man? Can you do a proper introduction of who you are and what you are repersentin’?
Quad Almighty: I’m Quad Almighty. I came here to make people think. I resurrect the mentally dead using, revolutionary lyrics, drum machine sounds and live instrumentation. I’m all about, what I call the big 3; The Most High, the Black Man and The Truth. It doen’t matter if I a do track about smoking weed or one about fucking fat ho’s! At the end of it all, my objective is to get the listener look at the issues in the context of the big 3. At this very moment, everything is changing. But many so called “MC’s” aren’t hitting the issues that need to be hit. The result is the over-load of bulshit we see in rotation today, and a lack of originality and a lack of relevance in relationship to real peoples lives. Hip Hop is a form of self expression that WE originated. We have to say what we feel is real and not cater to the desires of corporate interest.
W: Deep man, deep. You’ve been around for awhile now, so I guess you wouldn’t qualify as a “new” artist per say, but you originally started off as part of a group. Can you outline your career and how you are where you are in the present day?
QA: I’m from Milwaukee. Music was always on my plate, cause my Pops is a drummer. Naturally, I was preparing to follow in his footsteps as a youngster. But by the time I had hit my teens, I had fallen in love with Hip Hop and lyricism. That, plus all the regular hellish experiences of a kid from the ghetto, pushed drumming to the way-side. So I was just rhyming for fun. When I was 17. My friends asked me to rock with them at a Black History Program they were having at their school. It was story book perfect! Back then I was heavy into the supreme mathematics, so I was just dropping jewels for the mind in every line. The performance came off dope. Right after that we formed a crew called the Hungry And Zooted (H.A.Z). It meant “Hungry for change and Zooted with contentment”. That’s the mental condition we find ourselves in. We are hungry as hell for shit to change, but we are so intoxicated with contentment that we don’t do what it takes to make the changes. From then on, I was in it to win it. We dropped a couple of E.Ps and a full length LP entitled Hazardous. All of them were underground classics! They are still in circulation today and now they are available for down load (to all of those who are interested). But through my experiences with H.A.Z , I got a feel for the music business and ended up working with a lot of people. Plus I got some good Midwest exposure. It only created within me a desire for more, so In 2005 I moved to Brooklyn. As a crew we put in a lot of work and had a descent amount of success, but at the same time it wasn’t enough to call it a lucrative career.
W: Since your start, how has the music and the industry changed? How is it better and how is it worse than what it was in the late 90′s?
QA: Music today is much more tailored for specific demographics. It’s to the point where people don’t even check for new shit anymore. I’m not mad about it, it just makes it a lot more difficult to break into the market. With the introduction of this whole digital market it’s easier for artist to make their music available, which is good. The adverse effect is that there much more music available and it creates fiercer competition in the market. The key is to be original and have
creative control over your projects. These record labels are losing money and don’t have a clue about what to do about it. To get a recording deal today is almost a losing battle, because big labels only know how to sell CD’s and nobody is buying them anymore. Less then 10% percent of these major recording artist are doing descent numbers so what record execs do is tailor new artist in the fashion of those couple of established, successful acts. It doesn’t work though.
So all of you dumb-ass, role troll rappers need to quit. Sounding like Little Wayne won’t get you anywhere. you have to come out your own and seriously get your hustle on or your not going to make it. My individuality lies in my use of real instruments and the perspective I come from lyrically. It’s not many emcees that address topics the way that I do. I hope to come off as an”outside of the box” thinker if nothing else
W: As you have mentioned, you got your start in Milwaukee, which some might or might now is where Speech of Arrested Development got his start as well Stricklyn from eMC. How is the scene in Milwaukee? What caused you to relocate to Brooklyn?
QA: Milwaukee is small and the mid-west isn’t as much of a plateau for music as is the east coast. So it was only logical for me to make a move. Some of the cats I got down with in Milwaukee had their shit together pretty tight. But in the mid-west the biggest hurdle is to be taken seriously as an art
ist. The locals usually look to the shit thats coming in rather then supporting the home grown shit. In NY the Homegrown shit is Biggie and Jay-Z. In Milwaukee we had the group Arrested Development, who made some noise back in the day. However, they didn’t really make a big impression on our city until they got national distribution and had videos and all of that. Local radio din’t play it until clear channel put it in the national rotation.
NY has treated me good!. I worked with a whole gang of talented Emcees. I put in a little under 3 years of work and “The Royal Parchment” is just now about to drop, but i’m already working on the next shit. I’m taking it back to grass roots, independent side and im very much into the live instruments. I’m starting to dabble in composing music. I want to make some timeless revolutionary shit.
W: You mentioned on your myspace page that you are working with Finsta of Finsta Bundy of Black Moon fame/rugged brooklyn boom bap music. How did you hook up with him?
QA: Me and my old crew are still cool. It’s just that, as we got older they started to get married and have kids so music became less of a priority them. That wasn’t the case for me. I came to BK, linked up with Finsta (half of the grimy 90′s Hip Hop duo Finsta Bundy) and DJ Evil Dee (Black Moon/ Beat Minerz). I don’t remember where I met Finsta. I just remember that we were chopping it up about music, he told me he made beats and we exchanged info. I hit him like week later, kicked some verse and he liked it. We started working on some tracks almost immediately. I didn’t even know who he really was then. We would go out on the scene and he knew so many people. When cats like Evill Dee and Rock Wilder would pop up and show him love I started asking questions. Little did I know the dude was a fucking NYC legend.
QA: When I describe my music to people I give a different response every time. This is the July ’08 version. Imagine if Duke Ellington and Marcus Garvey were combined to be one person who just happened to be born in the ’80′s and kicked rhymes. Now imagine this person backed by a live Jazz Ensemble with Dr. Dre on the drums. Thats what my music sounds like except it’s bit more niggerish.
W: Obviously, your music contains social overtones in it, what is your view on music’s role in the community and how they play off of each other?
QA: Music is supposed to be a reflection of the attitude of the people. As musicians/emcees we have a responsibility to keep that pure because music is, and always has been a universal communication system. I make sure my songs have some kind of social overtone because we are living in turbulent times and the stakes are so high. I would love to just chase pussy all day and talk about whatever on a track, but because of the circumstances, we have to operate with a sense of importance and priority. Our main objective should be self awareness and self
expression, since the lack of them seems to be our greatest pit fall. People are ignorant as to how to solve the issues that plague the globe, so we have to stimulate the kind of thinking that will generate the solutions that raise the quality of life. I feel that if people just did more of what they feel and less of what they are told, our problems would have been solved.
W: What is your take on hip hop in general? What is your view on NY hip hop, both as an outsider and as being a resident?
QA: The NYC Hip Hop scene is the perfect metaphor for the entire Hip Hop Industry. A whole lot of cats that aren’t original, and a few dope ass emcees who have been completely slept on. I want to mention Fresh Daily, Homeboy Sandman, and Faro-Z just to name a couple to check for.
I feel like most artist don’t know what the fuck to do, so they just run the same tired ass formula and gripe about the mediocre results. I find myself saying this alot, but Im going to say again. “Everything is Changing,” There are no rules and weak are being cancelled out. If NY hip hop was a basketball franchise I would say that this is a rebuilding year. In general I think Hip Hop will introduce an entirely new genre of American/International music. The Hip Hop we have today is the continuation of a line that can be traced back through Jazz, Soul, Rock, R&B and Funk. Technological advances have made it so easy to produce the music, but it’s gotten kind of boring. We have to make it a skill again in order to get some stuff out here thats interesting. We’ll see how it goes, but expect to see Quad Almighty rocking with live instruments every time.
W: What projects do you have out and what can we expect from you in the future?
QA: We made The Quad Almighty EP and the album that I’m dropping in September entitled The Royal Parchment: The Indoktrination of Dynastik Rationalizm. I dropped the Quad Almighty E.P. in the summer of 2007, put together the band (The Powers That Be) and we started doing shows all around NYC. That basically brings us up to date. You can catch Quad Almighty & The Powers That Be rocking live at the underground hip hop venue near you!
W: Any last words you’d like to say before we be out?
QA: Lastly I just want to say, ” Open up your eye’s, and use your fucking mind. Don’t be a dumb ass robot all of your life and stand up for what you believe in. Besides that, Peace To The Gods and check out my website. www.quadalmighty.com to find out about upcoming shows or any
W: Thanks man, and best of luck to you in the future!