QD3: Like Son, Like Father

qd32

A gold album might be common

or sub par in today’s society, but for a 16 year-old Swedish-American

in 1984, it was extraordinary. Such is the story of Quincy Jones, III,

the son of music legend Quincy Jones. Not to be confused with his father,

QD3, as he is prevalently known in the industry, created a lane for

himself in Hip-Hop music, and has become most noted for his work with

Tupac Shakur, Ice Cube and LL Cool J, along with his popular BEEF

DVD series. 

Building off of his own unique

experiences and guided by the blueprint left by his father, it’s safe

to say that QD3 is a modern day renaissance man, capturing the essence

of the urban culture in every way possible. Whether it’s the launch

of his new show on reality show on Nickelodeon, the release of the latest

installment of the BEEF series, the development of the QD3 multimedia

dynasty or simply breaking, he certainly has a lot to talk about; and

who better to converse with than AllHipHop.com?  

 

AllHipHop.com: Isn’t it good

to be known as QD3 and have your own identity?  Have you had any struggles

in the industry having a living music legend like Quincy Jones as a

father? 

QD3: It was interesting because

I grew up in Sweden.  I had a pretty normal life out there, because it’s

a socialist country.  So when I was growing up, a lot of people didn’t

believe my dad was Quincy Jones.  I would bring Michael Jackson records

to school and they’d be like, “Why are you living here if your dad

is famous?”  But when I moved to the U.S., everybody assumed I grew

up in Beverly Hills because of who my dad was.  So, I didn’t

encounter the type of issues that a lot of people in my position would

have encountered, at first.

 When I moved to the states

though, and when I’d go to South Central to work with Hip-Hop artists,

they’d be like, “Won’t you go do your Fresh Prince stuff.” 

So in that sense, it was a little difficult to break the perception

that they had of me.  But part of everyone’s journey in breaking into

music is filled with obstacles. It was no different for me.

 AllHipHop.com: Has your decision

to produce primarily Hip-Hop records had anything to do with not living

in the shadow of his father? 

QD3: I’ll be honest with you;

so many adults would ask me, “So you want to be just like your

father?” And at the time I felt like if I did do music, people

would think I was just like him so initially it wasn’t a thought. 

But then again, genes are strong, so here I am in music.  And I would

love to follow in his footsteps, doing music with reason, not just to

make money. So there isn’t a negative side to it. 

 

AllHipHop.com: What’s the biggest influence you feel you’ve had on the

Hip-Hop culture?  

QD3: When we discussed music,

my dad would say, “I respect where you guys are coming from but you

guys need melody and original music.”  So I wanted to be one of the

first cats to use original music instead of samples.  And in terms of

the media side, I was watching MTV and they had a documentary on Hip-Hop

that I felt was lacking some core things, so I called on all the people

I worked with and met in South Bronx and gathered history and actual

facts.  Not that MTV did a bad job, but I felt that effective documentation

that rings true to the culture of Hip-Hop at its beginning was necessary.

 

AllHipHop.com: Do you think

young cats do that anymore-reflect on their contribution to this culture? 

QD3: That’s something me and

my father talk about all the time, and I value that.  He’s given me

a vantage point on this culture in general, so it gave me a respect

for this culture, and I knew I always knew I was making history.  So

when I went into the studio, I didn’t smoke, drink or anything, because

I knew what I was doing was a part of history.

 I wasn’t into reading, until

I heard KRS One’s “You Must Learn.” Artists today don’t understand

their power.  Like, music is a form of true expression, it’s not a hustle.

And I don’t mean to speak badly of them, but maybe they didn’t have

anyone to teach them.  But it’s also a societal thing these days. There

could be more substance in some ways, because not only are we affecting

our own demographic, we’re painting a picture of what others see of

our demographic.  They don’t live in Bedstuy or South Central, so the

only entry point they have is through us and our representation.

 AllHipHop.com: You are one

of the most well-respected guys in Hip-Hop, whether people know it or

not.  Despite that fact, what are some things you feel you’ve learned

from some of the newer producers that may add something to your production?  

QD3: Kanye is somebody I learn

from, because I think he’s saying that this is the definition of what

people consider urban, but he’s going to redefine it. So everything

he does is pushing the envelope.  And sometimes he says things that are

counterproductive to his image, but he speaks truth and he knows that

no matter what, it’s a step forward.  Like in his music, you can hear

him mixing the old and new and making the best of it.  So in a lot of

ways, he’s doing what my pops did-taking all these genres and making

gumbo out of it.  So I really respect him.

 AllHipHop.com: You spent the

bulk of your childhood in Sweden.  When was it that you developed a first-hand love

for Hip-Hop and Soul music? QD3: It started when I was

twelve. I grew up in a single-mother household, and had the issues associated

with that. I was a bit of a trouble maker, but I remember watching this

documentary on Hip-Hop, so I got into it.  It featured breaking and stuff. 

So I started breaking.  Then I later started doing beats for local acts,

and that went well.  Then shortly after that I scored my first independent

film. Then when I was 16, my mom and I moved to NY. When I first got

out on my own, my roommate was T La Rock. He was first artists signed

to Def Jam. We lived right across the street from Bushwick Projects,

and so he would introduce me to Melle Mel and Cool, before they became

who they were.  I met everyone from KRS One to Rakim, very early.

I later moved to LA and was

working with several Hip-Hop artists on that end, from Ice Cube and

Dr. Dre, before they got with NWA, then Tupac. Then at the time I did

a lot of television scoring, The

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Menace to Society, etc.

AllHipHop.com: You are working

on a new reality show, Starcamp, with your father and Nick Cannon. 

Can you explain how the concept for the show came about? 

QD3: Basically, two friends

brought me the idea, and one of the guys had a past in gang life out

here [in LA].  He spent some time in jail, and when he got out he wanted

to do something for the kids.  So we thought this might be a good way

for inner city kids that wouldn’t have a medium to otherwise show

their talent, to show their talent nationally and internationally. So

it’s a way to encourage their careers, and entrepreneurialism at a young

age.  They are into music, but like, they all have their own side hustles. 

And sometimes when you watch MTV Cribs, you get a false sense

of what it takes to make it.  It looks like, “Oh they are rappin’

and now they have a big house,” but this is giving you the real.  Plus,

these kids are amazing.  Like, they arrange vocals, they engineer, they

write, produce. They’re doing stuff at 15 and 16 that I didn’t learn

until I was in my 20s.

 AllHipHop.com: Nick Cannon

is a power player that stays really low key.  What has it been like working

with him? 

QD3: We were looking for someone

who could host the show, and he had such an incredible track record. 

Plus, he has a great relationship with Nickelodeon, and he was writing

before he was even on the Nick shows.  And he’s always been into music.

Besides, Nick [Cannon] has a good heart and always wants to help the

kids, so he’s been a great partner.

 

AllHipHop.com:  Nick, like you,

has mastered music, TV, movies.  How important do you feel it is for

young, Black entertainers to take advantage of the many opportunities

available in today’s society?  

QD3: In a lot of way, Hip-Hop

invented the expansion model, because you didn’t see people in rock

& roll doing perfume lines and clothing lines.  I think this generation

is much more entrepreneurial than my generation was.  We didn’t know

enough about the business, but this generation is on top of things,

business wise.  Like, 50 Cent trademarked G-Unit, and when he speaks,

he speaks like a business man.  But I think if we could merge the heart

and soul with the entrepreneurial side of this generation, it’d be over.

 

AllhipHop.com: You’re big on the independent film tip. Out of the whole

QD3 collection, which movies do you feel are the most popular?

 

QD3: Umm, probably BEEF, Thug Angel, and another film

I get more feedback on than any other, The

Freshest Kids. The Freshest Kids

is about the evolution of the B-Boy, which is one of my favorites because

I started out as a B-boy.

 

AllHiphop.com: Dope. The BEEF DVD series has garnered a large

following and mass respect in the Hip-Hop community. What has the feedback

been like since the series released?  QD3: It’s all been good. Some

people might have thought, because of the title, that we were going

to exploit beef, but I wanted to explain the different factors that

go into it. For instance, when Tupac passed away, we wanted to humanize

the beef, show his mother grieving, the people depending on him, etc. 

Shows like those on MTV will only show him yelling, takin’ his shirt

off and throwing up the West Side sign.  So for us, it was a way to find

a resolution, [rather] than to focus on beef itself.  That’s why we brought

in people like Afeni Shakur and KRS One, who says he was rapping about

oozies until his partner got shot then he stopped.  We just want to educate

people on the totality of the beef.  So that’s what that series was really

all about, and people have been receiving it as such.

AllHipHop.com:  Do you think

the films are affective in keeping the beef on records and out of the

streets? 

QD3: I think it [has] educated

people. And one thing that happens behind closed doors is that we talk

to both sides before hand to make sure it’s accurate. And we find that

a lot of times, the beef gets squashed behind the scenes because of

a misunderstanding. So it has been affective, I think.

AllHipHop.com: That’s what’s

up. What can we expect to hear from you in the future, as far as music

is concerned?  Are you working with any artists presently, anything coming

up? 

QD3: We have a broadband channel,

and a channel on Comcast where you can hear my music, but we are trying

to tie it all together- the DVDs and the music. It’s kind of a hybrid,

because the CD is a novelty now.  I mean, kids spend their time on the

Internet, so we are trying to accommodate that lifestyle. So it’s

in the works. People can visit my site, www.qd3.com

for now, to keep up with what I’m working on.

 

AllHipHop.com: If you could

choose one other thing to be doing right now, besides this entertainment

thing, what would it be?

 

QD3: I would probably say real estate or philanthropy, because I stay

on real estate sites looking at pads.  Then at the same time, I’m all

for helping people progress.  My mom was heavy on drugs for the first

30 years of my life, so I know that life first-hand. And if I could

be in a position to help people, I’m all for that.

 

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