A gold album might be common
or sub par in todays 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
Building off of his own unique
experiences and guided by the blueprint left by his father, its safe
to say that QD3 is a modern day renaissance man, capturing the essence
of the urban culture in every way possible. Whether its 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: Isnt 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
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 didnt
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 didnt
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, “Wont 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 wasnt 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 isnt a negative side to it.
AllHipHop.com: What’s the biggest influence you feel you’ve had on the
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. Hes 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 didnt smoke, drink or anything, because
I knew what I was doing was a part of history.
I wasnt into reading, until
I heard KRS Ones You Must Learn.” Artists today dont understand
their power. Like, music is a form of true expression, it’s not a hustle.
And I dont mean to speak badly of them, but maybe they didnt 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 dont 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 hes 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, its 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 wouldnt 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. Theyre doing stuff at 15 and 16 that I didnt 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
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 didnt see people in rock
& roll doing perfume lines and clothing lines. I think this generation
is much more entrepreneurial than my generation was. We didnt 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
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: Thats whats
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
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. Its 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 its
in the works. People can visit my site, www.qd3.com
for now, to keep up with what Im 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, Im 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, Im all for that.