How do you spell legend? With just one letter: Q. Quincy Delight Jones Jr. is a man who for the past six decades has carved a path so strong in the music industry, that his footprints were deep enough for others to follow. As Michael Jacksons Thriller just celebrated its 25th Anniversary (December 1), it brings to light an important fact that there havent been many artists or albums that in some way werent touched by Mr. Quincy Jones. From Frank Sinatra to Tupac Shakur, Quincy Jones makes music with no boundaries as standalone singles, projects, or Hip-Hop samples. Its no wonder why Astronaut Leland Melvin has chosen Jones 1969 classic Walking In Space as his song choice for waking up in space. The talents of Quincy Jones have awakened us all, and it was the greatest honor imaginable to have this living legend sit down and discuss his running history with us. As someone whose body of work competes with his number of frequent flyer miles, Quincy enjoys traveling the world as a philanthropist just as much as he enjoys making records. His latest venture Star Camp with his son Quincy III and Nick Cannon brings state-of-the-art technology to shaping young creative minds with the gifts of singing, dancing, and rapping. In addition, there are new album projects coming soon. His mantra of worldwide betterment through music is one that we should all be driven enough to maintain. But its all in a days work, or as Quincy puts it, global gumbo. AllHipHop.com Alternatives: Mr. Quincy Jones, its such an honor to be speaking with you.Quincy Jones: Why thank you, honey, where are you?AHHA: Im in New York well, sort of. Im in New Jersey.Quincy Jones: [laughs] Thats the country.AHHA: Yes, Im actually camping right now. [laughs]Quincy Jones: [laughs] They used to have that old joke way back in the day. A Southern brother came up from Florida dying to get to New York, and he got to Newark, and the conductor said, New Ark! He jumped off and in three years he got to New York. [laughs]AHHA: What did Woody Allen say? Anytime youre outside of New York, youre camping.Quincy Jones: Thats right! [laughs] Youre camping, huh.AHHA: Thats right.Quincy Jones: God bless ya, honey.AHHA: So how are you today?Quincy Jones: Okay, just lots of stuff to do as usual.AHHA: Well first, congratulations on being honored by the Grammys Quincy Jones: Thank you. Fifty years ago, were sitting around the room saying, Maybe it would be a good idea to have a record academy. And weve got one. Its amazing. AHHA: Also, congratulations on Star Camp. Your son [QD3] sent us the link and it looks amazing. Quincy Jones: It is the most moving, wait until you see it. [The kids] are so talented, honey, and committed. Weve really chosen the right eight kids for the right reasons. They have this mission; theyve got their goals in sight. So much passion behind it, and insight. One girl shes a singer, I couldnt believe it said she likes all those singers from back in the day, the 40s and all. That really impresses me, because it means theyre into the legacy and all. Really incredible singers, dancers, rappers and everything. [Star Camp] really gives them a goal to get into a [career] that they can spend the rest of their lives depending on. Being creative, its wonderful. I mean really, really wonderful. I was more than moved, I was touched you know? Theyre young too. One of them is 13 years old and says, I want to be a role model. [I said], Well thats a big commitment, you know? You have to act like one. A lot of the old ones out there dont know how to do that. [laughs] AHHA: What is it like working so closely with your son [QD3] on this project?Quincy Jones: Thats the biggest thrill of all. My son has been a professional for a long time, and weve done a lot of things together, but were getting more and more into television production and DVDs. He has a great DVD company. I just got the rights to a movie were gonna do together a big movie about the Black gangsters. Its called The Policy Kings. Those were the Jones boys my daddy worked for in Chicago when I was a kid. They were no joke, honey. No joke.AHHA: Im Italian, so I can only imagine Quincy Jones: Youre Italian. You know whats up then. [laughs]AHHA: Italian from New Jersey.Quincy Jones: Thats right. I know all those Jersey boys. Pesci was here the other day. Joe Pesci, hes from Jersey. So are [Jack] Nicholson, [John] Travolta. Those are all my dogs. Ive been around Pesci or even Jack before they happened. Before [Jack Nicholson] did Easy Rider. Joe Pesci, were gonna produce his next album, singing. Hes brilliant. Oh boy hes brilliant. Ive worked with the best and he is no joke. He is fantastic. AHHA: And of course, youve worked with Michael Jackson Quincy Jones: Everybody [laughs] Ella [Fitzgerald], [Count] Basie, Duke [Ellington], Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Sinatra, Paul Simon, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Dinah Washington, Nina Simone, Michael Jackson, rappers two dozen rappers. [laughs] Ice-T, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee. Everybody. Just amazing. I look back sometimes and say, How did that happen? But its been 60 years, you know?AHHA: I remember you were rapping with Melle Mel on stage at the Arsenio Hall Show.Quincy Jones: Thats right! I remember when Arsenio first came out here [LA]. He was in a show down at the Roxy opening act. He came out, and they announced him as one Pip that left Gladys Knight. [laughs] He was doing all of those background dances, and then would go up to the mic and say, Roo Roo! [laughs] Greatest act I ever saw in my life. Thats a brother from Cleveland. AHHA: I know there has been talk of a Michael Jackson comeback record. Would you have any hand in the production of that?Quincy Jones: Nobodys told me about that or anything like that. Number one, were so overextended, but no nobodys even talked to me about it. I saw it in the Post too about [working with] Whitney [Houston] and Michael. Its not true! Nobody called me about that. With my international foundation work, which is extensive in Cambodia, Brazil, Kidali, South Africa, its so much time. Thats my real passion, my foundation. Were working with Harvard now and with the International Development Fund and Inter-American Development Fund for Katrina and Latin America. Were going down [to New Orleans] in February to film with Brett Ratner. Its just wonderful.AHHA: Thats phenomenal. Rumor has it youre also going to be working with the Olympics Quincy Jones: Yes in Bejing, but before that I wrote the theme for the Special Olympics. Its exciting. Weve been busy, busy, busy. I like being busy. Especially if its something youre passionate about. These kids to me are number one because they symbolize the future of the country in reaching out to other countries and having allies that love each other. I spend a lot of time traveling so I know the territory backwards for 54 years. Our problem is we have 11% of Americans that have passports and only 6% use them. We dont know whats going on outside of this country. I just advise young people no matter how you do it, with backpacks or whatever to travel. Jamaica and Saint Barts dont count. [laughs] Im serious, the Bahamas doesnt count. Im talking about getting over there where stuff is going on. Go to Croatia. Travel around, go to Cairo, Kidali.AHHA: Definitely.Quincy Jones: Youre Italian. Do you speak Italian?AHHA: You know whats funny I speak more Spanish than I do Italian. Quincy Jones: More Spanish? Really? Youve got a little ghetto goin there too. I like that. [laughs] I call that the global gumbo. Thats where were going to go with our kids, teaching them how to be producers, writers, and singers and actors, etc. to fill their lives. Then were going to interface them with kids like the Coconut Kids of Cambodia and everywhere else so that they can introduce other kids to the rest of the world. I think its very important. Do you travel much?AHHA: I try to. Its hard with school and work.Quincy Jones: How old are you?AHHA: Im 28. Quincy Jones: You sound like youre 14. [laughs] Thats very nice. I have six daughters of my own you know AHHA: Yes, I know. I watched The Office.Quincy Jones: Then you know Rashida!AHHA: Yes and I know Aaliyah, God rest her soul, was very good friends with your daughter Kidada. Quincy Jones: Aaliyah used to stay at my house; she was like one of my daughters. I love that little girl. I have her picture right on my desk. Just love her.AHHA: You also knew the late Tupac Shakur was quite well Quincy Jones: All of them. You know, personally Ive lost 97 friends in a year and a half. It was really heavy. The ones Aaliyahs age and Tupacs and Biggies its just terrifying. AHHA: In your book Q, theres a point where Kidada was speaking about Tupac making some comments about your family, and then later apologizing. Then Tupac had to sit down and meet you and talk to you one day when he and Kidada were at a deli. What was that like when you were sitting down in that deli and you told him you had to come speak to him?Quincy Jones: What happened was he said something, I think it was in the Source. He dissed me about my kids being mixed. I dont like that and neither does my son. [laughs] So I was going to Jerrys Deli one night and I was dropping Rashida off, and lo and behold theres Tupac sittin in the booth with Kidada. Like an idiot, I jump over to the back of him and put both hands on his shoulders and yelled, HA! Thank God he wasnt packin and all. [laughs] AHHA: Oh my goodness!Quincy Jones: Anyway, I wasnt worried about that. I was raised in Chicago, honey. Are you kidding? Thats the OG ghetto. So I said, Pac we have to talk a minute. We went over and sat down. He had written an apology before that, so that was out of the way because he apologized. At that point, I could tell he was falling in love with my daughter and she was in love with him. So we sat down, and he was so beautiful. We became really good friends after that day. He said he didnt even have that kind of relationship with his own father that somebody cared about his future and all that stuff. We became very good friends. At one point I was gonna do Pimp with him and Snoop Dogg, the film. We used to talk on the phone, [Tupac] was very excited about it. Then after a series of events, we lost a very young brother. Very brilliant. I came to know him through the letters he wrote to Kidada. Brilliant writer. Jada Pinkett Smith told me she went to high school with him in Baltimore and he was an A student. With screenplays and everything; a lot of that other stuff was psychodrama, just trying to be a gangster. But he was a very bright kid. In fact, I was very proud that we inadvertently shared one of his biggest records, How Do U Want It? he used my sample from Body Heat on that. There was some kind of divine connection there, but my daughter was responsible for us hookin up.AHHA: When the Vibe cover with Tupac and Biggie was released Quincy Jones: The magazines, they imitate life. [Magazines arent] the cause, theyre the effect. We had summits at my magazine Vibe at the time, we had Colin Powell, Flava Flav, everybody, we had real private summits to keep [violence in Hip-Hop] from happening. I remember Colin Powell asking for two hours to come up, and he ended up staying for five hours. It was heavy, and Biggie was there, Public Enemy, everyone was there. Weve always been connected as a community, and always will be. I think that Hip-Hop can be so vital in revolutionizing education. I really do. Peace is hard, but keep the knowledge. Drop the knowledge. The young kids need it now too.Watch Tupac’s “How Do U Want?” which samples Quincy Jones’ “Body Heat”
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part Two of Quincy Jones!