What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
“Just A Moment” served as Quan’s passport to critical acclaim. But, what has happened between 2004 and 2011? Once upon a time, he stood atop Hip-Hop’s mountain of success, his fingertips almost caressing stardom. Is “A Dream Deferred” the personification of Quan’s story? No. The Virginia veteran explains, “With this, Struggle [mixtape], I’m celebrating where I’m at. I’ve been through a lot of sh*t, [like] losing my son, and cases, and doing time.”
A solemn pause snatches his words before he continues, “My record deal didn’t go the way I wanted. In that aspect, to really have to face your dream, and ask for a release, that was a scary moment. I’m still here. I’m happy and I’m living a good life. My kids is straight. I’m not out this bitch broke and dirty. I’m good. I got money in my pocket; I’m aight. And I’m still doing music. Every time my pen touch the paper, or I go in the booth, I’m going to give you my best.”
The dream has not been deferred; it is still being carefully-shaped. The journey has been arduous, and the rewards will be appreciated. In this exclusive interview with, Quan, the MC talks Hip-Hop, Success, and the Struggle:
AllHipHop.com: What’s up with you? How are you doing?
Quan: I’m good, loving life, [and] taking it one day at a time.
AllHipHop.com: In 2004, you made your global debut on Nas’ album, Street Disciple. From then until now, how has Hip-Hop’s importance impacted your life?
Quan: My love for Hip-Hop is still what it is. It has impacted my life greatly. I was put in a position to make a living off of my music. So, it gave me a broader aspect [on life] than just depending on the streets, or turning to the streets in general. It’s been a blessing. It’s been a savior, put it that way.
AllHipHop.com: Do you like it, or do you love Hip-Hop?
Quan: I love it. I love the culture and the craft. I don’t agree with some of the politics. But the culture and the craft and what it does for our community—the good that it does—I love that. What it’s done for me, I love it. I’m a music lover, period. I love Blues, R&B, oldies but goodies, and I love Hip-Hop. I’m a music lover.
AllHipHop.com: With your encompassing love for music, do you feel that you convey your message best when you’re emceeing or when you‘re singing?
Quan: Yeah, it’s all about the message that I’m trying to send.
AllHipHop.com: What is that message?
Quan: It depends on what the song is and what I’m going through at that moment. It’s just not one message. I can be pissed off one day and my message might be, don’t f*ck with me. I might see something sad, and my message may be to bring attention to it. It just depends on what I’m trying to make you aware of at that moment. I just try to make sure that throughout it all that I’m saying something of importance. That’s my purpose. Nobody’s perfect; we’re all human. I just try to make sure that I’m not saying a bunch of nothing.
AllHipHop.com: What’s essential for you to reinforce your voice as an artist? How do you show musical growth and different aspects of your personality without having your core audience abandon you?
Quan: I feel like anybody who’s a core supporter of Quan, they understand me. They’ll understand my growth. You know what I mean? And it makes sense. First and foremost, it’s not like I deviate from who I am. No matter what I do, I’m always going to stay true to who I am. After that, as long as I’m staying true to who I am, those who are true to me, they’re going to follow. They’re gonna listen; they’re gonna hear it and check what I’m saying.
AllHipHop.com: As a man, how do you define success? Do you view yourself as successful?
Quan: As a man, I define success when you can make a living off of doing something that you love. Success is when you’re happy with what you got. Do I feel like I’m a successful artist? Yes, I do. I’ve had a great career thus far. But I know that there’s so much further that I can go. I don’t feel like I’ve reached my peak. I love music and it doesn’t matter to me. Everybody wants to sell a million plus records; yeah, definitely. I’m happy knowing that I can take care of my family – my children – off of something that I still love doing.
You know what I’m saying; that’s a blessing in itself. So, if I drop a CD and I do 20,000 or 30,000, or more, I can’t complain. 10,000 CDs in the ‘hood, that’s 50 stacks. In the ‘hood [selling] 5,000 CDs [amounts to] 25 grand. I know chicks that ain’t making $15,000 [a year], but they’re taking care of themselves and their children. So, how can I complain?
For a cat that’s been caught up in the streets for most of his life – penitentiary catches cases and all of that – to being a loving father, a family man, and an artist that a lot of people don’t mind hearing from, that’s a blessing to me. I can’t complain. I’m out here. I’m free. I’m not in nobody’s penitentiary for the rest of my life. I ain’t in nobody’s graveyard, or shot up. It was a learning experience. My music is real-life experiences, you know, and I’ve had a lot of them. Be it my story, or other people’s stories that are close to me, when I convey that through music, that’s what it is, real life. You know, when you have a project like, Until My Death, I never finished the album. I still have material for it.
When I do that album one day, I know what it’s going to be. With that album, I know what way I’m going to tell my story. With, Walking Testimony, I gave you a piece of what my life has been. But it’s not in as much detail as Until My Death. So, just like with this album that I’m about to drop in 2012, Glorious Struggle, that album is about the struggles that I have and me finding the glory in those struggles. Until My Death is my autobiography; so, I guess you can say, Walking Testimony, is an appetizer for, Until My Death. It’s a certain way that my life story has to be told. Troubled youth, confused adults, man and woman alike, need to hear that story. And maybe with them hearing that story, and learning that story, they can discover that they, too, can achieve their dreams and conquer any demons.
AllHipHop.com: Are you at peace with, Walking Testimony, being your debut album?
Quan: Yeah, it was an independent album. And by word-of-mouth, it reached a lot of people. It kept me relevant. I didn’t just fall off the face of the earth. It was a beautiful album with a lot of beautiful songs on it. I plan to re-release it one day. But the next time, there will be marketing, and promotions, and videos—this, that, and the third.
AllHipHop.com: Is, Until My Death, in lyrical purgatory? Has any of its intended content been released on other projects?
Quan: I easily have well over 400 songs that are sitting around and recorded, okay. With that being said, I know certain songs that I want on, Until My Death. It has to be done right and one day I will do it.
AllHipHop.com: So, you view, Until My Death, as your magnum opus, as your masterpiece?
Quan: I try to make any project I do a masterpiece, though. It’s just that my life’s story has to be told in a proper perspective, or I don’t think that people will understand it. It has to be done right. Then you’ll find out what made me the way that I turned out to be. You know what I’m saying, what affected me first, to make me go through the things that I did out here in the streets. I did God-knows-what to who knows-who. It shows how I’ve grown into the man that I’ve come to be. In time, people will see—I don’t want to just focus on my dark past—I just want to tell it the way that it should be told.
AllHipHop.com: Earlier you mentioned, Glorious Struggle, you album which drops in 2012. What can you tell us about that and what other projects are you working on?
Quan: Well, you know, I got the, Struggle mixtape that dropped November 15. And I got a few other things lined up. Basically, I’m raising awareness to this, Glorious Struggle, project. I’m going to put out a mixtape, or two, for free. When 2012 comes around, I have Glorious Struggle. It has A-1 production and great features on there. Shout out to my man, Pusha T.
AllHipHop.com: Oh, yes!
Quan: We have a big record. I think it’s going to do real well. I’ excited; because, I’ve made the decision that I’m going to sing and I’ma rap. I’m going to go in and really show people how to do this singing and rapping sh*t. Being that I was one of the first to really do it in the aspect that I was doing it for the mainstream. I really sing and rap; I don’t need Auto-Tune. And I got bars. I can get on a track with any MCs. It can be one of your “Top Five Dead or Alive” MCs. Or, it can be the rawest one from your block, I’ll go bar for bar. Just like I can do a duet with Mary J. Blige and hold my own, with no problem.
AllHipHop.com: I respect your confidence. Where can we get the Struggle mixtape? How may folks contact you?
Quan: I’m giving it away; it’s everywhere. It’s a free download, you can also go to www.OfficialQuan.com. Links to my Facebook, Twitter, all that is up there; my YouTube channel is “Quan757bn.” My whole collection, my five mixtapes, and Walking Testimony album for free. I just ask that they leave a comment and play it loud. You know what I’m saying. That’s it.
AllHipHop.com: That’s what’s up. Until the next time, what would you like to share with your supporters?
Quan: I appreciate all the love and support that my fans have given me throughout the years. I’m never going to stop. I’m not going anywhere, but to the top. I appreciate it all; holla at me any time. Download that Struggle mixtape; play it loud! And cop that, Glorious Struggle, album [that’s] coming in 2012. God bless you. Love is a verb. Kingz nation is the mob!