Quan: Man Up

“It’s another Warrior Song, from Nasty and Quan/ It’s to him I pass the baton, to carry this on” – Nas, from “Just A Moment”

For Don Ferquan (better known simply as Quan), this cosign from one of the game’s all-time greats is the official genesis of an illmatic talent. Far from an overnight celebrity, Quan’s road to the Street’s Disciple tracklisting has been quite arduous. Born in Connecticut and raised in Newport “Bad” News, Virginia, the 26-year-old has endured through an eleven-year saga of court cases, prison bids, and family-related drama. Using both God and Rap music as guiding lights, the multi-talent is ready to turn years of strife into a positive MC life. Currently involved in a label bidding war, the Ill Will advocate hopes to release his debut, Until My Death , by the fall, with production from the likes of L.E.S., Red Spyda, and Buckwild solidified.

An open book possessing unique candidness, Quan recently engaged in some truly real talk with AllHipHop.com. Detailing the struggles that have brought him into 2005, revealing the true story of “Just A Moment,” and offering sharp insight on Rap’s current clientele, Quan pulls no punches. Consider this your formal introduction to the man Nas has already christened as “Rap’s future.”

AllHipHop.com: Let’s start from the beginning. Before you went to jail, were you heavy into rapping and making music?

Quan: Yeah, I was rhyming before jail, like on the block. I’d write verses, and I was considered as one of the illest n***as in my hood. People talk about Rap music, but the music wasn’t putting any money into my pockets like the crack was. I wanted it, but I didn’t know how to get it. There wasn’t anybody from my hood in the hip-hop industry, at that time at least. Jay-Z used to come around my way in Virginia a lot back then, and he didn’t even get his deal until after I got locked up.

AllHipHop.com: Really? So you were cool with Jay-Z back then?

Quan: Let me break it down for you. When I moved to Bad News, Virginia, I met a friend of mine who became my best friend. Jay used to come to Virginia and f**k with him and my n***as, ‘cause they were dudes from New York. That’s how I met him. His name was ringing bells, but he hadn’t popped yet. People were in the hood doing what they were doing, and I end up getting locked up. People were trying to tell me to chill, but I was on that young s**t, not trying to hear anybody. I was trying to get that money. That sent me to prison, and this is right after Jay released “In My Lifetime.” I get locked up, and a couple of months later, he and Foxy Brown drop “Ain’t No N***a.” At that age back then, I knew I could have ran with anybody, including Jay. My n***as in the hood were mad at me for that, for messing up and not taking advantage of my connection to Jay. To see him succeed, it let me know that this Rap thing is for real.

AllHipHop.com: When exactly did you first go to jail?

Quan: The first time that I went in was in 1994, and that was for six months. I stayed out for like two years, but I came back to like nine cases. There was a whole lot of crazy s**t going on in my hood at that time. I came home and tried to chill, but I got caught back up in the same s**t. I needed and wanted money. N***as was trying to kill me. It was on and popping, so next thing you know, I was busting guns, hustling, and robbing n***as. I come back with nine cases, and they really wanted me. For real, I was supposed to beat those cases, but they wanted me that bad and I was that hot that they were determined not to let me go. So, n***as turned snitch to be let go, and they bagged me and my man. I was facing life and 36 years, but I came from up under that They gave me 23 years, suspended 15, and I ended up doing seven years and some change. I fell in April of 1996, and I came home in May of 2003.

AllHipHop.com: While you were locked up, you got heavier into the songwriting, correct?

Quan: Yeah, I definitely got heavier into the music. My options were either rhyme or crime. That’s all it was. Either I’m going to get these means flipping this coke, or I’m going to get these means flipping these words. It was that simple. My mother and my stepfather did their jobs. I was spiraling downwards.

AllHipHop.com: How were you able to bring yourself back up from that downward spiral?

Quan: I found love for self. I had to stop being selfish, because everything I was going through, it was affecting my family, too. I wasn’t the only one doing that time. My whole family was suffering with me. Long story short, I started f***ing with the piano and learned how to arrange songs and learned some chords.

AllHipHop.com: That being the case, how quickly did you jump into the music once you came home?

Quan: I got out of jail on a Wednesday my man, and I went in to the studio that Friday. Before p**sy juice on my d**k could dry, man, I was in the studio. My manager, she introduced me to L.E.S., and we did some songs together. One of those songs was “Just A Moment.” Nas heard it and dropped something to it. He put it on the album, people went crazy about it, and you know the rest.

AllHipHop.com: So “Just A Moment” was actually your song originally?

Quan: Yeah. I had it done already before it went on Nas’ album.

AllHipHop.com: So was it a surprise to you that it ended up on Street’s Disciple ?

Quan: Yeah, it was crazy. I hadn’t even heard it finished before I spoke to Nas about it. We were just kicking it, talking about some things. I had already gone to a few labels, and never got any paper work or anything. S**t was just going wrong for me.

AllHipHop.com: Once Nas put it on his album, though, did you expect it to be a single?

Quan: I new I had a hit. I love that song, and I wrote that song for my hood. That song wasn’t really written for the world. It’s a worldly song, but it was written for my hood really. I had just lost friends. My homies were dying left and right. My sister Tia got sent to f***ing Iraq. My brother was in the feds with five years. That’s how that song came about. I wanted to let my n***as that died know that they can live through me. Your fiancé is f***ing another n***a, your grandmother is sick, and your godmother just died. I’m in the hole, in jail, which is a five by seven little spot. All I was getting were two phone calls a month and two showers a week. That’s what made the kid, man. God guided me all the way through all that. That song was written while I was in jail, so it came from a serious point in my life. I had to show my mother that I could do something different.

AllHipHop.com: Do you think the song’s message and feel are going to make people expect all conscious music from you now?

Quan: Right now, I think they’re trying to put me in a box. If you’ve heard my freestyle on Hot 97, you already know what it is. I’m a product of the street. That’s what you’re going to get. You’ll get life from me. My image is realness, and my purpose is to show the Black youth that you can come from the streets, the gutter, or the penitentiary, and still be able to reach deep down and pull the best out of yourself and do big things. You don’t have to settle just because you made some f***ed up decisions and choices. I want to let my soldiers know that it’s cool to keep it gangsta and give God his glory.

AllHipHop.com: It seems like God plays a huge part in your life.

Quan: Definitely, man. I was a n***a that was gutter and was real dirty. I was a monster out there, and I’ve done some foul s**t in my life. God still has seen a light in me, you know, and he’s been able to bestow many blessings upon me.

AllHipHop.com: For Nas to say he’s passing his baton to you on “Just A Moment” is a serious compliment. How do you feel about his comment?

Quan: For Nas to look at me and say that, damn right that’s pressure. Pressure is the same thing that makes a diamond what it is, though. I don’t have any problem with it. I feel honored that he sees something with me to call me the future. That’s an honor, because there are a lot of n***as who have had the opportunity to hold somebody’s baton, but they couldn’t hold the weight. I know that I can hold the weight.

AllHipHop.com: It seems like everything is going great for you these days.

Quan: Yeah. With every gift, though, there is a curse. There are a lot of preconceived notions. Some people are expecting a n***a to fail. Your face is on the screen, and your name is getting known. F**k the naysayers, and f**k the haters. I’m not even trying see any battles either, because these n***as have the beef concept all f***ed up.

AllHipHop.com: What do you mean by that?

Quan: I can show a rapper some real beef. I can show a n***a beef by taking him to the funeral home around my way in Virginia. I can show him beef sitting outside his mother’s house with a chopper, waiting for him to come home. I can have your mother duct taped to a chair, while a n***a run through the crib trying to find where the money and the coke are at. That’s beef. You holding your man’s body, and half of his head is spread out across the street, and what was a beautiful white tee is now a messed up red one. What these n***as are talking about is no more than friendly competition. Nobody really wants to die or murder for real.

AllHipHop.com: On that real note, do you have anything to say to the Rap world before you break out?

Quan: I have a quote from a rhyme of mine for the people. “If I could silence every rapper that never killed or sold crack, I swear the glory days of Hip-Hop would be back.”

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