Consequence: Beats, Rhymes, & Perseverance

Remember Consequence? Two years ago, that question might have probably yielded a puzzling look followed by a sudden recollection that might sound something like, “Oh yeah, I remember that kid, you talking about that cat they added to A Tribe Called Quest.” Yes, Consequence is “that cat” from A Tribe Called Quest’s 1996 album, Beats […]

Remember Consequence? Two years ago, that question might have probably yielded a puzzling look followed by a sudden recollection that might sound something like, “Oh yeah, I remember that kid, you talking about that cat they added to A Tribe Called Quest.”

Yes, Consequence is “that cat” from A Tribe Called Quest’s 1996 album, Beats Rhymes & Life. As a member of ATCQ, Consequence dropped memorable verses on songs like “Phony Rappers,” “Jam,” and “Stressed Out,” but soon after, it seemed like Consequence fell off of the earth. Tribe’s next and purported final album came and went without even a mention of Consequence, seemingly confirming his ouster from the ranks of Hip-Hop. Then six years later, in late 2002, Con emerged back on the scene with the mixtape, The Cons Vol.1: All Sales Are Final: a collection of underground songs that shined light on Cons new relationship with a gifted rising producer named Kanye West. Well, fast forward two years and we all know how the story ended for West, but Consequence is the still crafting his fairy tale ending.

With a collection of popular mixtape tracks and freestyles called Take Em To the Cleaners, Consequence is hustling on every possible level. A member of Kanye West’s Kon Man Music, Con is not only working on his debut release, Don’t Quite Your Day Job, but a novel of the same name. Having gotten a second breath in a game where even some the most talented don’t get a first breath, Consequence refuses to let this opportunity slip through his hands again. Just minutes before he was due in the studio with Hip-Hop violinist, Miri Bin-Ari, spoke with Con about dealing with this Hip-Hop game, his relationship with Kanye West, and how for him, there just isn’t anything else. What’s really good wit you?

Con: S**t, ya know, I got this new CD out and I’m [also] working on my commercial released album, a novel, touring – just working man. My album is called Don’t Quit Your Day Job, and I’m gone have a novel that’s gone be of the same title. What is it like to be able to get a “second chance” in such a fickle game?

Con: I’ve been blessed enough to be able to resurrect. I thank God for that, ‘cause not too many people get to debut and re-debut. I still have a lot more work to do, but I feel like that is an accomplishment in itself. ‘Cause when I came into the game with Tribe, not too many people from that era are still hot (laughs). So it is what it is. I’ve been kind of suspended in time for about eight years and I’ve learned a lot of lessons because of that. But it feels good as a mothaf***a to be back. It was a point where I thought I would never be doing this again. What do you think Kanye has done for Hip-Hop?

Con: The game is the game. It’s just like the NBA, it’s only as exciting as the players that play. The game needed a superstar and he’s like this year’s superstar. He’s having a breakout season. I know that you were hustling in the mixtape circuit before people were really connecting you to Kanye, but what role did he play in your re-emergence?

Con: We’ve been working for like a couple of years now, since about 2002. We have a give-and-take relationship: I give him advice, he gives me advice. We write together, we make music together. It’s been times were we haven’t agreed on everything and we’ve had to be honest with each other. But I think that honesty made our working relationship even better. Will your album also have a Roc-A-Fella imprint on it?

Con: Ummm, hmmmm, I, I mean (laughs). In all likelihood, maybe so. Most likely. You can put, “most likely,” (laughs). What is the album gonna sound like? Who are you working with?

Con: As far as production, I got Devo Springstein, he’s Kanye’s cousin, my man Baby Paul, my man Geology, 88 Keys, Scott Storch hopefully will do something, 9th Wonder, and my cousin (Q-Tip) may actually do something for me. We’re just in the beginning stages of the album though, only about six songs deep. You got any features planned? Are there any cats you really want to work with?

Con: Nope (laughs). Nah, you got to understand, with me being out of the game as long as I’ve been out the game, I’m real selfish with my album right now. I need to get my s**t off. I don’t know, I mean, I’ll f**k with the n*ggas [that] I already f**k with, but I’m not feeling outside dudes. Now there are dudes I could do something with, but I ain’t like, “Yo, I can’t close the album out without having Fabolous on it.” It ain’t like that for me. Your verse from “Spaceships” was cold man, but how true was it, was it really like that?

Con: Yeah, that’s the absolute truth. All the s**t I say in that verse is for real. I had to go get a job working security for Estee Lauder and s**t. One day I go to work and a muthaf***a comes in there like, “Yo, what up son? Yo son, I seen you last night son in a Busta Rhymes video.” I was like, “Nah, not me kid.” Then he was like, “N*gga that was you or you got a twin.” I was like, “Kid, I don’t really know what you talking about, you think I’d be here if I was in a f***ing video?” I couldn’t even be myself. What prevented you from just saying, “Yeah, that was me?’

Con: I couldn’t let him know that Consequence was doing that. ‘Cause I didn’t give up. I still was determined to get back in the game. I was going to the studio after work every other day. So, I couldn’t do that to my product. See, Consequence isn’t me, Consequence isn’t Raymond, he’s my product. I was still regrouping in my mind, I wasn’t done. So how could I let this man know that I had to resort to this. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, it’s what I had to do, I still had to eat. What kind of pressure does that create for you with this upcoming album?

Con: Son, it’s to the point that there is nothing else for me right now. There is nothing else. There is no chasing b***hes, there is no Play Station, there’s none of that. There’s just music, that’s it. It’s either this or crack somebody up side they motherf***in’ head for some paper. I shouldn’t have to do that cause I got a gift. What’s the word on your cousin (Q-Tip), you know what’s up with him?

Con: As far as I know, he’s in the studio. We talked about doing something for my album. There’s no love lost or nothing. It just depends on the economics of the business on whether or not we can do it. Back up to the novel you mentioned. What’s the theme?

Con: The lead character is an MC, and it’s somewhat autobiographical. I’m not gonna talk too much about it until the first draft is done, and everything is finalized. When do you expect your album to be ready?

Con: I’m gone to try and finish the s**t up over the course of the summer. I’m not really trying to rush it. So if it ain’t looking like September, then probably first quarter.

Take ‘Em to the Cleaners is in the stores now.