Don Ferquan, better known as Quan, wants us to know hes back with a lyrical vengeance. After Nas introduced him to the world on the single Just A Moment from the Streets Disciple album, the no-nonsense artist has matured both mentally and spiritually since his constant legal run-ins and greater background role at Nass Ill Will Records.
Quan wants to solidify his position in the game as a recognizable MC, singer and songwriter, and has emphasized his desire to end many of the rumors that echo in the streets.
Despite Quans recent success and lucrative record deal with Atlantic Records - which he still credits to Nas - the Virginia native claims life hasnt been a bed of roses. Quans album, Until My Death, is set to be released early next year, and has the streets brimming with anticipation. Regardless, Quan admits that he is still plagued with drama from personal choices in the past, and is cautious when it comes to discussing certain matters.
AllHipHop.com: When exactly did you start rhyming and singing? What were your influences?
Quan: I started rhyming first but singing has always been in my family. My father, my uncle, my aunts, they would all sing. I got cousins in Atlanta thats major songwriters and producers.
AllHipHop.com: You grew up in New Port Bad News Virginia where you got into some legal issues. What were you like back then, and describe yourself now.
Quan: I was in prison and had to calm it down a bit. Some people choose to do a 9-to-5 and I always wanted nice things. I was following in the footsteps of my biological father and uncles. They were always in the streets. I wanted to have stuff and sold my soul for it. I got it back though. Before, I was busting guns and selling drugs. At that time I didnt care about anything, just my money and my click - I had put my crew before my family. Right now, Im a different person, Im still a hustler, that will never change, but Im more focused and I learned to love my family cause they were suffering with me.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned in a previous interview with us that two days after you got out of prison, you were back in the studio and were fortunate to get introduced to L.E.S. Was this the turning point that made you take things more seriously?
Quan: I had my mind made up before I got out of prison. It was a whole lot of things. They almost gave me the death penalty but that wasnt even the turning point. The actual turning point was when they wanted to give me 23 years at Southampton Correctional Facility for robbery and weapon charges with no parole. The turning point was seeing dudes die in prison. Its been a whole learning process.
AllHipHop.com: Rumor has it that you made some moves that Nas didnt like and that is what dissolved the relationship. What happened?
Quan: [laughs lightly] Let me say that when I came home, after a while I met L.E.S, we did three songs. Nas liked my music and he put Just a Moment on his album. I learned a lot from [Nas] but as far as what went down, Im not ready to talk about it yet. Honestly, I think its miscommunication. We used to speak kinda frequently. Its a delicate situation, and I cant afford any problems regarding that. Im very grateful for everything Nas has done for me. Nas helped me secure one of the biggest record deals in 2005 [with Atlantic]. I do wanna sit down with the dude one day and talk face to face.
AllHipHop.com: Fair enough. What was it like touring with Nas? Did he give you advice about the business?
Quan: It was a beautiful experience. A lot of it was learning and watching. I learned a lot by just watching. Im thankful for him in believing in me enough to put my music on his album.
AllHipHop.com: Just a Moment was a big hit. Do you think youll come back that strong the second time around?
Quan: Its not an option, trust me. I got some bangers. The music is there, its just politics that can hold things up.
AllHipHop.com: Since youre a songwriter, singer and rapper, do you plan to write for other people? How has your songwriting process grown in the past year since the public got an idea of what youre capable of?
Quan: I write for other people, no one major but I have artists in South Carolina. Theres always room to grow and get better. Im a perfectionist. I write all the time, every chance I get, I write rhymes and songs.
AllHipHop.com: You were locked up for awhile. Do you regret anything, business decisions that youve made in the past?
Quan: Theres a lot of things you wish you could change but you cant. I feel like Im still sane, here, and standing. When Just a Moment was in heavy rotation everything was hot. When everyone knows your face, theres certain things you dont do. Like Nas said, some beefs are everlasting. I learned that you just gotta have faith. Things do follow you. I had to die a few times in order to live. Ive faced death literally on more than one occasion and I learned from it. Everything I went through created who I am.
The choices you make today will definitely follow you tomorrow - I just have to live with that. Early next year, if I have my way, the album will be released. I got a beautiful label and people in my corner. Im married to my music and my son [born this past February] is my boss. Thats who I work for.
AllHipHop.com: What artists are you feeling right now? Who would you work with?
Quan: I still listen to my classics like Jay-Z, Tupac my favorite because I can relate to him a lot. I listen to T.I., [who is] my label mate, and a lot of old school like Smokey Robinson, Sade, Patti [LaBelle]. I would like to work with Mary J. Blige, Lyfe and Young Buck. I just wanna make good music and talk about what people wont talk about - like the judicial system in VA, and the fact that theres not a lot out here for the youth. And thats real.
AllHipHop.com: Are you content with the state that Hip-Hop is in right now?
Quan: Absolutely not. I like the Young Joc song, Its Goin Down. [Hip-Hop] aint real no more. A lot of dudes are rhyming for a check now, theyre not rhyming from the soul. I dont feel like a lot of people break their neck to get an album these days. I remember when people would take a lunch break to go to the record store and buy a CD. I represent the struggle for cats that came from the bottom. We get it poppin in VA like everybody else. Were the bottom of the north, top of the south. And tell everybody they can check me out on www.myspace.com/donferquan