AHHA: You really witnessed Hip-Hop in its infantile stages.Quincy Jones: Oh yeah, well theres always been spoken word in Black music. We have a major legacy and heritage and evolution, and the more [Hip-Hop] gets to know where it comes from, the easier it can know where its going. We were talking to the kids from Star Camp and they really understand that. They paid their dues too, they had some rough times in their lives. AHHA: Did you have any idea when you were witnessing the birth of Hip-Hop that it had that staying power? Quincy Jones: Oh yeah, always knew it. Ive been around since 47 with Bebop. Bebop is so much like Hip-Hop its unbelievable. In fact, most of the words [Hip-Hop] uses comes from Bebop and they dont even know it. Like homeboy and cribs are you kiddin? In a way, Bebop started it. They were freestyling and Hip-Hop was always about jammin and free forms of improvisation all the time. It is right in the same church as far as Im concerned. The attitude sociologically was just about the same. Bebop was premature and didnt have the kind of power you didnt have as big a media either to put it all out there. You have the biggest media in the history of the world out now, with online and fiber optics and satellite radio. You didnt have that back then. We didnt even have televisions in 47. It was just radio. Not trying to compare [Bebop and Hip-Hop], but its the same sensibility. They have their own colloquialisms, body language, or gestures. The same thing Malcolm X comes out of or Miles Davis. Its interesting to see it all put together.AHHA: When you were working at Mercury in the 60s compared to now, do you see as much passion in the music executives now as opposed to then?Quincy Jones: No. The focus was much more on the sound rather than the businessman back in those days. We were in the process of originating a lot of styles, so people didnt even know how to make a business out of it. They were trying to discover it, thats why there was a lot of exploitation going on. People were discovering new genres. Take this one guy for instance, Morris Levy who started Birdland heres a guy who was working with a gangster family, Genovese family. After he had Bop City with Bebop, Charlie Parker, he and Alan Freed copyrighted Rock and Roll a few years later; then they had K.C. and the Sunshine Band with Disco. Each genre, they were at the forefront because the gangsters ran the booking agents and the record companies. Most of them outside of the majors; we had five majors, but the rest of them were all gangsters. Then they came in with Sugar Hill Gang Rappers Delight. Thats four genres right there, four major genres from Bebop to Rock and Roll to Disco to Hip-Hop you know? With each, youd see a step in the evolution right before your eyes. It was very natural for us, because when we started, we didnt care about the money or the fame. We couldnt care less.AHHA: What do you think it would take for the labels to get that back?Quincy Jones: Honey, I dont know if its going to get back. We have to do something different. Most people are in denial, acting like nothings wrong. Theres something terribly wrong, and its not the passion in the music, people love the music. [The labels] are making discriminatory choices, like just one or two songs out of the CD, which is strange because Ive always been the kind of producer that made a whole experience out of the CD. Thats whats going on, but the distribution platform is flawed because theyre handing them smoking guns because DVDs and CDs are masters. And binary numbers go back to 3500 B.C. in Egypt, thats not new, but the application is like putting a smoking gun in the users hands because they have all of the technology they can do anything they want. One generation doesnt even know we have to pay for music. Thats very dangerous because songwriters, musicians, and producers have to send their kids to school too. We have to figure out how to make it work. I dont know what it is advertisements, sponsors? Everybody is trying to figure it out now. They have to figure it out because its in trouble big trouble. Ive been around the world three times this year from Cambodia to Vietnam to China, Latin America, Cairo, and I see it. Billions of records and intellectual property being taken movies too. I was outside of the Bejing University, and they were selling DVDs for a dollar a piece. In my speech I said, You know, one day five years from now, there could be a Ling Hau Chau that could be a Steven Spielberg or a Stevie Wonder and he wont get paid either. Thats how it works, theres both sides and we have to make it a win-win situation. If you take everybody elses stuff, theyll take yours. Somehow it always works out, honey. I think theres probably going to be a change in the revenue, well a shift coming from a different place other than the consumer. I dont know, thats the way it looks to me. Nobody really has a solution yet, but everyones trying to find it. Theres probably going to be some things we never imagined. Well see. I wish I did know the answer. AHHA: How do you feel the role of the producer has changed, or evolved since Hip-Hop?Quincy Jones: Honey, I come from the old school with big bands and doing it all acoustically. I went through every phase, from 78 discs, tapes, analogs you name it digital, been through all of it. I think that the more the technology improves, it gives musicians a bigger reason to be lazy about their I should say worship of music in terms of preparing themselves as great musicians. The technology sometimes doesnt demand much musicianship. The technology does the work for you. Id rather take the music from God rather than the electricity, and I was the first one to use the synthesizer and the bass. 1953, you know, without the synth or the bass there would be no Rock and Roll, no Motown, nothing. Thats the way it is. AHHA: Who are some of the producers today that you enjoy?Quincy Jones: Oh a lot of them Will.I.Am, Akon, Timbaland, and Dr. Dre has always been on top of my list. Pharrell, all those guys dating back to Teddy Riley, Jermaine Dupri, Dallas [Austin], all of them. AHHA: In terms of artists, if you could do another Back On the Block compilation, who would you have on it?Quincy Jones: I dont know. [laughs] Id have to be in the process to know, but I promise you soon Ill be doing something like that. AHHA: Who are some artists you enjoy these days?Quincy Jones: Everybody! I see the same ones you see Chris Brown, T.I. we see the same people, but [I see them] on a much broader basis because I go to Brazil and I hear Hip-Hop people, in China, Korea, all over the world. Even the rappers doing it locally in urban cities, like Louisiana, the songs of the Dirty South, everywhere you go, because its connected to a lifestyle and a life force. Its strong; its a body movement, its an attitude, its an expression. Its beautiful. AHHA: People say that overseas, the people feel the Hip-Hop more nowadays. Do you agree with that?Quincy Jones: Absolutely. Not only that, they got into it before we got into it. Europe has a culture thats why I went to France when I was young they have much more of an artistic appreciation for what everybodys doing. It comes from an older culture. We dont have that, but we will hopefully if the educational system gets off its butt and lets us have a soul, because if we have a soul then we wont have anymore Columbine [situations]. I really believe that. AHHA: Is there any particular candidate for President that youre supporting?Quincy Jones: Yes, Im working with Hillary [Clinton]. I believe in Obama a lot; I think in the future hes going to be an incredible person, but Ive been working with the Clintons for so long producing the inauguration, millennium, I know who they are. We need an amazing winner on an international basis, and I think that comes with Hillary and Bills legacy. AHHA: What advice would you give to an unsigned artist or a kid whos interning at a record label right now?Quincy Jones: Where do we have a record business? [laughs] Keep on getting better as a musician; people find things online. Keep experimenting because nobody has successfully done it yet or found a way to get their close relationship between the listener and creator. I see it getting closer and closer, and thats not bad. AHHA: Why was the music industry so slow in embracing technology?Quincy Jones: That was my whole point, Ive been [using technology] for 28 years and they act like it wasnt there. The binary numbers have been around for a long time, but its about not paying attention thats all. I kid the people when I go to Egypt. Egypt is the foundation of civilization and a 3,000-year empire. They did everything medicine, hieroglyphics, binary numbers, everything, first before anyone on the planet. We were on the Nile one night and I was kidding one of the guys. I said, What happened? Didnt you guys believe in electricity? because the British came along with gun powder from China, and the Industrial Revolution took a third of the world. They figured it out. Its what we have to do now figure it out. I put my whole life into [music]. I cant do anything else. AHHA: You do things everyday for this industry, and its amazing what youve done and continue to do Quincy Jones: Well I try, honey. I try to do all that I need to do here. I cant drive a car, but I know how to do other things. Watch Pharcyde's "Passin Me By" which samples Quincy Jones' "Summer In the City"