Bar-for-bar, rapper Don Q is no doubt one of New York City’s top five budding MCs. Strapped with an intruding flow, the rapper slices through beatmakers instrumentals with razor-sharp punchlines, rigid hooks combined with perfect pints of aggressiveness.
Hailing from the infamous Highbridge section of the Bronx, the 28-year-old has barged his way into the rap game with his Don Cannon-hosted mixtape Don Season, followed by Highbridge the Label: The Takeover Vol. 1. With labelmate and multiplatinum-selling artist A Boogie wit da Hoodie demanding attention from the streets, Highbridge the Label secured a lucrative deal with Atlantic Records.
This week, the rapper born Le’Quincy Anderson is promoting the second installment of Don Season, with an Aug. 31 due date. Rocking a crisp black T-shirt, snug blue jeans and a small Highbridge piece resting comfortably on his chubby chest, Chubby Q makes a snack run at VIBE’s mini-store for a bag of chips and lime flavored sparkling water.
“Rap is everything to me,” Don Q said while munching on zoo zoos and wham whams. “When I fell in love with the genre as a kid it was more about the words than the beats. It was the s**t that guys like JAY-Z, Lloyd Banks, and Fabolous [were saying]. I wanted to talk my s**t. I appreciate artists who are bringing a competitive spirit to the game.”
Since the release of Don Season, Q has dripped sauce alongside the likes of Dave East, Meek Mill, Pusha T and one of the rappers he’s idolized–Fabolous.
Enjoying the snacks, Don talks Don Season 2, radio hits, and his newest single “Yeah Yeah” with 50 Cent and A Boogie wit da Hoodie.
VIBE: This is your fourth project. How have you improved as an MC and artist?
Don Q: Flows. Using different flows. The rhymes getting sharper. Learning how to use different beats and different tempos. This tape is showing that I have a whole bunch of different flows.
I’ve listened to Don Season 2, and even with “Yeah Yeah,” you’re trying to take it there. How are you approaching these calibers of records?
You got to approach it differently. The vibe has to be different. I actually did two different verses for that one. One of the verses, I’m calmer. I have to learn how to relax sometimes.
Do you have to think harder when creating songs like “Get to Know You” and “Yeah Yeah?”
It depends. Now, if you have something specific on your mind, you’ll have to think harder.
Would it bother you if you never get that radio hit? Does it really matter to you?
It matters. That’s where the money at. I came in the game saying that I didn’t care about that s**t. But that’s what counts. I’ve already shown n****s that I’m the best rapper. Now, I have to show them something else. Biggie did it. Jay Z did it.
Do you realize that n****s will still think you are one of the best MCs without that radio jawn?
True. But how you think they feel You think Styles P don’t want a hit?
But Styles P got at least 20 years in. You’re on two. Add money you’re getting now from being one of the best spitters out.
Ahh. You got a point.
And you’re 28 years old. You’re from that era, where rapping is important. You have to think about today’s average listener.
That’s true too. I think it’s like 50/50. Some s**t probably won’t hit them.
Other than showing everyone you can rap, what other messages are you trying to convey?
That’s what I’m trying to do now. Actually, talk about s**t. My intro, I’m actually talking about s***t. I realized that if you have a voice, you can talk about more than diamonds and s***t.
Have you ever went back in and changed a verse after hearing someone else verse?
Nah, I haven’t but I was kind of nervous on the track [“For the Family”] with me, Fabolous and Dave East. The buzz on was crazy. I was just worried about getting writers’ block. That’s the only thing I was worried about. That’s why I went first [laughs].
Have you ever seen someone changed a verse after you spit your verse?
Nah, Fabolous went back in and changed some s***t up. The song [“Problem”] with me, Tee Grizzly and A Boogie. But he didn’t change much. Just some lil s***t. It wasn’t anything. But I can’t say that I made him change it.
In a few words, explain Don Season 2.
This growth on here is crazy. I think this is my favorite project. Every tape is growth.