After his hit debut album with the classic “West Side”, TQ has still made his imprint on today’s hip-hop/R&B scene. After leaving to Cash Money, he’s back to talk about his new album, the infamous Lil’ Wayne pic, and the striking similarities between Nelly’s “Country Grammer” and “Bye Bye Baby”.
interview by Thato Dadson

WHO?MAG: Tell me about the new album “Paradise”.
TQ: Ahh, the new album Paradise. To me, this is a project that I have to say I’m most proud thus far in my career. I think that musically as an artist, producer, and writer, I think I’ve reached the point that I’ve always tried to get too. When your going to create a new piece and there’s that confidence about you that you know what you’re doing and I think that’s where I am now and that’s why I titled it that. Because I feel that it’s at the top of the mountain and I’ve finally gotten up to that.

WHO?MAG: How did you link up with Krayzie Bone for the first single?
TQ: We were actually reading for a movie part and we actually at a casting call for a movie. As I was getting on the elevator, he was getting off and I said to him “hey man, I got this song that has your name written all over it” and he said “Send it to me, I’ve been trying to link up with you for a minute too.” So I sent it to him, he loved it, and he jumped right on it

WHO?MAG: So how long have you been acting?
TQ: I’ve been acting seriously since about 5 or 6 years again and the biggest thing I had to do was in “Save the Last Dance” when it came down to me and guy who played the main part in the movie and I passed because they wanted me to shave my hair and cut my beard. Ever since then, my agent would send me stuff and I would always get call backs, but there would always be a scheduling problem. Because for me, I’ve always had music first because I didn’t really see myself as a movie star. And then about 2 years ago my agent came to me and “look I got something that’s will be good for you and it will solidify as an actor.” It was a Shakespeare remake of Richard the 3rd. that was a small part read in Shakespearean English. So after that, she shopped it around and I started getting more call backs. Since then, I’ve done 2 movies that are finished and one in post production.

WHO?MAG: Is there any style of acting you like? Did you like the Shakespearean style?
TQ: Well pretty much any style. With the Shakespearean thing, it caused me to stretch because I like a challenge and in everything I do I like a challenge and to have me in a Shakespearean movie and to speak Shakespearean would bring shock value to my fans, friends, and family because to see me like that is unheard of.

WHO?MAG: How did you get with Gracie Production?
TQ: Well, actually that’s my boy company him and his partner Tony and Little Deep. He has always been my independent record promoter and they never saw me coming to tell you the truth. He promoted me in the Midwest. He partnered up with this guy in Indianapolis and told me that he is about to start this independent label and he wanted me to be apart of it and I’ve known Deep for a long time and I knew his work ethics and me and him could see eye to eye on situations.

WHO?MAG: Tell me about your style of music and how it differs from the average singer.
TQ: I’m reality based first and foremost. I would rather write about things that I’ve seen before like my life instead of the norm. I mean R&B music since the Motown era things haven’t been the same. For example, if you look at hip hop where it started at with Sugar Hill Gang, African Bambaataa, and Run DMC to now with your Jay-Z and Nas, it ain’t just Tupac we hear. It has constantly gotten better where to me as in R&B, it’s gone backwards because people have gotten away from what R&B stands for rhythm and blues. Blues is based on what you’ve been through and when take all the flash from it and talk about the block as in the struggle and what we as people have done, I believe as a biggest artifact that we as a people will leave behind will be our music and our genre has not been progressive. I would like sit down and listen to our music and say Kirk Mason and Marvin Gaye would be proud of this.

WHO?MAG: Tell me about your first single “Westside”
TQ: It was actually coming out at the end of the whole east and west coast feud after Tupac was killed and it was such a black day when they announced he was dead. I remember seeing every bodies faces down and my home need something to connect too and I feel like music is such a powerful art form and to make a song like it with such a feel good attitude it was just was everybody needed.

WHO?MAG: Did anyone you mention ever come up to you after that song became so big and thanked you?
TQ:I got thanks from everybody from Dr. Dre, to Ice Cube, King Tee , DJ Quik, Too Short, E-40 and pretty much all the west coast pioneers and even on the East Coast I given props by Jay-z. He said,” I like what your doing for home. Keep it going.”

WHO?MAG: After you released “Bye Bye Baby” in ’98, did you feel any similarities between your song and the later “Country Grammer” by Nelly?
TQ: Hell Yeah!!! But it is what it is and what I know about that situation is that he used to love that song and I knew him before he came out and it actually came from a patty cake song the kids used to sing and I took the melody from it.

WHO?MAG: What made you redue “Adore” by Prince?
TQ: You know when I was signed to Cash Money, they wanted to do a remake on the album and made a suggestion to Slim if I could do “Adore”. That was actually as song that when I was younger I used to sing for mom and dad. I believe it came off well and I got good reviews.

WHO?MAG: Any comment in the infamous Lil Wayne/Baby picture?
TQ: Those dudes used to do that a lot and they said it was a jail thing and I have all friends that were in jail and say it wasn’t. I don’t understand. I used to cringe when they used to do like when they did it on 106 and Park. The crazy part is I hear more people talking about the picture than the TV incident. It was just something used to hate and I always tried to turn my back when they did it. Too bad I caught in the damn picture looking at like what the f*ck are you doing, but it is what it is. You don’t see me kissing my daddy.

WHO?MAG: Tell me about your affiliation with Donny Osmond.
TQ: I actually had wrote a song for N-sync that he liked. I think they called it “My Way”. I was called Tanya when I wrote it and Donny loved it. He was a friend of my publisher at the time so we linked up and we redid the song for his album he was putting out. I don’t think it did so well, but it’s still done from Donny and Marie.

WHO?MAG: What’s next for TQ?
TQ: Aw man, I got a lot of stuff. With this new situation, I’m definitely gonna drop music so I’m planning on dropping 2 albums a year. I just feel there has been enough music so I’m going to drop more after paradise and in the movies. I love to act and I truly feel that it’s something I would really like to do. It’s a lot I would like to do so I would like people to go to the myspace page www.myspace.com/tqofficialsite or my website called www.thugpoetry.com and we got a new thing going on called new music Tuesdays. A lot of stuff that I had done with Cash Money that I wasn’t able to release and its time for people to get it. The New Album is coming out in April, first I have stuff with Krazy Bone, BGs, D-Boyz, and Jagged Edge. It’s hot hot hot,