“I don’t try to sound like nobody,” says Bronx MC Don Q. “Especially no new niggas. I don’t wanna sound like no new niggas out.”
Although he hails from hip hop’s birthplace, Don Q is not trying to get caught up in some kind of nostalgia trip. “A lot of people stuck in the ’90s, like, bringing the ’90s back,” he says. “You can’t be stuck in the past. There’s nothing wrong with lyrics and shit, but sauce it up. Hit some of them hard beats that people want to hear in the street.”
Still he is proud to carry on the Bronx’s tradition of lyrical combat. “You had to be ready to battle at any time,” he recalls of his early days of street rap. “I got confidence from that.” His recent Corner Stories mixtape combines his own unique brand of classical lyricism with state of the art production.
Formerly known as Q Da Don, Don Q took his name from a popular brand of rum. “My man just came from the liquor store, he said “I just seen a bottle name Don Q. I just ran with it. I started drinkin’ the liquor. I’m trying to get in contact with them now so we can make some money together.”
Don Q has a full slate of releases on deck: “Me and A Boogie about to drop a tape in the summer,” he reveals. “I’m about to drop this track with Rowdy Rebel called ‘Free the Nine.’ It’s gonna go crazy for the whole summer, I promise you that.”
Along with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Don Q has brought new excitement to The Bronx’s hip hop scene in 2017. “I knew A Boogie before, when we was still in the hood,” he says. “He got his buzz from Soundcloud—and he just took off. It means a lot to the Bronx. Now everybody in the Bronx is rapping. It’s good. A lot of people trying to do their thing—I like to see that. I ain’t a hater,” he says.
But one thing Don Q doesn’t appreciate is being copied. “We created our own path,” he says. “Get there yourself, like how we got here. You just following what we doing? That shit is corny.”