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Quest Loves The Kids
Wednesday, December 10, 2008

If you aren’t overly thrilled with what you’ve been hearing on the radio of late, you aren’t alone. Waterbury emcee The Rising Sun Quest is quick to point to the radio and mainstream artists who rely on gimmicks as the bane of the current Hip-Hop scene. At the same time, however, he also sees some good in what’s going on.

“It’s clearly a gimmick,” he says, “and to be honest with you, it’s fine. It’s a business and it’s lost a lot of its heart, but it is a business and if that’s what you want to do, you’re ruining the essence of Hip-Hop, but at the same time Hip-Hop right now is probably the strongest genre in terms of generating money and being used in movies and things of that nature.”

Quest continued, conceding that sometimes the rantings of the underground about how bad the mainstream is are slightly misguided, especially when one looks at the way the mainstream Hip-Hop scene has permeated into mainstream America and created a lot of opportunities that weren’t available ten, or even five, years ago for underground artists. “Everybody’s not gonna be like a Ludacris. Everybody’s not gonna be a well known, famous, rapper,” he explains, “but those people who can get on that MP (MPC drum machine) and drum it out, they can submit their stuff to movies and make a living that way. You don’t have to have a hit single, you can do some soundtracks, or video games, or something like that. So that’s dope.”

Right now Quest is hard at work promoting his latest album, Journey Towards The Sun. After fifteen years of being an emcee, however, he’s finding fewer and fewer people are interested in taking a listen to anyone’s work. “Back in ’93 not everybody wanted to rap,” he notes, “when I used to say hey, I do Hip-Hop music, people were willing to give me a shot and say alright, let’s see what you got. Now if I say I do Hip-Hop music it’s like yeah, so does my mom, cousin, aunt and uncle.”

How Quest separates himself from this sea of familial microphone jockeys is exemplified on Journey Towards The Sun’s lead single, “Why I Write.” “That track describes exactly why I do this music,” he explains, “it’s why an artist draws, it’s why a breakdancers breakdances. I do it because I just feel I need to express myself and connect with people.” According to Quest this want to connect stems from why he appreciated Hip-Hop so much when he first discovered it. “When I used to be just a fan I was such a big fan because of all the things that it did for me. It got me through certain things. It made me believe in certain things. It made me feel accepted, not alone, in a sense, and it was enjoyable. Right now I feel that there are a lot of people like me that aren’t getting that and I want to provide them with something that they can grab and call their own.”

A member of the Connecticut based rap collective the Ant Farm Affiliates, Quest, a married father of four, has one audience he especially hopes to connect with, his kids. He openly admits that his kids have affected his lyrics as he states “when they get older they should be able to put this in and say yo, that was my pops talking that. The subject matter is going to stand the test of time, but I also want, if they do start listening to it when they’re 13 or 14, I want to make sure that the message that I’m putting through is a good one, although not preachy and on some garbage like that, but some real, true shit.” Quest points to the song “Just A Man” as an example of something that will be relevant no matter when it’s listened to. The song is about being a man and standing up for oneself and he says “that’s something that I wouldn’t just tell to my kids, that’s something that I’d tell you if we were having a conversation and you wanted some advice. I’d just say yo, just be a man and handle your business. It’s something that I say to my friends.”

“Just A Man” is just the tip of the iceberg for what Quest has for listeners on Journey Towards The Sun as he says there are a number of songs that he feels will have a timeless quality to them and that his kids will be able to learn from later in life. “I have a song called ‘Taking Care of Business.’ They’ll be able to take care of business, they’ll be men. There’s a track called ‘On and On’ that deals with the government and politics and that’s gonna still be going on. There’s a track called ‘Speak.’ People are gonna wanna speak their mind.”

With his focus on standing the test of time, as well as his consistently high quality lyrics and firm grasp on the realities of the business of Hip-Hop, Quest is an emcee that has all the makings of a Rising Sun that won’t be setting anytime soon.

Story originally ran in the FairfieldWeekly.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 2:05 PM  
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