Consequence Releases Dont Quit Your Day Job
Posted on May 10, 2007 by Jamie Slaughter
Anything worth having is worth fighting for, and your career is no exception to the rule. For the Jamaica, Queens native Consequence, the ten years it has taken to maximize his full potential as a recording artist has been well worth the wait. With the advent of his major label debut album, Don't Quit Your Day Job on G.O.O.D Music / Sony Urban / Red Distribution, the charismatic wordsmith is well prepared for everything coming his way because he worked hard to get here.
Since Consequence is the cousin of Q-Tip (from the seminal hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest), one might think his entry into the music game would be easy, acceptance by association. Having excelled at English and poetry in high school, Consequence found that his natural progression was to rhyme. Fiercely independent and confident, Consequence's name says it all. Hustling and honing his skills on his own, he crafted tales that were familiar to him. "I thought, 'What's another name for results?,'" he asked himself. "'Consequence.'" By the age of 16, Consequence was building a reputation on the street for his surefire spitfire rhymes. When Q-Tip began hearing about his cousin's rapidly developing skills, he had no choice but to pay attention.
Consequence got his first shot with "The Chase, Part II," the B-side of Tribe's hugely popular "Award Tour" single from their Midnight Marauders album. While Tribe toured, Consequence studied his craft and went to work on a demo with Q-Tip. After Graduating high school and being accepted to St. John's in New York, Consequence deferred 1994 fall enrollment in order to pursue his passion for music. Signed to Q-Tip's Museum Music through Eastwest/Elektra, Consequence appeared on the group's 1996 album Beats, Rhymes and Life with the single and video for "Stressed Out" featuring Faith Evans. With creative differences plaguing the group, Consequence decided to step away from the drama.
"I had faith I was going to get back on," he remembers and so Consequence struck out on his own in order to create his own identity. For the next six years, he navigated a tough terrain filled with a dizzying array of sketchy managers, producers and so-called "deals." Though somewhat disenchanted, Consequence was earning a Ph.D. in the hardcore realities of contemporary show biz. "I was just trying to get back in pocket and I didn't want to deal with producers on an exclusive level," he remembers. "When you don't bring enough to the table, it becomes unbalanced. I knew what I was bringing, but m***f***s didn't really respect it at the time. I believed in myself. I knew what I was capable of doing and it was just a matter of being in a comfortable situation."
Luckily for all concerned, Kanye West was on his fast track as a producer. A huge fan of A Tribe Called Quest, Kanye had just transplanted himself to New York from Chicago and was looking for the right rapper to spit a verse on a track he was working on. At the suggestion of the producer 88 Keys, an old friend of Consequence's, Kanye met with a man called Quence. The pair chatted and worked together on the track. Before long, Kanye and Quence became fast friends. "It just evolved from…we met three weeks ago to balling in the park to recording records together," Consequence recalls. Back then, Kanye West, confident in his own right, didn't have his own recording deal secured, but he let Quence know that, if he wanted to stick around, he was down for him.
By 2003, Consequence and Kanye were working and playing together. Kanye had locked down his solo deal and was beginning to record his album. Quence, meanwhile, wanted to aggressively get into the mixtape scene. All Sales Is Final was the first tape released and then West got into a near fatal car accident. Get Well Soon, which featured "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" followed shortly thereafter. One of the first songs Kanye and Quence recorded together, "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" also appears on Don't Quit Your Day Job. "For the heads that tracked our movement," Consequence says, "it's a benchmark, the spinal cord of this whole project."
Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music was being established organically during this period of building and recovery. "Once his record took off he was like, 'I got something for you,'" Consequence remembers. Signed once again, Quence began touring with West and other members of the G.O.O.D. Music family: Gangsta L. Crisis and John Legend. He was also in the process of penning a book entitled "Don't Quit Your Day Job." Quence's tome is "about the nonsense from 2001 until I met Kanye," he says. "That period was really not good." A prominent A&R executive suggested that Consequence utilize the title for his upcoming album.
After taking a year and a half to record and complete the album, Consequence says, "I'm ready and I'm aggressive about it." Consequence had experienced the conflicting forces within his life between following his heart and being practical. "In everything that you do you can have that opposition," he admits, "that feeling of 'I don't know what you're doing, you just need to get a regular job.'" With Don't Quit Your Day Job, Quence offers the world 13 slices of reality that he hopes will restore what's been missing in hip-hop.
"The Job Song," produced by Kool Aid of The Blackout Coalition, speaks to that period of Quence's life where he had no choice but to pound the pavement seeking 9-to-5 employment to survive. The album's first single, "Grammy Family" (which is also featured on DJ Khalad's album), is produced by and features Kanye West with John Legend. The song's title is self explanatory, as the G.O.O.D. Music family continues to grow and obtain the music industry's highest accolade.
When it came time to lay down tracks for Don't Quit Your Day Job, Consequence simply went into the recording booth where his words poured out freely and spontaneously. Consequence has been influenced as much by musical epochs, especially the history of hip-hop, as he is by individual artists. "I would just sit at the table and listen to the radio and try and understand why their record made it and mine didn't," he remembers "I tortured myself, but it made me that much better because I would pull it apart. It made me go from a rapper to a songwriter. Doing that, I learned how to construct records as opposed to just writing raps. That's why I was able to do the album without writing because I knew how to put a song together."
The second single “Callin Me,” produced by former Bad Boy Hitman Young Lord, is an old school, party jam classic that simply has Quence confidently proclaim to the next man, “your girl keeps callin me.” One of Consequence's personal favorites is the Latin-influenced "Don't Forget 'Em." Dedicated to his grandmother, the track, produced by West, admonishes, "When you make that money, don't they say don't you forget 'em." As Quence explains, "Artists get to a point where people say they've changed when there really is no artist without people around them. Nobody is a super anything – you takes bits and pieces."
Canei produced the strategic "Uptown," a throwback sensibility in sound that would make Doug E. Fresh proud (even though Consequence is from Queens). "Uptown is the pinnacle of New York and symbolizes rap music and black music in general," says Consequence. "No matter where you are, somebody will know about uptown."
The self-professed ultra-aggressive "Nite Nite" has Consequence discussing the ramifications of pushing his buttons incorrectly. Producer Young Lord utilizes heavy drums and a booming bass line for the track that can also be found on EA Sports Fight Night Round 3.
Quence taps into his own production potential on "Feel This Way" featuring John Legend. Co-produced with Low Down, the seemingly melodic R&B song was written entirely by Consequence and begs the question of a young lady, "I don't know what I ever did to you to make you feel this way."
Rounding out Don't Quit Your Day Job is the Keezo Kane-produced "Who Knew My Luck Would Change." The mid-tempo track, featuring Tony Williams on the chorus, is a poetic retelling of Consequence's story. "I went through a lot of s*** in this game and I'm blessed to be here," he says. "It's really sarcastic because it means that God knew my luck would change."
Consequence is plainly delighted with Don't Quit Your Day Job, "I'm ecstatic that God is so great because the timing is perfect, it's what's needed," he says. "Hopefully I'm the mouthpiece to do it – it's musical. I'm not the East Coast savior, this is what I offer to the game and if you f*** with it, you f*** with it. Take away the gear and the jewels, it's just music. I've always tried to make music that relates to the relatable. Like, I've been in this situation because that's what made me write it… That's what I'm trying to bring to the table…This is the kind of hip-hop that everybody grew up on."
As he completes his book and looks to assist other artists on their journeys, Consequence is more than happy to have quit his day job. Not only is he getting out his dreams out to the people, he's living his dreams each day.
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