By The Hip Hop Writer
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
At the end of the day, business is business, some people are about theirs, while others are not. Q the Question is about his business and has been since day one, which is why the SKE brand has taken off the way it has. Until a couple years ago, the world probably knew Q the Question best by his government name, Quinton Hatfield.
Making his name, initially, as a journalist, Quinton decided to brand himself and move to the other side of the interview table. Music has always been a passion for him, so he decided to rebrand himself as Q the Question, launching SKE Records with Trel Mack. A label inspired by the things around them, the two have changed the game.
Q the Question has been a major player behind the scenes and is now at the forefront of the game. Hip Hop Vibe has had the opportunity to work with Q the Question, witnessing his hustle firsthand. Tonight, Hip Hop Vibe had the first-ever opportunity to talk to Q the Question in an exclusive interview.
Read the entire interview below:
Did you envision the SKE Records brand becoming as big as it has? It is crazy, because I did believe it, I speak things into existence. But, it when we returned in 2012, it happened faster than I expected. It has been phenomenal to see Trel Mack blow up and the brand go global.
What is the biggest difference between Q the Question the businessman and Q the Question the journalist? Q the Question the businessman is very aggressive, I take no bullshit, yet I’m a nice guy. But, as a journalist, I am good to kick it with and talk to, I’m a laid back hip hop head. When it comes to business, money is involved, so I have to be aggressive.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about Q the Question and the SKE brand? Well, one crazy thing, is how we are building brand and it is easy to confuse people who think you have more than you have. When people see things taking off, and the way we present ourselves, attention is drawn to the company. It is all about perception and the way you put things out there.
You’re all over the place doing interviews, but this time as the interviewee, what is that like? This is definitely different for me, because I was behind the scenes. I expected Trel Mack to be the one doing the interviews. But, just like other rapper/mogul duos, you will be asked to do interviews too. Now, it’s crazy how I used to do interviews and ask questions and now I am doing interviews and answering questions. Trel Mack and I have done close to two hundred interviews and we do four a week.
Is it odd to see SKE clothing taking off just as fast as the label itself? No doubt. It definitely is. Why stay just making money off the music, when you can also do it off clothes? Everybody knows SKE stands for Street Knowledge Entertainment. We believe in the positive phrases on our t-shirts, Laws of Attraction, Speaking Things Into Existence. Two street guys from the hood who think positive, we are shedding light into the darkness because this economy is rough. You are what you think and we generally think positive.
Hip hop seems to have an inverse effect on a lot of young men, as they prefer to act a certain way to gain attention, as opposed to doing the right thing. Now, you have gone to college and gotten a degree and you are living out most young men’s dreams, how does that feel and what advice can you offer to people you see going down the wrong path? It feels good and a lot of people do not know. I have never mentioned this before, I am the first college graduate from my family. I graduated from North Carolina A&T University in 2009 in Journalism. What is sad is that the black community prided themselves on being dumb. I never understood why the people who are educated and black are looked down upon. I always found it strange that people in the hood looked down on education and they become the people who come to guys like myself for help. It is odd and I never understood people being proud of being illiterate. I look at this and I see them being the people, when they get older, to say to younger people “don’t do what I did.” When I see other nationalities, they pride themselves of their education. If you look at the top rappers, they are all smart, they all read, think about it, Birdman, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, they all read. You cannot be worth millions of dollars, if you’re a dumb ass.
Can you talk about the Spanish mamas phenomenon? People always see my Twitter posts and Facebook statuses and they ask me ‘what is up with you and the Spanish mamis.’ Growing up in Philadelphia, I used to visit Bodegas, called Papi Stores in Philly. I used to go to these stores and I never understood the language the Dominicans who ran the stores spoke. But, when I got into college, I decided to learn the language. I taught myself Spanish, also known as “the language of love.” I needed it for business and I also loved those beautiful Spanish mamis. I taught myself through watching cartoons, hanging out with the Dominicans, and being in the streets and I always love to hear those ladies say, “oh my god papi, you speak spanish very good, take my number down papi.” So, learning Spanish benefited me in many ways. But, mixing business with pleasure, SKE Clothing will soon be dropping the ‘Spanish Mamis love Q the Question’ shirt.
What has it been like for you, explain the changes you have dealt with since you started out, almost a decade ago? I can’t lie, waking up and realizing my dream is coming true is crazy. Looking back at myself at age eighteen, I wrote to magazines, hoping they would give me a shot. Then, my first interview was with Sheek Louch and then I expanded. I was cool with being a journalist, but I had interested in running a label. When me and Trel Mack started working together and then my connections came, so it made sense. Often said, it is true, when you set your mind to something, it can actually happen.
Well aware you cannot speak on all of your deals, can you talk about adding DJ YRS Jerzy to the SKE brand? You know what? It is very hard to find someone as young and hungry as him. Getting older, looking back at life, I realized we are all born with hustle and drive and I thank Hip Hop Vibe for connecting us. I saw his grind and did my research on him. He was young and hungry and we took off. Then, we did Jerzy’s Evolution and he was grinding as hard as I was. I talked to Trel Mack and I told him “I’m snatching him up.” When you look at record labels, you need to have a DJ. The DJ breaks the records and gets you heard and since he joined the team, he’s been killing it. We added him to the team and he showed his worth and is a vital piece to this puzzle. Sometimes, we joke around and I say he’s DJ Clue, Trel’s Jay-Z, and I’m Dame Dash.
How do you feel you will avoid the pitfalls of some of these other moguls? One of the main things, in my opinion, is just counting my blessings and appreciate what comes my way. When you get to a certain level of success, I feel some people let it go to their heads. Anything can happen and through it all, I will appreciate all that came my way and count my blessings. I will do my best to keep a level head, staying humble, continuing to look for hot talent and we do all that, and, of course, paying my taxes (laughs).
What’s your Facebook and Twitter so we can follow you? Facebook, Twitter, and finally Instagram it is all ‘Q the Question.