Lord Quest Details Producing ScHoolboy Q's "Blind Threats" Featuring Raekwon
Exclusive: The Toronto emcee-producer breaks down his previous work with ScHoolboy Q and talks about his production on "Oxymoron."
ScHoolboy Q released his major label debut album, Oxymoron, Tuesday (February 25). While the record features fellow TDE labelmates Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q broke down his Raekwon feature on "Blind Threats" in a recent listening session covered by HipHopDX.
Speaking exclusively with HipHopDX, “Blind Threats” producer Lord Quest—who produced “Figg Get Da Money” for Q's 2011 album, Setbacks—explained his reaction to hearing Raekwon on the Oxymoron cut.
“That was a crazy moment,” he said. “Raekwon is one of those guys that a lot of us in the ‘80s and the ‘90s, you grew up on that. You grew up on Wu-Tang...you grew up on all those guys. To have someone so iconic that you look up to, to be like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna be a part of this,’ it was an amazing feeling. At first when he mentioned it, I was like, ‘Oh, okay. Cool.’ It didn’t really hit me until Tunji hit me up and was like, ‘Yo, the song sounds crazy, Raekwon is on it.’ It was so surreal.”
Lord Quest Explains “Blind Threats” Placement
“I actually had no intention of playing it for Q initially,” Lord Quest said of the his “Blind Threats” production, “because when I was going through the beats that I had put aside for him, that was in the pile but I was kinda like, ‘Nah, this is not really Q.’ I was [thinking about] the stuff he had done before and might want something that’s more high energy, he’s probably not messing with this. My boy was like, ‘Yo, play it for him anyway.’ I had joints that I was like sure he was gonna mess with, but he was like, ‘Nah, pass, pass.’ I guess at that point in time, he had so many records in that vein, he just wanted something different. So I played him the ‘Blind Threats’ beat, which to me, when I had made that beat, I had made it with someone like Nas in mind, like this is a Nas story-telling type of record. So I played it for him...but I kinda like skipped it, but he was like, ‘Bring it back.’ I let the beat rock, and then he was like in his zone, mumbling verses and whatnot... He was like, 'Put that aside.'"
Quest says about a year later, he returned to L.A. and reconnected with Q in the studio. “We were just going through records and he was just showing me stuff that he was working on," Quest says. "Then my boy Tunji”—who is an A&R at Interscope—”[said], ‘You should play that beat again for him, just in case. So I played it for him, and it was the same reaction, like, ‘Yo, send this to me like right now. I wanna see this in my e-mail before you leave the studio’ type of thing. Whatever time passed, and things progressed and he was working more on the album, and Tunj hit me like, ‘Yo, I think Q really wants to mess with that record. He’s really feeling it.’ It was dope. It was like, 'This is awesome,' but at the same time, it’s like, artists record songs all the time but it’s not necessarily gonna make a project...so it might not go anywhere. So I had that in mind like, 'It’s dope that he’s feeling the record, but it’s a ‘We’ll see where it goes’ type of thing.
“A couple months had passed, and then Q hit me up was like, ‘Yo, can you send me the beat again, ‘cause I want to send it to Raekwon,'" Quest continues. "And I was like, ‘Word?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, I’m trying to get him on the record.’ So I was like, 'By all means, do what it do.' So I sent it to him and everything was just golden from there. Their engineer, Ali, hit me up. I sent him the files. And we had ‘Blind Threats.’”
Lord Quest Describes Meeting ScHoolboy Q Through Kendrick Lamar
“It was maybe about five or six years ago,” Lord Quest said, “and I actually met Q through Kendrick. A friend of mine had put me onto Kendrick’s music, and then I had contacted Kendrick and we were in communication, like before everything kind of took off for him, and sending records back and forth and whatnot. I sent him a bunch of records and I knew he had like the whole TDE crew so I said to him, ‘Whatever I send you, you can send it to the other homies.’”
Prior to the release of Setbacks, Quest says he sent ScHoolboy Q a batch of beats on request. “I sent him a whole bunch of stuff and then a couple months went by and Setbacks dropped and ‘Figg Get Da Money' came out,’” he said. “So when 'Figg Get Da Money' came out, I hadn’t heard the track. He had recorded the record and a friend of mine called me up while I was at work and he was like, ‘Yo, this ScHoolboy Q record dropped, but it sounds like it was one of your beats.’ And I got home and when I checked it out I was like, ‘Oh shit, this is my shit.’ I hit up Kendrick and I was like ‘Yo, did you guys end up using the record?’ He was like, ‘Oh yeah, we used it. My bad. I forgot to hit you.’ It wasn’t like, ‘What the fuck’ or any problems like that. You know it was cool. So after that, we were still in contact and then my good friend, when I was out in L.A., ‘cause he knew the relationship that me and Q had, so he had set up a studio session for me and Q. We got in the studio and we started working, going through beats and whatnot, going through a couple joints, and [‘Blind Threats’] was one of the beats he picked out.”
Lord Quest Talks Solo Work & Producing For Talib Kweli
While “Blind Threats” may serve as LQ’s biggest placement to date, the producer also is an emcee in his own right and calls his beat-making a product of necessity. “Production really started off as a necessity more than anything,” he said. “I couldn’t get beats so I just had to do my own thing and as time progressed it was like, ‘Hey, I really enjoy this and it seems like I’m pretty good at this, so why not continue.’”
Besides “Blind Threats,” Quest counts placements on Talib Kweli’s late 2013 release, Gravitas, as a sign it will be a good year. “I did some work recently on the new Talib Kweli album," he says. "I did two joints on there, so that was dope ‘cause he’s one of those cats I grew up on. Early in the year, I did a joint with Dom Kennedy which was really dope, ‘cause Dom is one of those up-and-coming dudes that really has a lot to say. He’s a really positive guy, so it was really dope working with him.”
The producer’s own solo release, Still Shopping, was released in 2013 as a preview of his own work. “Still Shopping is my solo release,” he said. “I don’t know if I can call it an album. I’d consider more of a mixtape, but I guess it’s album quality ‘cause it’s all original records. It’s just me presenting myself to the world as an emcee, ‘cause that’s where it all started. Still Shopping is just like a little preview of me and what I do as an emcee, there’s more to come in the new year. It’s gonna be a fun year.”