Interview by Scott Bedja
From Murder Dog vol. 13 #1
Contact San Quinn at: www.donedealworld.com
I’ve been hearing a lot about you new album.
The new album is called “The Rock: Pressure Makes Diamonds”, and it’s a great record. I have a hit single on this record called “Hell Yeah” featuring E-A-Ski. It’s getting a lot of radio spins throughout the country on XM Satellite radio. All I do is drop classics and this is another classic album. It really is a mature album and it shows that a muthafucka can’t fuck with San Quinn from the mouth. Also right now we got the Hyphy movement happening, so it’s the perfect time with the record.
Did you help create the Hyphy movement?
Keak and Federation is Hyphy, and I’m Hyphy too. They are all my nigs and we can’t be separatists. We are loving it! It’s our culture out here! I guess I play a part in it just because I play a part in the Bay Area music. You can still call Outkast Crunk, but Lil’ Jon made you get up on Crunk.
You have been a staple in the Bay music scene for years. When did your first release come out?
It was put out back in March of 1993 and it was called “Don’t Cross Me”, and I was fifteen years old. I was the first Lil’ Bow Wow! Chris Cross was out at that time too and they were my arch nemesis so I wanted to take them out the game. You know how kids be competitive. I was mad when I saw them because I thought I was one of the first kids rappin’. From there when I was in the eleventh grade back in 1995 I did “Live And Direct.” I dropped two albums while I was in high school! I dropped my third album “The Hustle Continues” back in ’96. Then in 1998 me and Messy Marv did “Explosive Mode”, and we had the song “Pop Yo Collar”, which was a Bay Area kick off that the rest of the world picked up on. We didn’t have an outlet to get it out there to let muthafuckaz know that we created it. Thanks for E-40, Keak Da Sneak, and Lil’ Jon for reaching back and puttin E-40 on TV on that level and 40 being the boss that he his putting it on TV so people can see that movement.
It’s great that Lil’ Jon who is from Atlanta signed E-40. That’s the kind of unity we need more of.
That was real because Lil’ Jon paid it forward. Somebody helped him in his career to get him where he is at and he turned around and helped 40. He was probably a fan of 40 before he was out on the market. I have been knowing Lil’ Jon and he kept it real! We shouldn’t be surprised when muthafuckaz keep it real but so much phony shit goes on that when somebody does keep it real it seems like a shock. Over in New York they put each other on. They use that as a part of their culture “I put him on.” As far as out here it is “They put us on.” The Bay area is the shit and I’m not taking away from no other part of the country, but we got our own shit. We crack our whip vicious, and when I say that I mean when we serve some shit from the tongue it be some immaculate shit. You could look right now because in 1998 me, and Marv made them pop their collars and now Three 6 Mafia has “Poppin’ My Collar.” That shit came from out here!
How does it make you feel to see other cats biting your game?
Really we just have to get successful because you sound like the mad rapper saying “Well, this person took this,” but what the fuck are you going to do about it? We ain’t gonna kill ’em, but what we have to do is get on TV and take this shit to the next level business wise.
You guys came up with your own language out there? It went from one side to the other but no one gives the Bay credit!
Like my mother says “We gonna get paid back in abundance.” Really Pac was from out here and they might be scared of a muthafucka like us to come through because Pac was hyphy. Think about Pac, and think about Hyphy because if you think about his character and how he was you will see that he was a hyphy nigga from the Bay. We just didn’t have that title on him then. Pac was hyphy and we are here now! “The Rock: Pressure Makes Diamonds” is out right now so pick that record up. You can pick it up anywhere in America so get two copies. It will let you know how a brother in San Francisco California is growing up in this western edition district. We getting money pimpin’ the microphone and keeping this shit trill!
Who did the beats on this new album?
I got my boy Davy D on production, Kosmo, of course E-A-Ski with “Hell Yeah” and also Waxmell Smart out of New York. I’m not even tooting my own horn but this is a great album. You can listen to it if you are from anywhere because good music is good music. I don’t give a fuck if it is Jon Bon Jovi; if it has a good melody and a good hook and I hear it two to three times then I can grow to like it because it’s good music.
How is it compared to your earlier stuff?
I’m rappin’ about more of the shit that I really do. I am trying to get more into the essence of my ghetto which is Fillmore and that is where I live at and grew up at. I’m an MC! I talked about the different shit going on like niggaz putting money on nigga’s heads, and how a niggaz was out here livin but more creative. That’s what people want because it’s hood to hood.
With this whole Hyphy thing going on do you see the Bay going in places that it didn’t go before?
Yeah, but it’s based on us to get up and put ourselves out there the way we should. We gotta take the ball and run and not just sit here and be mad about our lingo being stolen. We gotta get out there and put our name out there. With the Hyphy movement we have to utilize and make ourselves get out there. I know we will be accepted by the world real soon. Real soon the world will know about San Quinn and in the next couple of years I’m going to become a household name out this Bay Area.
How do you feel about the Hyphy movement?
I love the Hyphy movement; the movement gives me more power. The movement is not individual because it’s a number of people. We’re gonna get out there. I’m going to get off my ass and go to New York and go rap in the club. I’m gonna be in Kansas City still and places like Miami, Florida. We gotta get out there as a movement and let muthafuckaz know who we is and how we do it.
The Bay has invented and reinvented styles and influenced a lot of people over the years. What is it about the Bay that makes you so creative?
It’s that we are living in our own world out here and after getting rejected by the rest of the world for so long it is like “fuck everybody else, let’s get into our shit!” Being out here fuckin’ around we end up with our own shit because there is so much game being served on a daily basis. It is not just where a muthafucka be playing but the game is thick out here. We’re not followers, we’re leaders. When you put a bunch of leaders together you’ll always have some inventive shit coming out because everyone is always trying to be creative. It is not just one person because we ain’t hoes out here like that.
What makes up the Bay?
It’s like Brooklyn in New York which is like San Francisco out here in California and Oakland is equivalent to a Queens, and it goes on like the Boroughs. You got San Jose, Richmond, Oakland, San Francisco, Vallejo, East Palo Alto, Santa Rosa, Pitsburg, Marin City, and Sacramento is like 100 miles up but you might as well consider them the Bay because they rock how we rock. The only thing different is we don’t bang colors out here in the Bay; we bang about blocks and money. To each his own, but out here we ain’t with that.
Is your first album from back in ’93 still available?
Actually you can order it from City Hall Distribution. If you want to get any of my catalog it’s being distributed through City Hall. It’s good if you want to know the history about me. I was a young MC and started when I was only fourteen. It has taken me a long time but shit is starting to come around though.
What label is “The Rock” coming out on?
It is coming out on my label which is Deal Done or Done Deal. It’s the same thing, I just switch it up because now the deal is done.
Will you do another album with Messy Marv in the future?
Me and Messy have an album coming out April 4th which is already finished and it is called “Explosive Mode Part Two: Back In Business”. We’re about to kill them this year! It is a classic album! Then we are gonna drop another album together by the end of the year. This is gonna be our year. Based on my record, the Messy and Quinn record, and Messy got an album coming and that shit is heated. Then we are gonna drop another Messy and Quinn! We finished one album already and we already wrote the whole other album but we just ain’t laid because Messy is out in New York messing with some people.
Do you have any offers on the table?
I would like to give a shout out to the whole Dip Set and Jim Jones. He’s coming to look out for me like how Jon did with 40. Even if we don’t come to no terms, I would like to give a shout out to them niggaz for being real like that. A cat from Harlem is going out of his way to give a nigga from San Francisco props. I respect that and will always have respect for them and be a part of their movement. I see Juvey is gonna bubble and Juvey is a good friend of mine. I see with that UTP situation he’s gonna do it right because he’s a good dude. Overall Warner Bros, Dip or Juvey, or maybe me just holding out and have my own shit.
What is the club scene like in the Bay right now?
When you are out here you need to go to the Sound Factory because it is cracking. The city of San Jose just recently shut down 40’s Ambassador’s Lounge. They didn’t want too many niggaz gathering at one place and at one time. We partied for a whole year straight and one incident gave them the reason. They didn’t want us out there in that area anyway.
Is he going to appeal it so he can keep it open?
No, 40 ain’t trippin’ because it’s hella paperwork and lawyers and he’s trying to work on records so it ain’t even worth it. But he did it and invited the biggest people in the industry and they came and got their promo on. He gave every rapper in the Bay that was semi-hot to come there.
What’s ghost riding? Also what’s going on with the side shows?
What you do is put the car in neutral or even drive and get out that muthafucka and hold on to the steering wheel and walk with it. Niggaz hanging out the car and all kinds of shit! You be outside the whip ghost riding through the side show. Niggaz come out to the side show and do doughnuts, figure 8's, burn their tires up, and sometimes they wreck their shit. People stand on top of the cars feeling the beat and hanging out the windows. It’s all a part of this Hyphy shit. Niggaz trying to say it’s because of drugs but it’s all a part of the movement. We just hyphy out here!
The Bay has been like this for a while?
We been like this! We had our player shit going but we are getting off the player shit now. The younger generation with these dreads they needed to express themselves and Hyphy is a way for them to do that.
Will we hear some Hyphy shit on your new album?
On my new album you will hear at least three Hyphy tracks. And I got some storytelling, but I’m raw. You got to check it out because what I serve is grown man shit and I can get hyphy, and go dumb. I got some shit that if you listen to it word for word you will be like this nigga should have been where he is on his way to.
Do you have any guest features?
I got Seff Tha Gaffla, Big Rich, Ya’ Boy, E-A-Ski, and The Hoodstarz on the album. There are nineteen songs and I’m bringing a true solo album. I’m tired of hearing these compilations! Everybody is having the same people on their albums. I’m representing as a true solo artist.
How is the album doing so far?
I sold 9,600 for the first week and that’s great! That’s immaculate for out here! I figure if I can get three more weeks of nine then they will be banging at my door.
Are you doing shows outside of the Bay?
I’m all up and down California, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Idaho, Phoenix, Tempe, San Diego, and I’m really trying to get that LA market.
What is it like to go to a place like Idaho? How do they feel about your music over there?
Some of them know it and some of them don’t but they just be like school kids so they are just happy to see a muthafucka out there doing something. They love that shit! I need my cake from elsewhere, but pretty soon I’m trying to rock New York. That is the type of shit that I’m doing. I’m a good enough rapper to go down to Atlanta and they will feel my energy.
Do you think the business side of the industry will except Hyphy?
They are gonna have to be ready because we are here now. We are taking it! It is just like George Bush, if he knew people could hi-jack a plane with some muthafuckin scissors he woulda gave people searches before getting on the plane. That caused two crashes into the twin towers. If you’re sleeping on the Bay Area and you chose not to be awake when we hit it’s too late. We already hi-jacked the plane and now we’re about to run into the buildings.
It seems like people in the Bay are real united now. How did the Bay come together?
We are all cool! Me, Keak, Hoodstarz, Bav and all of us are out here in the streets. We put all them niggaz together and don’t nobody want to fuck nothing up. Kansas City is another spot that needs a chance too because you got people like Rich The Factor, Tech N9ne and so many others that are poppin’. Tech is one of the greatest rappers living, and he has his business together. The man did 160 shows last year!
Do you have a video for the album?
I got one on the internet right now called “Look What I Done”. It’s track number five and it’s a true story about me. Also me, and E-A-Ski about to do one real soon hopefully on MTV because we are gonna be on MTV March 5th. They did Bay Area “My Block!” They came like how they did Houston right before Houston blew up. MTV came and did the “My Block” shit and it blew them up. They came out to my momma’s house. We were out there 170 deep.
MTV got to go into your Mom’s house?
They didn’t go inside but they got to see my block and my neighborhood where I live at still and got to see about 170 of my soldiers. They get to find out that its niggaz in San Francisco. It’s not just homosexuals out here! It’s niggaz out here and we are into getting money, having money, and having hoes because it is big pimpin’ going on out here. JT was right there and he’s a boss tycoon. It is March 5th on MTV.