Special Correspondent: Cinque Muhammad TLG Daily Plug-In
With senseless violence continuing to besiege the City of Chicago and claiming the lives of its children within the inner-city areas, rapper Que B.I.L.L.A.H. recently released his video forKKK: Kids Killing Kids, drawing the comparison between the Ku Klux Klan and youth killings throughout the nation.
“In inner cities all across America, Trayvon is killing Trayvon, black on black crime,” states the artist. “If we don’t love, respect and protect each other, how can we expect America to protect us against the Zimmerman’s of this world?” The TLG Daily Plug-In caught up with the Austin area native to talk about his prolific work, his views on the causes of the problem, and what youth can do position themselves to survive their war-torn environment.
TLG Daily Plug-In: The video and song is an epic presentation! So many messages, visually and lyrically. Take me through the creative process of writing the song and conceptualizing the imagery?
Que: Well, the song started with the video concept. I have images and ideas in my head, and they often come together and spontaneously combust in my mind into an idea for a film. After that, I then run it by Noyz, the Director of Da Visionaryz and a good friend of mine whom I collaborate with often. Originally the idea was to recreate scenes from films such as Juice, Menace 2 Society and Boyz In the Hood; and for every scene that showed gun violence, we would use Nintendo guns instead of real guns.
In late 2012 the producer of The KKK, Chuck Lawayne, sent me some beats. I called him and told him like, “Man those are good beats, but not my style. Send me some more.” So now a week or two later, I’m in the shower with the beats playing. The beat came on, and out of nowhere I started singing, “I believe the children are the future/Teach them well and let them lead the way.” So now I’m like, “That’s it, that’s the hook for The KKK.”
I wanted the hook to sound serious, because it sounded funny when I was singing it in auto-tune, lol. I ended up putting Gemstones on it. That dude is a dope artist and a perfectionist like me. So now that the song is done, I get a call from another friend and director, Brandon Riley, who shot my first video, Head in the Whip While the Chick Was Driving. Brandon said, “Hey, I have this talented young director looking for some dope stuff to do, so I think you two should link up and do some stuff.” This new director’s name was Seth.
TLG Daily Plug-In: You recently commented on Facebook that Kids Killing Kids is not the problem, it’s only a symptom of the problem, and the real problem lies with the imbalance of wealth in the world. Please touch on that for a second?
Que: Well, much like a runny nose is a sign that you have a cold, which is a virus, Kids Killing Kids is a sign that America has a virus. Left untreated, it can lead to bigger problems. The imbalance of wealth is a serious problem, mainly because of the vast differences in living conditions. This violence that plagues our city is happening where the average incomes are the lowest in the city. The bottom line is money… money talks, and if you don’t have any, end of conversation.
TLG Daily Plug-In: For over a decade you have built a career, and stayed true to the cause that you believe in. What’s your opinion on the direction that rap music is headed and the responsibility that rappers have?
Que: Let me clarify that the cause I believe in is creativity. Yes I have made socially conscious songs like The KKK, but let’s not forget I’m the same guy that made ‘Head in the Whip (While the Chick Was Driving)’, lol. I think there is creativity in some gangster rap, trap rap, disrespectful women raps, and rap that glorifies drugs. Mind you, I said some, not all. Let’s not forget that all that is a reality as well, and some people just speak on their realities. As far as where rap is going and the responsibility to uplift, I will say this; I think rap should be a world of variety and contrast. Hip-Hop was all about being cutting-edge, staying ahead of the curve, and breaking the rules or changing the rules. So I advise my older heads out there to get in tune, and don’t miss the movement.
TLG Daily Plug-In: Lastly, what are you working on at the moment? What is next on the agenda?
Que: Right now I’m working on a prosperous 2014. I have two projects lined up. The first project is called 1000 Words. The second project that will drop at the end of the summer is called 2094. This project will be an ode to the 90’s music, culture and fashion. Besides music, I’m working on a clothing line called Art Official Clothing Drive. Along with the clothing line, I’m starting a line of wooden accessories and collectables called Morning Wood. I expect 2014 to be a prosperous year, and God willing, I will be on somebody’s tour by the time summer hits.