Consequence: This or That?

Often times, rappers are marginalized. One gun reference makes you a gangster rapper, and one push for piece makes you conscious. Kanye, GLC, and Common make G.O.O.D. Music hard to classify under these umbrellas, but Consequence may be even tougher. Birthed into the industry by way of A Tribe Called Quest’s Beats Rhymes & Life, […]

Often times, rappers are marginalized. One gun reference makes you a gangster rapper, and one push for piece makes you conscious. Kanye, GLC, and Common make G.O.O.D. Music hard to classify under these umbrellas, but Consequence may be even tougher. Birthed into the industry by way of A Tribe Called Quest’s Beats Rhymes & Life, Cons appears to have his Jansport strapped up, not his Tech. But today, with songs such as the sexcapade-based “Callin’ Me,” the Queens rapper won’t be passing out flyers after the show.

The comeback kid takes a minute to evaluate his many sides, in discussing his forthcoming debut. After a plethora of successful mixtapes, Consequence knows his audience, and he has to – to uphold expectations from within his Grammy Family. And as the song promised, there’s hella haters – including some playful blocks from within Cons’ family in this interview, check it. Would you label yourself a “conscious rapper” or a “backpacker”?

Consequence: I think I’m a rapper with a conscience, but I don’t really think I’m no backpack rapper, ‘causeI ain’t…[laughs]…you know, it’s so funny ‘cause you gotta be real mindful what you say. I don’t wanna ever alienate the backpack crowd, ‘cause a lot of people support me. But I don’t dress like no backpack rapper; I don’t really talk like no backpack rapper; I don’t really have backpack rapper issues. [Laughs] What are “backpack rapper issues”?

Consequence: It’s just certain ideals. ‘Cause I just feel like I understand how the hood works. I understand how the streets work, I understand how mainstream works, I understand how this music works. So like I said, I never want it to be said that I alienated myself from backpack rap…’cause that’s where people would say, I guess, I got my start and that’s a lot of my fans, and I would never wanna alienate people who support me. But I wouldn’t say I’m just a backpack rapper. I wouldn’t say that. ‘Cause I be in the streets, and I don’t really do the lounges, that’s not where I hang out at. I been there and I been to the t#### bar. I’m not a t#### bar rapper neither. I’m just a dude who’s been exposed to a lot, so I can’t really say I’m just a backpack rapper. ‘Cause I’m not just a Louis Vuitton, baller rapper neither, you know what I’m sayin’? But I got Louis Vuitton shoes. I got a Benz, but I don’t rap about that to the degree where you could say I’m a “bling bling” rapper neither. But I got those things. It’s just what you would… like me, my whole perspective for rapping is just, I rap about what I been exposed to and what I see. That’s why I named myself Consequence. Consequence is like the result of your actions, or the result of your environment, what you see, what comes about from you doing something. So, that’s why I rap. Do you feel that when people put those types of titles on artists?

Consequence: It’s a stereotype, like saying all Black people eat watermelon. We don’t! I know n***as that don’t like watermelon. It’s like saying all White people can’t dance or all [Latinos] are landscapers. That’s not fair. Fat Joe is one of the most successful artists in Hip-Hop. But because he’s Latin, does that mean he does certain things? No. He probably does a whole lot more “n***a s**t” than a lot of n***as do! It’s like, people say 50’s a “gangsta rapper,” 50 doesn’t really classify as a gangsta rapper. 50 been through gangsta s**t. And just like people say I’m a “backpack rapper.” I be in the streets every day. Every day. I don’t have a backpack on when I’m in the streets. [Laughs] But, like I said, I never wanna disenfranchise myself from backpack rap, ‘cause that’s where a lot of people got introduced to me because my vehicle into the game was A Tribe Called Quest. But if you listen to Beats, Rhymes & Life, yeah, there is backpack rap on there that I’m kickin’, but I’m kickin’ a lot of… The party rhymes with the guns and all that…

Consequence: Yeah, but I embrace that. If people feel like I’m a backpack rapper and I represent them, I don’t have no problem with that. But I just feel like it’s not a broad enough definition. And I feel like it’s just not a broad enough definition for a lot of backpack rappers. You could say Kanye is a backpack rapper, but he’s not just a backpack rapper. I mean, there are rappers who are just backpack rappers, and there are rappers who are just bling rappers. Like I don’t know if you’d ever hear Baby make a song… Well, see it’s all in how you define it. ‘Cause “What Happened to That Boy,” you could say it’s a bling song, but what they talkin’ bout ain’t really… It’s kinda conscious. Categorization is just the easiest way for a person to absorb what you’re doing without having to look into the meaning of it. So tell me about the album.

Consequence: The album’s called Don’t Quit Your Day Job. I’m really, really excited about it, it’s about 80% done and it’s real good. I got two records with John Legend on there; Kanye produced about five records on the album so far. We sitting on about 30 records, we really been hustlin’ hard. The other producers I got on there are Notch from the Teamsters; Young Lord did a joint called “ Night Night,” that s**t’s crazy. We got Kilo Kain, who’s a G.O.O.D. Music producer; Devo Springsteen, who’s a G.O.O.D. Music producer. I think it’s gonna fill the void up. It’s like, the sound is new, but some of it is reminiscent of, like Tribe. Like there’s a song on there called “Don’t Forget ‘Em,” after I did it, I was like, [laughing] “I’m almost good; I got like one or two more to do.” ‘Cause it’s like so… It’s the most backpack record on there, but it’s just fits. Cuz the vibe of the beat is something real Tribe, and the hook is real Tribe. [Sings the hook]. Man, I just wish I could let you hear it. Do you personally feel pressure to make a certain kind of music?

Consequence: Nah, I just be making what I go through. I just make music that I go through. Like, I got a song on my joint we thinking about making the first buzz single called “Caught Up in the Hype.” And it may come across like baller-ish, but it’s not ballerish, it’s just like, the first verse is like, “Aww s**t! I’m back in the Louis store/ the sex get any better, I’ll be up in the jewelry store/ or bag Marc Jacobs/ a bag by Marc Jacobs/ but still there’s no guarantee/ that we gone ever make up/ ‘Cause once I had her legs up and her skirt went higher/I heard the voice of reason like Earth, Wind, and Fire/ saying long as she been on earth, this hoe been a liar/ So she ain’t gone never ‘preciate a thing that you buy her/ And even if you put food on her plate like a slider/ She throw it in your face like a constant reminder…” It’s just something I been through. Like, I been to the mall. [Laughs] It’s just a day at the mall, with your girl or with your dude and, you know, we all go through to it. I’m pretty sure you been to the mall with your guy or whatever and you see a pair of Chanel sunglasses like, “Damn, how can I get these outta him!” I do it to my girl! Like, “How can I make her pay for these Gucci sneakers.”

[Interview gets interrupted by his longtime girlfriend’s four-year-old daughter, who wants to say “Hi,” and kindly informs us that her mother is not his girlfriend.] Let me find out the four-year-old is blocking on you.

Consequence: All the time! [Laughs] That’s gotta be quite the hurdle to overcome.

Consequence: Nah, keep her up for a little while, she’ll fall back. She’s learning English, so she likes to really show you that she [can] talk smart, like she knows adult conversation. But she’s a good little girl. She’s like a little old lady, like [the ones] that feed the pigeons in the park? That’s her movement. Do you have kids of your own?

Consequence: Nah, I don’t. Has being around her influenced you or your music in any way?

Consequence: Well, a percentage of my album is about her and her mama. [Laughs] Nah, you know, just things that you go through. It’s a different experience. It’s not like the norm of me just recording from a bachelor’s standpoint, ‘cause I don’t have any children. ‘Cause you know, it’s ups and downs. It’s good things; it’s bad things. Like getting’ slapped in the head after you get a haircut. [Laughing] You cut your hair real low and she wants to play and slap you in the head, you know? But like I said, it’s definitely things that I’ve learned from the whole experience. ‘Cause you know, like if you make relationship records, sometimes they be so cliché. But some of the records I’ve got, I feel come from the perspective of, “It’s sometimes when y’all just make me sick!” [Laughs] You know, as opposed to just something that’s like, “Aww!” It’s just something that a lot of people go through. Like when you be ready to kill somebody and you know you love that person to death…

Consequence: Yeah. But it’s just a different hit on it when you dealing with a mate that has a child. ‘Cause it’s certain things that attach you. It’s a lot of better for worse, ‘cause it’s not just one person. Like, I’ve known [my girlfriend’s daughter] since she was like one year old, so I’ve been one of the primary male figures in her life. But yeah, you know, it’s all good though.