Once, the despondent feeling of unabashed loneliness overwhelmed Clifford “Quan” Peacock. As he stood to face the judge, the rapper’s tailored reluctance and apprehension mimicked his Italian crafted suit. The penetrating concept of being caged for life ricocheted through his psyche, causing mental carnage. Seated in the front row of the gallery, his family showed its support. With tightly interlaced fingers and lightly sweating palms, the people in Quan’s corner prayed. Some prayed aloud, while the prayers of others escaped from behind clenched lips.
Those prayers worked. Quan beat that life sentence and has triumphed over several other mandated court appearances. Carrying memories of the time that he’s invested inside and outside the streets, Quan’s cumulative experiences have shaped the man that he has become. Sculpted by these episodes; he is a walking testimony. The adventure that constitutes Quan’s life rivals any best-selling novel penned by Donny Goines. Physical restraint proved incapable of arresting his development as a man or as an MC.
“Just A Moment,” signaled the beginning of DonferQuan’s world wide musical career. The track boasted a collaboration with Nas; this talented pairing earned critical acclaim. Although several years have passed following the single’s release; Quan is still diligently dedicated to his craft. Breathing harmonic melodies into 16s; Quan is music. With the release of several mixtapes and now the debut digital album release, Walking Testimony, Quan testifies, “I’m Good.”
AllHipHop.com: You’ve released DJ Vlad Presents: Carrying the Tradition. From a business perspective why did your imprint, Kingz Nation, team up with Amalgam Digital to release this mixtape?
Quan: I got some good friends over there at Amalgam and they provided an avenue to release a digital album, it’s called Walking Testimony [which dropped on July 28th ]. So, you know, that was like the advertisement. We gave it away for free to let the people know that I’m still here. I’m still at it. I still got bars.
AllHipHop.com: Back in ’04, “Just A Moment” from Nas’ Street Disciple served as your passport to worldwide recognition. It’s been five long years, what have you been working on?
Quan:When that record dropped, that eventually led to me getting a deal at Atlantic Records [about] six to seven months later. I went a year and a half to two years working on trying to get the album released. Well obviously, due to differences between my management and Ill Will and [between] Ill Will and Atlantic; my project came to a hold which eventually led me to ask for a release.
In between that I’ve released five mixtapes with Carrying the Tradition being my fifth one. Just grinding it out, traveling around, doing shows; if wasn’t doing that, I was in the studio and practicing. I’ve been practicing, playing the piano [and] getting better at my talents…Before I decided to entertain the independent route I was really focused on the mainstream situation. I still am; but, the grind continues.
Nas – Just A Moment (ft. Quan)
AllHipHop.com: Let’s get on Until My Death. Is there a tentative track listing; when is it coming out?
Quan: Until My Death, that’s a project that I’m saving for— I want to say, for a major. I would want for that project to come out on a major.
AllHipHop.com: Is it done or is it an urban myth?
Quan: For the most part it’s done. I have the foundation pieces for that album; the rest is built around that. If not I might release it as an independent; but, when I do it, it’s got to be on a certain level. In the meantime, and between time, I got records. I stay with records. But, it’s a few things that comes with my major album, Until My Death, that I want to share with the world. It’s a way that that story has to be told.
We’re warming up with the Walking Testimony, the digital album. The first single is “I’m Good.” I got that tattooed around my neck. I’m good when I’m not. I’m alright when I ain’t. That’s the name of the first single…
“I’ve done some wild things in my life when I was in the streets. But, you grow from that; I’m a father now. I have to be here.”
AllHipHop.com: As you’ve grown and matured as a man; how has that maturity been reflected in your lyrics?
Quan: It affects me in every shape form and fashion. It’s not what you do but how you do it. I can get my point across. I can share the streets with you in a classy manner, you know. My lyrics reflect who I am and where I come from. I’ve always been a sharp cat. I’ve done some wild things in my life when I was in the streets.
But, you grow from that; I’m a father now. I have to be here. That f*** it factor, it doesn’t apply to me no more, unless I’m deciding on whether it’s life or death. Other than that, that factor don’t exist. I got to get out here and do what I got to do, not only for myself; but, for them. Because, they didn’t ask to be here.
AllHipHop.com: Some may try to label you as a one hit wonder, how do try to dispel that idea? Is it a misconception?
Quan: One hit wonder? I am music; I’m not a one hit wonder. Put it this way, the first record that the world heard me on, thank God it was a hit. I’ve yet to have a major single released and budgets put behind it like others. Until that happens, you know, then we’ll see, you feel me? I haven’t had an album drop. I got love off of me and Nas being on a record together and it doing well. That was a blessing and I’m thankful. I’m real thankful. Based on the responses that I get from the people; hey, they love my music. It’s just a matter of time.
I’m going to do it regardless because I love the music. I’m going to rap or I’m going to sing. I’m going to play the piano. I’m going to do that regardless. You know, I challenge whoever who feel I ain’t on my job; it’s nothing. I love the music. I love the competition. So, one hit wonder, nah. I think you just got to hear my music.
“A lot of that doesn’t ruffle my feathers; because, at the end of the day it’s nothing.. I got a little cousin that I love to death. He’s a hood n####; but, he’ll wear some small jeans.”
AllHipHop.com: What are you doing to sustain your lyrical legitimacy?
Quan:[chuckles] Considering the fact that there’s not a whole lot of lyrical prowess right now, Actually, I listen to other lyricists. I stay banging classics, you know. From DJ Quik, Too Short, Outkast Southernplayalisti[cadillacmuzik],you know, The Purple Tape [Only Built 4 Cuban Linx] Raekwon, up to Biggie and Jay.
I listen to cats that are on the top their game, be it today or yesterday. You know, the music that I like that I felt was sharp. I feel like when you step into the booth if you’re not doing it to be the best at it or to take the craft somewhere else, to a higher level, what are you doing it for? You’re in the way. Whatever it is, be the best at what you do. That’s that.
AllHipHop.com: Has anyone emerged or reemerged that’s really motivated you to get back in the booth?
Quan: Honestly, I got a lot of faith in my pen game. So, as a Hip-Hop artist myself, I just love the art enough to want to have the illest bars ever, at any given time! That’s just the artist in me. There are a lot of talented artists out there, the L.O.X; I’m cool with all of them. Sheek [Louch], that’s my dude. Cassidy, that’s my homie; he’s raw. There’s so many of them. Weezy and them are spitting over there. I bang Jeezy. I bang TIP, you know. Jay, Nas—dudes that are known to do what they do—for what they’re supposed to do. Gillie that’s my dude; me and Gillie are cool. Gillie’s a real street n####.
Then you got your dudes that make good music but they’re not the most lyrical cats ever.
There’s a lot of artists out there that have came went and still here that I can bang their music. But outside of the few that I’ve named there’s not many, I can’t really say that I’m totally happy at the state that music is in…
AllHipHop.com: Do you embrace diversity within Hip-Hop?
Quan: I do to a certain extent; they got to be able to make sense. But, that’s my opinion there are certain things that I’m just not going to do. I’m not going to throw a fit about it. I’ve been to a lot of places in the world; I’ve seen a lot of things. A lot of that doesn’t ruffle my feathers; because, at the end of the day it’s nothing.. I got a little cousin that I love to death. He’s a hood n####; but, he’ll wear some small jeans.
Quan: I swear, but don’t run up on him the wrong way you’ll have a bad day. To each his own, me myself, I’m a G. I move a little differently. There are certain things that I ain’t going to do. I feel like that’s where it’s supposed to be. Let me put it like this, there’s certain things you know Jay will never do. There’s certain things that you know Pac would never do. There’s certain things that you know Biggie would never do, there’s certain things that you know Raekwon will never do, or Ghost or Kiss or Jeezy. Different cats, why because; these n##### is street n#####. It’s certain things that you know Scarface ain’t gonna do. You know, that Ice Cube ain’t gonna do, that Eazy E would never do. You know what I’m saying, that J Dilla wouldn’t do, that Soulja Slim wouldn’t do. You know this.
At the end of the day there’s a code to this and that’s what I watch out for. You have to watch out for your contradictions— who has got more of the values? Who is speaking something at the end of the day? I don’t agree with everything that Lil Wayne says but guess what; Wayne is the best at doing what Wayne does. I understand his logic, I rock with him; he’s talented. Based off that I can listen to him… There’s a code to this we create ethics. I watch and I listen. It has to make sense to me. It has to make sense to my life; I have to be able to relate to it. That’s my job as a listener and lover of music. I’m not worried about what the next person does.
AllHipHop.com: You seem like a walking contradiction. I’m mystified at how all your qualities can be rolled up into one man.
Quan: Check it out; I got good at playing the piano in the penitentiary. My biological father—name it in the streets; he’s done it. He plays the piano and he sings. Unlike him, I chose to do something other than to live the rest of my life in these streets. Music has always been around me throughout my life.
Coming up, for immediate gratification, I wanted money; like yesterday. I took to the streets, heavy. I dunno but somehow and some way God had his hand on me. Practicing and running the streets— Come back, write a rhyme that I thought about while I was in the street. I’d go to jail, write rhymes, and then come home. Eventually what happened is that I got tired of that pattern. So, I’ve chosen to focus more and more on music.
AllHipHop.com: What’s the most important life lesson that you want to teach your children?
Quan: Love is a verb and friendship is one soul in two bodies. You should always choose family over fortune. One last thing; if you make ten save at least five. So, when those rainy days come you’ll be straight.
AllHipHop.com: I definitely appreciate your time. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?
Quan: Walking Testimony! Don’t forget that you can holla at me on www.MySpace/donferquan. Shout out to everybody at AllHipHop.com. Thank you for having me. I’m not going anywhere; but, to the top!