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By Kevin L. Clark


      The year was 1996. When BET’s Rap City was still showcasing balance in Hip-Hop music, a video aired that showed a back-and-forth exchange between Q-Tip and a newcomer to the Tribe.


      That “newcomer” was not all that new as it was Queens, NY MC, Consequence. Those familiar with ATCQ knew – Q-Tip’s cousin appeared on The Chase, Part II off of Midnight Marauders. But now, ‘Quence has hooked up with the updated version of the Native Tongues collective by signing to Kanyé West’s – G.O.O.D. Music label.


      Having release a three-part mixtape series called, The Cons, ‘Quence links up with  DJ Clinton Sparks for its fourth installation entitled, Finish What You Started. The mixtape has featured appearance from Mary J. Blige, Bathgate, and G.O.O.D. Music family members, GLC, and Sa-Ra‘Quencehas a sure-fire heatrock on the table.


      Consequence sits down with HipHopCrack as he talks about how even though things in Hip-Hop have changed… they still stay the same, his forever chemistry with cousin, Q-Tip, and why Hip-Hop should be taking it’s death certificate and hand it over to R&B.


HHC: In 1993, you were a part of one of the rawest crews in Hip-Hop with A Tribe Called Quest. Over the years, though, the landscape of the music has changed. What do you hope to accomplish with this new mixtape?


Consequence: I just want to give people a head’s up with what’s going with the album. I want to continue to gain new listeners and fans. I am definitely proud of this joint. I did it with Clinton Sparks and it is well received by a lot of people. They are saying that it’s the best one that I’ve came out with. I mean I have had a lot of them [mixtapes] come out and this one is definitely the best. It never hurts to cover all the bases… mixtapes, albums, appearing at shows – just whatever can be done to keep your name out there.


HHC: Do you think that the climate or trend is ripe for actual “good” music?


Consequence: Yeah, I think that people are ready for something different. Some that is relatable, new, and refreshing. I want people to say that they’ve been in the situations that I talk about in this mixtape and even so with the album. I’m not shinin’, son. I’m not all the way successful, so, the album kind of touches upon different aspect of life that should resonate with regular person. The album is supposed to drop on February 6th, 2007.


HHC: I mean… Lupé Fiasco seems to be doing successful. So are your co-horts Kanyé West and Common. So with that said, do you think the mainstream public will buy into the Consequence movement?


Consequence: You know what’s funny? The public buys into it because they’re different. Before, you had acts like Tag Team and others who were the minority. A Lupé would’ve been the majority during that time. He would’ve been right up there with 3rd Bass and Gangstarr. That’s the landscape of what the music is right now. They’re the small group of MCs who are staying afloat. The times have definitely changed. Those guys that you’ve mentioned are special for how they managed to survive even though the Hip-Hop scene has changed. Fifteen years ago, everybody could rap like that. Look at all those who were hot a while back and tell me where they’re at now! They are gone. Charlie Brown [from Leaders of the New School] is as nice then, as Lupé is now. I think Chip Fu [from Fu-Schnickens], at his prime, is at the level of guys who are special now. It’s just that there isn’t an abundance of emcees now. I think that it’s due to the fact that you got beat over the head with so much good music that you couldn’t take it anymore. Then the times switched. I think that’s how it is now. You’ve been banged over the head with the snap music that the people are just waiting for people to just say something clever. I think that Hip-Hop is something that evolves and revolves.


HHC: In light of your new album, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” – what can your fans and new listeners expect?


Consequence: I hope that they enjoy it. The album is from top to bottom, something that I am happy about. There are a lot of records on there. There’s a lot of potential on there. It mostly features the family, GLC, Kanyé West, John Legend, and Really Doe. It’s mostly 80% me on there. I want to showcase myself as much as possible. I want people to know me as an artist and as a person. I don’t have beef with anybody else, but I find it better to have myself on the track. I love to just express myself. I think that one… you beat people to the punch and secondly, nothing sells more across the board than being genuine. People can relate to that. When you put something false on the table, you have the damnedest time trying to fill up those holes.


HHC: The other thing that people have been talking about is that A Tribe Called Quest started doing shows together. Will you or have you made appearances during any of their venues?


Consequence: I just finished up doing the NBA 2k7 tour with them. We could possibly get back together in the lab and do a collaborative effort. So, I hope that that will be in the works.


HHC: What do you think is about the chemistry that you and Q-Tip have that makes people listen so intently?


Consequence: I mean it’s because it’s natural. We’ve been doing it for a long time. We have made a lot of records together and it’s just us. When you put the two of us in a booth… it’s a wrap. I mean we’ve established a certain benchmark that most can’t aspire to. We’ve never had a wack joint. We may have an a couple of  aight joints, but we’ve never done anything that’s dead wack. I can  definitely  say that. Even with the demo stuff. I mean… that’s how I ended up getting down with Tribe in the first place. Our chemistry is something concrete and it always works. It never fails.


HHC: A lot of acts during Hip-Hop’s “golden years” are coming back onto the scene. Yourself, AZ, Tribe, De La Soul are right alongside acts like Lupé and others who are given the charge of “bringing Hip-Hop back”. Do you think that the music is in such a downward trend that critics and fans alike have been indicating?


Consequence: If that is how the fans feel about it then, man, I don’t know. I feel like… how can Hip-Hop be dead when R&B can’t really come out without us? Mariah Carey is the only one who can come out without a chance. Swizz Beats did that single for Beyoncé’s album. Maybe we should start saying that R&B is dead. I mean when’s the last time you heard Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson ballad-type production? It’s not R&B anymore. That’s why Hip-Hop has opened its arms to it. You can’t get on the radio without a Hip-Hop beat, period! R&B is dead and there ain’t no hand coming out of the ground to resurrect it. It’s just sad. I mean you have Hip-Hop producers doing tracks for established acts. Look at what Timbaland has been doing for Justin Timberlake and what Preemo’s done for Christina Aguiliera. No one has a true R&B album anymore. No one has a Pleasure Principle out there. Hip-Hop accommodates the R&B style nowadays.


HHC: This new mixtape is titled, “Finish What You Started”. What more do you have left to accomplish in this industry?


Consequence: I have so many things you know. I’m really just getting started. I’m building from the ground up. From the underground and hopefully build this brand up till it’s allowing me to be really comfortable. I’m trying to keep my base, which is with the mixtapes. Those are what got me in XXL and The Source. Plus, it’s a good exercise if more than anything else. It allows me to continue to do it and I am glad that the fans allow me to continue to be myself.



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