This is a short chat I had with an up and coming artist named ZEEQ. We first talked about how he never got any sleep but that is not included in the interview. The base of the interview revolves around Michael Jackson, Osi Umenyiora and Al Capone. I bet you never thought you would hear them three people in one sentence.
Cornell Da Gr8: Who was your biggest musical inspiration when growing up?
ZEEQ: I’d have to say my biggest musical inspiration growing up would have to be a tie between MJ [Michael Jackson] and Jay-Z. They are both greats in my opinion.
Cornell Da Gr8: Did you cry when Michael Jackson passed away?
ZEEQ: Surprisingly, not really because I just remember being in Belize at the time and seeing the impact his death had way out there. It’s crazy cause just like me, people loved that dude. The whole week everywhere I went they were playing this man’s music. It was almost like he never even left. His presence was that great even in death. I couldn’t cry after that. That man was still around and he still is to this day the way I see it.
Cornell Da Gr8: Why were you in Belize?
ZEEQ: I’m actually Belizean and I went for the first time with my grandparents because they wanted to make sure I got to see where I came from and where my roots are and all that good stuff.
Cornell Da Gr8: Oh okay, do you ever try to put your heritage into your music?
ZEEQ: It’s incorporated in there one way or another. Directly or indirectly.
Cornell Da Gr8: Have you told females that you rap to get an advantage over other guys?
ZEEQ: No, that’s lame. If you have to tell chicks that you are about your business to get somewhere, then chances are you probably aren’t about your business and have very little game in fact.
Cornell Da Gr8: Yeah, I guess you are right. If you do not make it in the “rap game,” what career will you choose instead?
ZEEQ: Right now I’m currently in college, I go to NYIT [New York Institute of Technology] and I’m majoring in business. But to be honest I don’t really like to think about that because the music through the years has become a part of my identity a little bit. I could do other things but it just wouldn’t feel right. The love for it’s too strong. So if I don’t make it in the rap game…its whatever. I never saw this as a career. It was more like therapy and my way of expressing me and sending a couple messages in the process.
Cornell Da Gr8: So you will be a businessman not a BUSINESS, man?
ZEEQ: I’d like to be a nice fusion of both. But music’s the priority and the main goal. I plan on making intelligent decisions.
Cornell Da Gr8: Alright, that’s cool. What is something that most people don’t know about you?
ZEEQ: 90’s definitely or the 20’s.
Cornell Da Gr8: Why?
ZEEQ: Well the 90’s was just a mellow time and a lot of culture that really shaped me started to brew at that time. So I’ll always have a love for the 90’s but the 20’s? I just loved the whole style and music of that time period. It seemed so raw and in the moment. especially with a lot of the swing dancing and 3 piece suit wearing haaa it was smooth.
Cornell Da Gr8: Do you watch Boardwalk Empire then since we are speaking on the 20’s?
ZEEQ: Yeah, I’m still on the first season. My roommate got me on it. It’s a dope show.
Cornell Da Gr8: Yeah, it is my favorite show on television bar none. Speaking of time and periods, what should people expect from your mixtape, Free Time?
ZEEQ: I could see why. I like what I’m watching so far. How they tied in The Al Capone story was pretty dope. I’m not gonna lie. But as far as my mixtape Free Time, is concerned I think people should expect the truth. I plan to provide the hip hop game with some of the uniqueness and timeless music that sticks around for ages. I’m crafting it like an album and I want everything I’m saying to be felt and understood. And if I can get you to dance a little in the process then dope.
Cornell Da Gr8: Who do you have producing on it?
ZEEQ: I have a bunch of producers I know and a couple I stumbled upon. But I have some production from a producer by the name of Ta-KU on there as well as a dude named SoulChef. He produced “Pour Me A Cup”, the first single off the mixtape. I also have a few cats I know from around the way growing up in NY, Superficial, Freddy Laz, a dude name Hassan from Guts and Glory Productions as well as a dude named SangoBeats.
Cornell Da Gr8: What artist do you listen to outside of yourself?
ZEEQ: I listen to everything. I’m a versatile person. I love Aaliyah, AeroSmith, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Tupac, Nas, Bigge, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and The Beatles.
Cornell Da Gr8: Being from New York, are you a Giants or Jets fan?
ZEEQ: Big Blue!
Cornell Da Gr8: What do you feel about the Osi Umenyiora contract complaints?
ZEEQ: Umenyiora’s biggest mistake was signing a six-year extension near the end of the 2005 regular season. Not to mention his playing isn’t as consistent as it should be. He does come through clutch when we need him. He is a great player too much politics and less work.
Cornell Da Gr8: So you wouldn’t have a problem with him leaving?
ZEEQ: It would be a loss, but he could be replaced.
Cornell Da Gr8: Who you got winning the NBA championship?
ZEEQ: I’m a Celtic fan so I’m gonna have to root for them especially if my boy Ray’s back for the playoffs. If not, I see the Heat and OKC facing off.
Cornell Da Gr8: Okay, in final words, thoughts, shoutouts or questions?
ZEEQ: Well, I definitely wanna shout out New York…Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens…all the 5 boroughs. This made me what I am today. And tune in June 23rd, for Free Time on Datpiff.com for a story of the ages. You could also find links on my Twitter @ZEEQtheZYC when it drops. Also “Pour Me A Cup” video coming very soon which could also be found posted on my twitter along with most of my updates.