Rapping Into Higher States
It was a bright Sunday morning when I met up with Quincy Thomas, a promising L.A. based rapper originally from D.C. A soft-spoken young man, on the quiet side- at least this is how you would first perceive him, until he starts to speak and he shares about his journey that would put 8 Mile to shame. As I walk next to him on route to the Farmer’s Market, he starts to rap a new song he is working on and I am amazed by his skill. In no time – the 5 minutes it takes us to get to the market- the track is finished. Its depth is beyond what I have heard in a while. It isn’t about women, guns, clubbing, swag- it is an existentialist piece similar to what J. Cole gives to the world these days. At the market, Thomas and I discuss his journey to adopt a plant-based existence, his favorite vegan joints, his favorite “clean” grocery store (Erewhon) and his passion for all things that do not harm the environment. When he plays “Trenches”, his single to be released early summer, I can’t help but wish him tremendous success for his message has a great potential to inspire a consumerist society to rethink their choices and their life all together.
What was your experience of the world around you growing up?
My experience on the world was an interesting view. I grew up in Washington D.C. then moved to California around 11. Life was tough growing up, I came from a broken home and finances weren’t great.
How did your surroundings impact your art?
Music has always been in my heart since I was a child. I remember every morning before school my dad would play every Jay-z and Eminem album with all the profanity in it. I was around 7 but that experience is what made me heavily gravitate towards music.
Can you recall the time you discovered your true calling ?
I discovered my art was through poetry. I had a girlfriend at the time and didn’t have a gift. I decided to write her a poem instead and that’s what opened my eyes to the gift I had and I wanted to show that to the world.
Did you have a mentor?
I’ve had a few people who mentored me in life. One of my good friends, Paul has inspired me a lot. I met him while bumming a cigarette, which is funny now because I don’t even smoke anymore. But he and his brother saved me from heading down a destructive path at the time and showed me the spiritual side of things.
Have you experienced any challenges in the music industry and how are you dealing with them/How are you overcoming them?
The biggest challenge I’ve experienced is learning to trust and believe in myself as well as the Universe. If you can’t fully do those things, I’ve learned people usually won’t take you seriously no matter how gifted you are. But everyday I’m reaching out, connecting and networking more with people as I build my self-image.
If you could work with anyone who would it be?
That’s a tough question because there are so many artists I really like. But if I had to choose one it would be J.Cole. I feel that he and I have great similarities, I sometimes joke around and say J. Cole is the older version of me, like me in the future or something.
Whose lyrics inspire you? Why?
Too many artists inspire me to name just one. All music inspires me in different ways
What is your process of writing your songs / tracks?
Typically having that jolt of inspiration and then just going for it. I usually need to have a bottle of water by me then I start flowing with ideas. Then soon a full song is finished. But if I don’t feel it or have that feeling I typically don’t try to force it.
What are you the most proud of that you have achieved/overcome?
My most proud moment is when people hear my music and I see their reactions -it just makes me love what I do even more.
What inspired you to become vegetarian?
It took me years to do it. But overall just health reason I realized all the shit I was putting in my body was no good for me. I just wanted to feel better.
What were the immediate benefits of this plant based existence in your life?
Just feeling more clean and energized. Felt more in tune with myself and also with all the energy that was around me.
What advise would you give to new artists?
Just really be yourself and believe in who you are. Everyone has a purpose on this planet, so if you start believing that... everything else will manifest. Do more than what you say and say less than what you do.
Words and Photo by Ursula Vari
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