TRT Interviews: T.Q.D., of Background Noise Crew

T.Q.D. - The Appetizer EP, Volume 2

If you’re not already aware of Minneapolis’ banging hip-hop scenes and the talented MC’s putting the Twin Cities on the map … friend, where have you been? No worries, though. We can work through this – and we’ve got a guest to help educate the masses.

T.Q.D., from TC’s own Background Noise Crew, was kind enough to stop by The Round Table and give us a look inside his head – as well as his new EP, The Appetizer, Volume 2. (Background Noise Crew is also the home of Analyrical, my favorite Minneapolis rapper, and a lot of other really talented dudes.)

If you have the time, I highly recommend listening to BNC stuff and, if possible, seeing a show.

You can download The Appetizer EP, Vol.2 for free, but if you need satisfaction now, check out the track “Back Burner” below. Enjoy!

T.Q.D. – Back Burner

1) Let’s start off by giving readers an idea of who T.Q.D. is – what are three things essential to understanding “The Quiet Dude”?

Also, why “The Quiet Dude?

The first thing would be that my rap name is literal in that I am quiet. That’s always been my nature. The second would be that am probably more introspective than the average person. The third is that I’m highly opinionated, which throws people off given how quiet I am, but it’s true.

2) The Appetizer EP has a really loose feel with a very literate flow. It kind of reminds me of older hip hop, like early Pharcyde, where it just sounded like a bunch of guys hanging out trading rhymes – rather than thick, glossy synthesizer hooks.

What’s your take on the EP’s style and is there anything specific you were trying to accomplish stylistically?

The songs making up volume 2 of The Appetizer EP were created immediately after I finished my last full length called “Clench, Grit, Breathe”. Even though I had just finished a record, I thought it’d be a good idea to keep making songs without the intention of making a record with a set concept; just see what happened.

These 7 songs are the best of what I came up with. I’ll keep this series going as I continue to make songs in between projects. It just so happened that I had a lot of female drama at the time the volume 2 songs were made, so that tensions shows throughout of the EP.

3) How do you compose lyrics – are there any MCs that really inspire you?

I’ve tried every method of writing you can think of, but the one that works best for me is to simply wait for the beat speak. I have a lot of topics in mind that I’d like to explore, but I don’t write until the right beat comes along.

When I let the beat guide me, it’s always more organic.

In terms of who inspires me: Chuck D, Kool G Rap, J-Live come to mind. I wouldn’t name any of them as direct influences on my particular style, but they are people who literally make me want to rap when I hear them.

If you could share the stage with one MC – local or global, alive or dead – who would it be?

Chuck D is my favorite rapper ever, so sharing the stage with Public Enemy would be awesome.

4) You’ve been rapping since 1997 – in the last decade or so, how has the Minneapolis hip hop scene changed. Where do you think it’s headed?

Among other things, there are two very obvious ways the scene has changed.

First off, nationally speaking, Minnesota is taken more seriously.  It used to be that national reviews of local records spent the whole time enamored with the fact a Minnesotan knew anything about hip-hop.  But now with the success of the Rhymesayers camp, you can tell a difference. Reviews from out of town talk more about the actual music, rather than harp on Minnesota … or at least, not nearly as much as they used to.

The way the scene has changed here on a local level is that there are a ton of rappers in town and it’s not nearly as tough as it used to be to book shows. There were certainly rappers in town ten years ago, but not nearly as many and not as diverse in sound. You can easily argue that it’s gotten saturated at this point, but that’s the price you pay for an active scene with many artists.

5) What’s next for T.Q.D. and the Background Noize Crew? Are you planning any upcoming shows, new material or collaborating on any new projects?

I actually have two upcoming projects planned.  I’m working on a full length produced entirely by Phingaz (also in Background Noise Crew) and once that is done I’ll be working on a full length produced entirely by Vividend, who’s a friend located in Salt Lake City.

As far as the rest of Background Noise Crew emcees are concerned, ToneKrusher Smith and Status Reign are on deck with albums to be released later this year.  I’m excited for both of them. Analyrical and Phingaz also have new solo albums in the works, but it’s not known at this moment when those will come out.

6) Soap Box: Tell us anything we forgot to ask – best drink at Downtime, hottest Background Noize Crew member we don’t know about yet, thoughts on Iron Man 2 …?

I’m actually not a good person to tell you what drink is good at a particular bar. I have no variety when it comes to ordering drinks: vodka/cranberry, no matter where I am.

The hottest Background Noise Crew member people don’t know about yet would be Status Reign.  He’s the only emcee in the crew who has yet to release an album, so by default, people don’t know much about him. I’m excited for him and confident people will enjoy what he has to offer later on this year.

I haven’t seen Iron Man 2 yet, but I’m planning on it. However, I’m expecting to be disappointed.

Finally, I’d like to thank you for this interview opportunity and encourage people to visit to stay up to date with news regarding members of the crew.

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