“Through music, I have had many opportunities. I’ve done workshops for elementary school kids, I’ve mentored artists since I got into the culture, I’ve been a speaker at various events, I’ve hosted hip-hop shows and had a regular open mic/hip-hop night that I was co-hosting.”
Check out the interview with Queezi exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Tell us where this all began. What is your history in the music scene?
I got introduced to Hip Hop at a very young age through a couple of my older cousins. I still, to this day, tell the story about the first two rap shows that I went to. I had to be under 10 years old, and Sir Mix-a-lot and ICE T came to perform at our local amusement park in the late 80’s. Naturally, These two artists later became two of my favorite MCs and mentors.
At that time, little did I know how big a role Hip Hop and music in general, would play in my life. From elementary school through high school, I immersed myself in Hip Hop culture through friends, family, talent shows, TV, RapCity on Much Music whatever and however I could get it.
In 98’ I was working at a mall in Vancouver, and while on my breaks I would visit a kiosk that sold Hip Hop attire. I became friends with a guy that worked there and later on another guy that worked there, we all had music specifically Hip Hop in common we later formed a 3 man group called the OPC. I eventually left the group, as I fell into addiction to crack cocaine for the next few years.
What are the best ways to promote yourself as an artist? Any tips you can give us?
I think the best way to promote myself as an artist, is to keep making music and building my catalog. I tell everyone that I meet, this is what I do and what I have done. Most folks don’t even call me Jason, they just call me Queez, Q or Queezi. It’s funny to think that this is happening.
I regularly post on social media, I have my music available on all digital platforms. I also have hard copies of my albums and download cards: I like to keep this for me to hand out to folks I run into when I’m out and about. I also perform regularly and stay connected to the community.
What do you ultimately want to become in your career?
The obvious answer is to become a full-time stage performer/recording artist and to be able to do what I love and receive rewards for doing it.
Honestly, I ask myself this question all the time and my answer is always changing.
Through music, I have had many opportunities. I’ve done workshops for elementary school kids, I’ve mentored artists since I got into the culture, I’ve been a speaker at various events, I’ve hosted Hip Hop shows and had a regular open mic/hip-hop night that I was co-hosting. So, having had my hands on different hip hop related activities, it’s hard for me to really say.
One thing I do know is that whatever direction the music takes me. I will be content cause I am getting the chance to do what I love; make music and see others make music and then get to share that music with people.
What is the hardest thing about being in the music business?
I think the hardest thing about the music business is the constant grind when you’re trying to come up and make a name for yourself.
There are so many artists out there trying to get known, it’s almost oversaturated with the same types of songs and the same type of artist male or female.
There are so many opinions out there on what you should be doing and so I always remember what a close friend told me once, “don’t take yourself too seriously” and honestly, this is the best advice I’ve gotten in the two decades that I been in the biz. You’re either going to make it or you’re not and for me, I don’t care if I make it or not, because I’m always going to make music. Real MCs never stops writing! LOL
What is it like in your city? What is the music scene like, and how is it like living there overall?
Music in Vancity is interesting. I feel our music scene can sometimes be very trendy and pretentious. There was a time back in the early 90’s where there was, or there seemed to be a really strong sense of community in the Hip Hop scene. Mind you, I was also very young at that age, but I felt it and that’s what inspired me to do what I do now.
I really feel like we have no direction, we have never had an artist or group really pop off and make a name for themselves that’s made a substantial mark in Hip Hop.
The city itself is young and growing every day. Currently, we are going through a crisis with Fentanyl and an increasing number of deaths related to this drug. The city has also seen a rise in the violence associated with drugs. On top of that, we are experiencing a housing crunch, where the price of housing has gone up drastically, compared to income. The average price of a home in this city is 1.4million and the minimum wage is $10.50/hour. This province has opened its doors to foreign investors to come and help build our economy, but really it’s had an adverse effect. I love my city and will rep it till I die, but it’s not something that I make part of my music. I make reference to what I see going on but don’t explicitly make it specific to Vancouver. I truly think all problems are world problems and can be solved at a higher level.
What are some of the advice you can give and share with other artists who are still trying to come up?
Don’t ever give up. Follow your dreams and passions and set goals for yourself no matter how big or small.
When I started working on the Nevalookinback album, I said to myself that I am going to make an album, just to be able to say that I did it. Now I am working on another album after releasing 3 projects and I have no plans to stop.
Every opportunity I get to perform or to share this gift that I was given to others I jump on. Whether I get paid or I perform for free, the passion and love are still the same. I always give 100% whether it’s 10 people or 200 people that I am in front of. That is what separates me from others I truly do it for the love and whatever comes out of that is a gift and a blessing.
What is the best thing that’s ever happened in your career?
There are so many great things that have come to me in this career of mine. I get to do what I love and I’ve made a name for myself in the local scene. I was told by some Vancouver Hip Hop OGs that I am needed in this culture to continue its evolution and spread the message. Making albums and having my music available to the masses is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me. When I tell someone that I meet that I am a recording artist and they can access my music at digitally from anywhere, that’s priceless.
What is your inspiration?
Throughout my life, I have had many inspirations. Now, I’d say that it’s my son Nazeem and my daughter, Bailey. They are the driving force behind everything I do and hope to do.
Also, a long time fixture and solid foundation of my personal and musical life, has been my older brother Rodney aka Rawd Pesci. He always pushes me to strive to be the best lyricist that I can be. When I get complacent, my bro gives me that get up and go that I need.
Going through some of the stuff that I have is also inspiration, I’m still here and doing it and wake up every day wanting to do it again.
Do you feel anyone can be successful now in today’s world of music?
It sure seems that way when you hear some of the artists that are out there today. It gets me frustrated when I see other artists who are so talented but have no clue what they are doing and aren’t willing to learn or be open-minded.
I grew up in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s so I’ve gotten to be a part of something special since it’s birth, through its evolution. Hip Hop means something different to everybody, but for me, I will forever stay true to my roots in hip-hop, which to me are all about community and culture.
In this day and age, it seems that instant gratification and subliminal stimulation is the norm. If an artist jumps on the bandwagon and conforms to fit current trends, then they might have a greater chance of blowing up. But that comes at the expense of originality and principle.
“Stand for something or fall for nothing.”
Where can we find you on social media?