Last week we had the pleasure of meeting with Philadelphian rap industry figure Q The Question. Q has been on the grind for a minute and has collected a lot of knowledge about what makes a business successful. You can check out the full interview in the RMR Podcast on YouTube/Spotify.
Quinton, professionally known as Q the Question, is an entrepreneur, artist manager, writer, executive of his own label, and master of his world. He built his label from the ground up, and now has street campaigns in several major cities around the country. So how did he do it? Here’s what he had to tell us.
Popularizing Your Brand | Q The Question
In today’s society, there is a lot of stress put on using the internet to grow your brand. Being able to reach anyone, anywhere may be an invaluable utility, but Q stresses real-world grinding too. “The main thing the internet creates are facades,” Q said. “I’m always big on reaching people in person.”
“Even when I first started I was repping my label,” he continues. “Passing out flyers, organizing street teams and campaigns in cities. Big posters everywhere. Gas stations, bus stops, billboards… You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing one. The internet may be great but it’s nothing like people actually seeing your stuff in the street.”
It was moves like this that got SKE Records into the local scene, and then eventually further. Combine that with a presence on social media, and you will find that his content is both consistent and representative of a tangible scene in the real world.
The Respect My Region Podcast Episode 15 Featuring Q The Question
Q The Question also stressed the importance of garnering attention, rather than just infatuation. He pointed out how it’s never a coincidence whenever big names in rap always happen to have some kind of controversy going on in their lives. Even if people show disapproval at first, checking out your brand, business, etc. is still exactly that.
The SKE Records flyers that Q would put up all over the streets utilize this tactic. “SKE RECORDS: THE BIGGEST LABEL IN RAP” would be printed in big, bold text for everyone to see.
“People might say, ‘Oh he’s just doing it for the attention,’” Q said about his ambitious sense of graphic design. He continues, “And you could make that argument, but that’s really how I felt at the time. I did want [SKE Records] to be the biggest label in rap.”
“You gotta do things to make people notice you. You don’t gotta go on the internet and pour hot sauce in your eyes, but you gotta come up with a marketing plan that puts out a vision and generates that public interest. People see my poster and think ‘Who the fuck this dude think he is? I never heard of SKE Records,’ and then I say ‘Well now you did!’”
Q The Question’s success and additional strategies
Q told us success looks different for each artist, and he’s right. Not everyone wants to be on a major label and not everyone wants to be independent. “Making it” is all about what you, as an entrepreneur, want in life. That said, he still discouraged the “anti-establishment, anti-major label” perspective, and with good reason.
“A lot of people are anti-record label, pro independent,” he told us. “At the end of the day they, though, they have the machines that get you further. Just do your thing. If you like staying independent, stay that way. Whatever works in your situation. Every artist is different and wants something different.”
So never hold disdain for a company just because they’re huge, because one day they could help lift you up too. Being open to as many options as possible is what helps build financial stability. This mentality is also what keeps Q The Question working on multiple projects to maintain multiple streams of income.
“As mentioned before, Q is a published author. His book How to Make it in the Music Industry has been growing in sales since the pandemic, and another book, The Secret Guide to Speaking Spanish Fluently in Less Than a Year, has made even more sales, helping to secure that aforementioned financial security.
Especially in this economy, even if you don’t got a bunch of high level incomes it helps,” Q said. “It’s like you got a table, right? If one leg breaks, you still got others holding it up. I never wanted to be one of those people living paycheck to paycheck forever.”
This article only grazes the surface of all the advice Q The Question has to offer. If you like what he has to say, you should definitely check out our RMR Podcast episode where we talk about everything in-depth with him. Hit the links below to send some love his way, too.