M.A.Q. is a champion of New Orleans hip-hop, though he has mostly relegated himself to realms below the radar. After nurturing seeds sowed as a podcast producer, artist manager and radio host, he is now stepping forth as executive producer of an ambitious album, Supreme Beings. Arriving October 12, it is co-produced by Irvin Mayfield and John Diaz and boasts a line-up including Nesby Phips, Ceaux Young, Don Flamingo, MadeGroceries, MidCityAb, Paasky, Kourtney Heart and more. Raised on Frenchmen Street and Claiborne Avenue, the 7th Ward representative says he’s ready to bring lyrical rap to the city’s forefront.
Below the interview, check out the exclusive OffBeat.com premiere of Supreme Beings‘ lead single, “Savage.” It features Jameel Na’im X, MidCityAB and Paasky and is produced by Mayfield.
Why is it important to showcase a lyrical side to the city’s rap scene?
As I started to manage and even work on the media side, I started finding more and more lyrical artists that were just dope, to the point I was like, ‘People need to hear this shit.’ I showcased that on my former podcast in a segment called #After4BarsGoIn, where I wanted guys to spit some real lyrics, what we call ‘bars’ in hip-hop.
What do you have to say to critics who say New Orleans isn’t a place for lyrical hip-hop?
They are fucking crazy! Lyrical content did not stop with Lil Wayne. For some reason there is a dark cloud hanging over us when it comes to hip-hop. New Orleans is full of dope MCs with BARS that can outrap some of your favorite rappers. I stand on that! But at the same time I understand where it comes from. NOLA has a big bounce scene that has taken over the world. That’s NOLA culture though; some of our hometown heroes was spittin’ that gangsta shit over those bounce beats like Soulja Slim, Juvenile, B.G., U.N.L.V., to name a few.
How did Mr. Mayfield become involved in co-producing Supreme Beings?
It came through John Diaz. John was working with Mayfield and I met John while doing a podcast, and we would always talk about hip-hop. One day, John asked me to come to the studio to meet Irvin Mayfield and through conversation we agreed to do three songs. While doing those three songs, I asked Mayfield, ‘Where do we go from here?’ Mayfield said, ‘I love this energy. Let’s do a whole album.’
What has your career been in music thus far?
I started out as a manager for Da Outfittaz and Paasky, then I switched to the media side of things and started a podcast (‘DaTakeOver w/ Thedo’) to having my own radio show, ‘The BluePrint’ show, on WBOK 1230AM.
How did you decide which artists to feature on Supreme Beings?
I wanted to get artists who I believed in and I know breathe, sleep and shit hip-hop!