It’s been a quick rise for Atlanta’s newest export, Que, who went from being locked out of record label buildings to being ushered to the top in under a year thanks to his breakout song “O.G. Bobby Johnson.” Since the track dropped this past August, Que’s gotten over a million views on YouTube, signed a record deal with Atlantic the day before Thanksgiving, and has seen LeBron James post an Instagram video of himself grooving to the track in his car, labeling it his new game day theme song. The track has since been remixed by French Montana, Rico Love and T.I., and is a new go-to song in clubs from ATL to Washington, D.C. to New York City, building his following with each spin.
But Que—a childhood friend of Migos, with whom he collaborated on their track “Young Nigga” this past Spring—despite all his song’s success, wants to harness the attention into building his brand, hoping to channel the interest in the song toward building interest in himself. His upcoming mixtape, Who Is Que?, is due out in the next few months, and will serve as the introduction to the “O.G. Bobby Johnson” rapper.
“People keep asking me, ‘Who is Que?,’” he says during a stop by the XXL offices earlier today (Jan. 13). ”People know the music, but not the face, so I want to go ahead and put a face to the name. I’m just explaining me. You get a chance to know me and the gist of what kind of person I am, even from the cover of the tape, it shows you the progress from back then up until now. The growth, progress.”
Que is trying to walk a different path than Trinidad Jame$ before him, who was so long defined by “All Gold Everything” that he struggled to break away from that single. But Que is also one of the faces of a New Atlanta, a collective of artists and producers including Migos, Sonny Digital, TM 88, new MMG signee Tracy T and Metro Boomin, all of whom hang and collaborate together in an Atlanta that is more harmonious than it has been in the past. “There’s not an artist or producer that’s not in the same house,” he says, explaining the atmosphere of the work getting done.
And Que himself has been getting into the collaborative spirit throughout the South, hopping on tracks with Ludacris and Juicy J and working closely with Sonny Digital and Metro Boomin to craft his sound. But on Who Is Que?, he’ll be stepping out on his own, keeping the features to a minimum in order to define himself on his own.
“A lot of my songs I have out right now are either me featured on somebody else’s song, or having a feature,” he says. “So this body of work—just this one—will probably be mostly me, so that I can display my talents and you’ll get a chance to hear me. I may have one or two, but for the most part I don’t want to have features on it.”
For now, he’s getting the cover art together before he puts out his tape and is balancing getting back into the studio with performing shows around the country; the tape, he says, is done, but he’ll continue working on it until the day he puts it out. But as the song keeps getting bigger and the co-signs keeping coming in—”Everybody who has done an unintentional co-sign is cool, but to see LeBron do it, I was like, ‘Oh shit, this is crazy, this is real,’” he said of King James’ Instagram thumbs up—he’s just going to enjoy the ride until he gets too big to, say, walk into a Dunkin Donuts in North Carolina.
“I went and sat down; I was eating and I just woke up, too,” he says about a trip to Dunkin Donuts a few days ago. “A lady came up to me and said, ‘You think I don’t know, huh? I know who you are!’ [Laughs] So I’m like, ‘What do I do now?’ I had to wipe my mouth… [Laughs] Lost my wallet ’cause of that. It’s all good, though. It’s gettin’ there, it’s definitely gettin’ there.” —Dan Rys (@danrys)
Previously: The Break Presents: Que