The Break Presents: Quentin Miller
Potential is a word that’s come to define Quentin Miller’s career. Three years after being dropped by Epic Records and seven months after finding himself at the center of the earth-shattering ghostwriting fiasco that made him famous, Miller’s most recent track “Potential” finds him beginning to actualize his own. Fueled by a mellow, energetic C4 and Wheezy-produced instrumental, Miller flexes with a flow that’s simultaneously arrogant and restrained as he lets listeners know that he “ain’t stressing.” After all, he’s got potential, and he knows it.
“It’s one of those songs that I felt like resonates with me,” Miller tells XXL about the track. The Hey! Thanks A Lot 3 creator knows he isn’t Travi$ Scott or The Weeknd yet, but he isn’t counting himself out. “I’m not going to sit here and be like, ‘Oh, I’m the hottest nigga in the streets,’ like nah,” he says. “But I got potential.”
The release of Drake’s If You're Reading This It's Too Late early last year saw Miller’s considerable potential put on full display -- people just didn’t know it at the time. The world found out about Miller’s role as Drake’s collaborator (or ghostwriter, depending on who you ask) last July. Thanks to Meek Mill mentioning Miller was Drizzy's ghostwriter in a tweet, a chain reaction followed, leading to the reference tracks he did for “R.I.C.O.,” “Know Yourself” and “10 Bands” surfacing onto the Internet.
The revelation of the reference tracks cast a shadow on the incredibly successful project and Drake’s reputation, but it also shined a light on Miller, who had been dwelling in relative obscurity beforehand. The moment got Miller more attention than ever, but he says he’s never used his Drizzy connection to further his career.
He focused on WDNG Crshrs, his group with TheCoolisMac, and put energy into his music. "That’s why I never wanted to use the hype of that shit, you know what I’m saying?" he shares. "Like I let that shit die down. I was just doing WDNG Crshrs shit the whole year. I was like, Nah, I’m not about to drop no solo projects, I’m not about to get caught in that like.’ I had to wait it out. I wanted to be taken seriously like and, make my own mark. I’m not here to ride off anybody’s wave or none of that … ask for no handouts or no favors. I’m going to get it the same way everybody else got it -- grinding and turning up.”
In 2016, grinding and turning up is exactly what QM’s been doing, and the world’s starting to take notice. Here’s why you should do the same.
Name: Quentin Miller
I grew up listening to: "I had a big brother that’s 10 years older than me, so like, you know, as a kid in the '90s he was in high school. He used to like … I started off with Wu-Tang Clan, like he put me on with the lyrical greats like Jay Z and Big and shit. I didn’t really get into the southern like, ignorant type shit until I got a little older, then it was just like, Oh shit, ‘cause I was homeschooled, so it wasn’t like I was around a bunch of people to be influenced and say, 'Hey, listen to this, listen to this.' It was really only my brother. Luckily, he had a good taste in music and he put me on to like, a lot of great artists. The Wu-Tang’s, the Jay Z’s, the Outkast’s. That’s what I started with."
“The one that inspired me to rap for real was, this a tough one. 'Da Mystery of Chessboxin'' from 36 Chambers? Man, that whole Wu-Tang album made me wanna rap. It was like the most gangster rapper as a kid. Like, I had all kinds of guns and bitches and hoes and shit. I wanted to be just like Wu-Tang Clan. So yeah. Wu-Tang really started me.”
Most people don’t know: “On the music tip? They might not know that I produce every now and then. They might not know … it’s a lot of things they don’t know. You know, people know of like, one particular person that I’ve worked with but, I’ve been in a lot of important rooms with a lot of important people. I’ve worked on a lot of important things. But I’m just professional and I wouldn’t put that shit out there."
"I performed in Brooklyn at the TIDAL shit. That was lit. I wasn’t supposed to do that, but I was there. So, yeah. You might not know that, but you should know. They put A$AP Ferg up when I was up there. They said that I was A$AP Ferg. That was not A$AP Ferg, I’m Quentin Miller. We’re just two fat black guys like, come on, give me a break."
"I love movies. I like to consider myself a movie critic. I call myself a 13, 17 movie critic. I don’t get to watch movies as much as I used to. I’ve been kind of tied up a lot lately, which is a good thing. But I’m a big movie buff. I would like to consider myself a movie buff.”
My style’s been compared to: “There’s an obvious comparison. Other than that, no. I haven’t really heard any comparisons outside of the obvious one. But um, yeah. That’s the comparison. As far as me like, describing my style of music, it’s weird. It kind of just depends on what side of the bed I wake up on."
"I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, you know? So like, some days I wake up and I wanna do some ignorant shit, you know what I’m saying? And some days, you know what I’m saying, if you go on my SoundCloud, you know, and you listen to like the songs, like, some songs might be like lyrical as fuck, and then some songs are like, “Is that your girl now/I cannot tell now.” You know what I’m saying? Like, so it’s kind of weird. I feel like hip-hop is in a interesting place. It's in a place where it's not in one department. I try to be a rap artist that can go into different departments, you know."
My standout records or moments to date have been: “It was obviously the biggest moment of my career [working with Drake]. It changed everything for me. Nothing was the same [laughs]. It was a good moment. Honestly, like, my personal opinion on the shit, I wish that like things didn’t go the way that they went because I personally feel like it takes away from the project. I feel like we came together and we made a special project, you know and, I know what I was doing and I know what it was about, you know."
"So I just hate that like now when you think of that project it’s just like this automatic like, these negative thoughts. I wanted it to go down like, you know, when it first dropped, I almost cried. You know what I’m saying like, sitting down in my room like, I did something … I did something significant that I can show my daughter and she can like say, ‘Hey, my dad did this,’’ you know like, so, I feel like it kind of got taken away. But you know, it is what it is, man.”
My goal in hip-hop is: “Like, my goal in hip-hop is like for when it’s all said and done, when I’m done, when they say, ‘Yeah, man, the greats. Like Jay Z, like Kanye West, like Travi$ Scott, like Drake, like Quentin Miller.’ That’s my goal. To be in that conversation. I want to make that mark, a significant enough mark where it’s like, Yeah, you have to mention him. Then I’ll be cool and I’ll go, like maybe open up a bowling alley or something. Who knows? I’ll be cool, you know. Let me get a Grammy or two. I’ll be straight, you know?"
I’m gonna be the next: “I’m gonna be the next … Quentin Miller. I can’t be anybody else, man. Everybody else is cooler than me. I’m not cool enough to be the next anybody else. So, I just wanna make my own lane.”
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