Don Q Expands His Horizons on ‘Corner Stories’
Bronx rapper Don Q's hunger and intense focus on his new mixtape, Corner Stories, is both contagious and inspiring. Throughout the project, the 26-year-old rhymer sheds light on his eventful, working-poor upbringing in the gritty streets of the Highbridge section of The Bronx. Anytime a superb MC details relatable struggles of emerging from the ashes of public housing, it equates to exciting storytelling as well as a morale boost for listeners.
Coming in the game with his Bronx comrade, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Q made his official wave after going stupid on Nas’ "Oochie Wally" instrumental on Funkmaster Flex's Freestyle #005 back in 2016.
It was this freestyle that inspired a legion of hip-hop heads to unearth Q's Don Season mixtape, propelling the newcomer to one of the Rotten Apple's most promising hip-hop artists. Since then, Q has appeared on tracks alongside Meek Mill, Fabolous and Dave East, among others. Now that Don Q’s buzz is growing, he's capitalizing off his energetic momentum with the 12-track Corner Stories.
Narrated by hip-hop journalist Rob Markman, Corner Stories commences with the Honorable C.N.O.T.E.-produced “Intro.” Here, Q wastes no time in taking fans straight to his The Bronx corner he's on. “I remember Motorola, couldn’t afford minutes/I had Honda Accord visions, now we flossing gold pendants/It’s a blessing when you make it as far as we came," he raps.
To go along with clever lyricism, Don Q manages to plug in moral instructions from a street perspective as offer inspiration rooted in his family values. On the Jadakiss and Styles P-assisted “Take Me Alive,” Q goes toe-to-toe with the seasoned vets. Scott Storch’s mid-tempo instrumental finds Q, in his crisp and steady flow, delivering infectious lines like, "Now who am I?/Just a nigga that was on the corner selling/With wanted felons, It was all a lesson/Now I use my thoughts as weapons, 'cause I got tired of seeing my momma work like she Florida Evans.”
Don Q raps with a deeply-rooted authentic honesty. He doesn't come across as someone that was waist-deep in the streets but he's witnessed his fair share of casualties caused by the concrete jungle.
On the standout track “Young Veterans” featuring Loso Loaded, Q tears Ness’ instrumental into shreds with bravado. Newcomer Loso, an Atlanta native, supports Q's braggadocio with his own memorable hook.
Tracks “100 Mill” follow the boastful formula of “Young Veterans” while “I Told You” featuring A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie recreates the magic the two have showcased on tracks like “Bando” and “Bag On Me" and "Floyd Mayweather."
Corner Stories ends with the D.Lo-produced, piano-laden title track, which is a summation of Don Q’s intense tunnel vision -- he's not going back to the streets. Instead, Q is expanding his horizons. "Remember starving on the train/Now I'm drinking Barney on a plane," he raps on "100 Mill," an indication that he's not keeping himself confined to his borough.
During the tape, Markman even juxtaposes Corner Stories to classic mixtapes such as 50 Cent's 50 Cent Is the Future, Wiz Khalifa's Kush & Orange Juice and Drake's So Far Gone--all projects that thrust each artist into a bigger spotlight. While it remains to be seen where Don Q lands in the bigger hip-hop picture, Markman's suggestion that the rapper could follow in his fellow rappers' career footsteps may not be far off.
While it's clear Don Q is chasing bands, Corner Stories proves he's not letting his lyrical skills take a hit while he's out here getting it.
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