Q&A with Portland Based rap artist Q.Z. Tha Leader

Q.Z. Tha Leader is a Biloxi, Miss bred rap artist, songwriter, and producer who is now based in Portland, OR and has quite the story to tell. Q.Z. just released the self-produced single 'Blame Me' which will appear on his forthcoming project "Moments Of Genius Opus Part: 2" this summer.  The project will be executive produced by Q.Z. himself with the help of other Portland area musicians. We connected with Q.Z. to find out what motivated his move to the Great Northwest, the song from his catalog that personifies him the most, what we can expect from his forthcoming project and much more.

Carlton Boyd

Tell us about your move from Biloxi, Miss all the way over to Portland. Of all the places you could go, why choose Portland? 

The move from Biloxi, MS to Portland, OR was a lot of work, but well worth it.  I chose Portland for a couple reasons.  In 2011 I performed at what used to be Club Greek downtown.  The love from the crowd was so unreal that afterwards I told myself I would come back.  I instantly fell in love with the vibrant art scene that exists throughout the city.  It also doesn't hurt that it's only a hour and half flight from L.A.

Tell us about 'Blame Me'; who produced it and how did it come together?

Well actually I produced the record myself.  Blame Me came about in a very organic and real way.  I was at a park one day with a couple of multi-cultured friends.  A homeless man walks up and singles me out of the group and says “I just want to make sure you’re being a good black man that doesn’t beat on women”.  Of course I got very angry.  My friends had to calm me down quickly because they knew I was close to doing something that I would regret. The incident stayed on my mind all night. I just started to wonder why he would say this to me?  Maybe he was down on his luck and he needed someone to blame for his struggles?  I went to the studio the next day and began making the beat.  Within 2 hours I had the main structure for the song. This may sound cliche’, but music really is my therapy.  The words just flowed perfectly. I couldn’t record it fast enough!

If you had to choose one song from your vast catalog that best describes you, what song would it be and why?

The song that describes me the best is a song I wrote and produced called Echoes Of Nirvana. It’s on my upcoming Moments Of Genius Opus: II EP. The song is about me trying to reach a state of inner peace or “nirvana”.  This record clarifies that i’m a breathing work in progress stumbling a bit to become the best version of myself possible.

What can your fans and new listeners expect from your new project dropping this summer?

Old fans and new listeners can expect a lot of me on this new record.  A lot of my personal life. A lot of stories and first hand accounts  A lot of introspection with witty punchlines.  I wanted to make a soundtrack for the person that grew up with a sense of light and dark.  All the songs are produced by me with the exception of some really dope musicians adding their flavor.  If you like music for every moment in life, this EP has it.

Tell our readers why they should pay attention to your music and movement?

I think my music will fill a huge void that exist in the music industry today.  My music and movement is all about being the best unapologetic version of yourself.  I think It’s okay if your not the most popular guy/girl out there.  As long as you stay true to who you are, and follow your vision.  The rest will work itself out.  I want my audience to be able to visualize and feel every word i’m saying.  So maybe, just maybe, you won’t make the same mistakes I have.

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