Clifford Peacock, aka Don Ferquan, or simply Quan, arose to national fame on Nas’ certified platinum Street’s Disciple. “Just A Moment” was the blessing that helped to transform Quan’s afflicted lifestyle. Sharing an extremely close relationship with God, the Bridgeport, CT turned New Port, VA native has become a walking testimony. Keeping God first has allowed Quan multiple opportunities to exorcise personal demons, as well the coveted ability to prevail against life’s obstacles. A poignant conversation led to his enlightenment.
Quan recalls, “One day I was having a conversation with God. I asked, ‘Why won’t you bring back someone from the dead, or walk them through the lion’s den?’ He replied, ‘Didn’t I walk you through the lion’s den?'” Quan is redemption epitomized.
He has been delivered from the lion’s den.
BallerStatus.com: How has your “Bad News” environment shaped your perspective on life?
Quan: I think my life and what I’ve see in general has shaped my perspective on life. I’ve traveled around the world. I [have] been through a whole lot. I was really in them streets. I done did it from New York to South Carolina. North Carolina, Virginia, I was into the streets. If there was money there, I was there. If you look at my style, you’d probably think that’s the city side of me. You’d probably think I was from New York until I opened up my mouth. Or, [when] you’re around me for a little bit and you see my mannerisms and my characteristics, it’s southern hospitality. But, at the same time, “Bad News” is bad News.” This ain’t no place for p*****s.
BallerStatus.com: What’s your outlook on fate and destiny?
Quan: I believe that you should say destiny before fate. Once you focus, you fulfill your destiny, [and] your fate is going to be just that. What you focus on and what you allow yourself to be destined in, God’s gonna give you the tools. It’s what you do with them. And once you analyze it, you’ll know what your fate is going to be. I got a song called “Streets Let Me Go,” and the verse explains how my friend came to me. He was like, “Yo, I think a n**** gonna murk me on some bullsh**.” And he only had that premonition because of the life that we was living. That’s my outlook on destiny and fate. What God intends for you is yours. What you ask for, as long as you apply yourself and have faith, it’s yours.
A reflective pause snatches Quan’s words as silence engulfs the line. He releases a baffled breath before continuing.
Fate, I dunno, it’s whatever that’s in the cards. I just lost my God-daughter, she was 12. Right after that, my cousin Boogie died, he was in his mid-30s. I think that we’re f***ed up right now because she was an angel. He was good as gold. I dunno. It got me on some sh** like I’m gonna live everyday like it’s really my last. No regrets, that’s fate.
BallerStatus.com: With that being said, do you cherish life more, or are you out there being hedonistic because you don’t know how much longer you have?
Quan: I’ve always cherished life. I been through too many life and death situations, going through court, the cases, war, and all types of stuff f***ing with these streets. Everyday I wake up, I make sure I say some type of prayer, or try my best to. It’s a blessing for me to be here and to be free, to be healthy, and have a promising career.
BallerStatus.com: At age nine, you got your intro to the streets. Then it went to car-jacking and it escalated from there. How did it feel when you were on trial facing life?
Quan: Let me explain this. I did a whole bunch of stuff, a lot of dumb stuff too. But the stuff I got caught up in would be crazy. Sitting here knowing this white man (judge) can turn a letter into a number. That’s some sh**. By the grace of God and God alone, I am here.
BallerStatus.com: When you were going through all these shenanigans with court, did you have a real lawyer or a public pretender?
Quan: Only one time I had a public defender and I offered to pay him under the table. That was at a time they caught a hustler with nothing. And that was the time I went to the penitentiary. To be truthful, I swore up and down that I would beat it. The weapons and robbery, I knew I would beat it, until n****s started coming out the woodwork on me. To tell you the truth or not, I can’t justify nothing I done. Obviously, I was a gangster. I made up my mind, I chose it. I loved music so much, I didn’t want to do nothing else. The only thing that could provide me with the life that I wanted was the streets. It [a music career] seemed like a long shot until I met Jay-[Z], and I met Tah-Tah. I saw this rap sh** could really work. But by then, my sh** had already caught up with me. I was going to get this money which ever way it was.
The thing about it was, I was a true dope boy. That was it, period. That was my means. I was a cool cat. Where I was from [and] the type of hustlers I grew up with was like, “N****, you fall off, a drought come, coke go bad, you go broke; you rob these lame n****s to get back on. You catch a few licks. Go get you some weed and get back on. Go do it again. And try not ever to fall off again.” That’s what it was and sometimes that comes with the game. That was during one of those times that I caught 23 years. They suspended 15, I did seven and some change and came home.
BallerStatus.com: While you were incarcerated, how did you remain creative, given it was such an oppressive/ dismal environment?
Quan: Because, some of the best MCs are in there, and I’m competitive as hell. I got to be the best. I ain’t good at being half-ass about nothing.
BallerStatus.com: Being surrounded by constant competition made you better?
Quan: Yeah. I was a problem when I went in. You got to understand, I write that real life rhyme. By the time I went into the system, I was a full-fledged fool, already. I done been through some things. I had beat life sentences by the time I came into the system. I was a teenager then. I was loose. I jumped off the porch. What I mean by that, I got in the game early. When being hot wasn’t cool. Hiding bags in my coat pocket in my closet. Before anybody even knew what was what except my older cousins and uncles and [other] OG n****s, I knew.
BallerStatus.com: While you were incarcerated, in solitary confinement you wrote “Just A Moment.” Is this true?
Quan: No. I just got outta solitary confinement when I wrote that record. Right after solitary, after they had me in there for like two months and they transferred to me. I had a little incident with a lame and I had to set an example. So, they sent me to another penitentiary, and when I got to the other penitentiary, one day I was walking around and I was humming. I used to walk around the cell and sing that because the acoustics were crazy because of all of the concrete. I started putting words to it [and] thinking about all the stuff I been through. While I was in solitary confinement, my God-mother died. That was on the verse part that they took out in order to put Nas on it.
“My God-mama Terry was still breathin’ / Terry I swear we wasn’t prepared for you leavin’ / can we please have a moment of truth…” They took that part out. It was cool ’cause I still put the original on my first mixtape. I was going through a lot, that’s how that song came about. I felt like I was just gonna put this sh** out when I get out. I got out a year and a half later.
Eventually, I met L.E.S. [One day] he was playing a series of beats for me, I picked that beat out. I was like, “Yo, you got some sound effects…” I was going through all his CDs of sounds effects, found the sound effects I wanted [and] we put them in there. I laid the record. We tightened up the chorus. I laid three records down with him in one night. Nas called me and was like, “You f***ing with me?” I was like “Yeah.” That was it. I let Nas hear the records; he was recording Street’s Disciple. Nas’s favorite record was “All For War,” to be honest. But they unanimously decided on “Just A Moment.” He took a verse off, put his verse on, everybody was loving the sh**. He called me one day, he was like, “Yo, I’ma get with you soon. You can come out to Miami, come f*** with me.” I came and rocked with him. We stayed out there for almost a month.
BallerStatus.com: Was it surreal? Did it feel like it was time for it to happen? How would you describe that experience?
Quan: I think honestly it was surreal. But, it was scary as hell. It was unbelievable. I mean, you gotta understand, after doing seven years, and then coming home for a minute… doing the whole being a felon and trying to get a job, then you and your team start getting paper again. You start getting a little money then you get worried, you felt like “I don’t wanna be doing this.” You try and find a way to do something different. And for that to come that was something. But, I felt like I’m ready. I’ll play my position, I don’t mind, but I’m ready. Whatever I was called on to do, I did it to the best of my ability. You know what I’m saying? 110%. That led to me signing the biggest deal in 2005. But poor management and disagreements between Ill Will and Atlantic Records that led to the stagnated process. I was like, “Yo, I want to release.” I’d rather be free, start fresh and new. Sh**, I’m talented, God got me. I’d rather do that than be stuck in limbo or on puppet strings for somebody else. I don’t give a damn if I’m signed or not.
BallerStatus.com: So, that’s what prompted you to make the transition from Ill Will/Atlantic to Kingz Nation Inc.?
Quan: Kingz Nation is my own company. Kingz Nation has always been a part of everything, from the Ill Will deal to the Atlantic deal. But, I played my position. It’s a multi-corporation. We have a graphics company, we have a legit Pitbull deal. We’re coaching pee-wee for little kids, big Brother, little brother programs. We feed the homeless. We’re really about to get more active in the community. We have two studios, a film production company, we’re grinders. It’s a family thing. We believe that love is a verb and that friendship is one soul in two bodies. It’s a culture. You’re a queen, walk like one, talk like one and your king will come to you. You’re a king, walk like a king and your queen will come to you. When did we ever stop becoming royal? A few people may be scared at young beautiful black folk calling themselves royalty. It’s a lot with the music, that Kingz Nation runs very heavy.
BallerStatus.com: What season of hip-hop are we currently experiencing?
Quan: That’s crazy, I dunno. It goes in cycles to tell you the truth. I remember when n****s was losing they mind because Hammer and Vanilla Ice and them n****s were selling more records than anybody. It’s in cycles, and the funny thing about it, I think these record companies know what they’re doing. You know the only n****s that are selling records are the ones with a good bit of talent or a lot of talent. The radio game has always been a game, a money game. Ain’t nobody selling records. Rick Ross is tight, he got flow. That personal business of his, I ain’t got nothing to do with it, no comment. Jay-Z, sh**, I’m banging that right now. Weezy, I got that too. T.I., Plies …
BallerStatus.com: Is Lil Wayne good or great to you?
Quan: He’s good to me, I don’t think he’s great. I think he’s great at being him. As far as what I classify as a classic MC as a great MC, nah. But, that’s him, I ain’t knocking him, get your money. Obviously, people love it. He got a money-making machine behind him too. I’m happy for him. I really believe that he deserves all this success that he’s getting. He’s been in the game for a minute. He’s a lyrical n****, I’ll give him that definitely.
BallerStatus.com: You mentioned Plies and who else?
Quan: Only real music is selling, with an exception of a few n****s. Then at some point in time, we have to look at ourself and be like “Damn, what are they trying to do to black music?”
BallerStatus.com: When will we see a return to more lyrical rappers?
Quan: Let me tell you something, it’s not the people, it’s the machine. I know that for a fact. I hear it, I’m in the streets. N****s is starving, they don’t want to eat McDonald’s and Burger King and Wendy’s no more. They want a plate like at Grandma table, get some of them candied yams, some collard greens, some ox tales and rice. That’s what my music is, that soul music. That food for thought music.
BallerStatus.com: Do you think that the puppet-masters are beginning to realize this? That we’re starving for something with more depth?
Quan: Slowly, but surely. What I’m telling you is that the reputation of power is power. It’s just like being a big dope boy, you can’t get it unless you hire a plane. You can’t get it everywhere yaself. I can’t supply everbody. I done been from New York to damn near all around the world — all through Europe, east coast and west coast. I can supply all them people. Then at the same time, this is my soul, this is my blood. This is me, listen to my music and when you meet me, it’s the same n****. So, how can I give you a piece of me, a lung, and do it half ass? That’s what it is. Think about it. I say it with all humbleness because God gave me this. I never had a piano lesson, but I’ll beat that motherf***er. I never had a voice lesson, but I’ll sing a song to you like Donny Hathaway. I’ll rhyme my heart out with a skully just as hard as the next n****. If I ain’t better than him, I guaranteed you when I come back I’ll have something better or just as good. That’s me, that’s what I live for, that’s what I die for. That’s what I breath every single day. How can they deny me? They can’t eventually, they’re gonna have to cut that check.
BallerStatus.com: How has becoming a father impacted your life?
Quan: He comes first, he ain’t ask to be here. He needs me. A lot of the sh** I did myself was because my biological father was in and out of my life. My biological father can sing, he a playa motherf***er, but [he] ain’t ever give me no lesson. He ain’t never sit with me and teach me how to sing for real. But, he would sing a song to me, like I sing a song to my baby. Like his father sang to him, and them n****s was gangsters.
BallerStatus.com: Do you think of yourself as a vessel carrying motivation to others?
Quan: Yes. Real talk, I’ve suffered. God has a hell of a way with dealing with me. ‘Cause I was a raw n****. If you’re familiar with the Bible, I’m the story of Paul. I’m Solomon, real talk. How else could you explain it? How else could you explain beating two life sentences? I’m not a bad dude, I’m a real dude. Me and my mom was talking the other day. I was like: “they call me a killer, they think I’m crazy / but, I’d rather catch a case before I let a p**** play me.” You know what my Mama say? She said, “I would too.” If I’m crazy, then I’ll be crazy. If you want to call me a killer, then call me a killer, just leave me the hell alone. I ain’t gonna start nothing with you. I’m a real n****, but don’t come playing me, don’t disrespect me because I would never gonna do that to you.
BallerStatus.com: How are you with trust?
Quan: Trust, is a big thing. You start out with a hundred points with me. If at the end of the game, you got 300 points, 500 points, hey you’re alright with me. You don’t need to be around me if I can’t trust you. We don’t play those types of games. There are different levels of trust too. I can trust him with my money, but that don’t mean you can trust him with your bitch, or your lady.
BallerStatus.com: Is it easy for you to forgive?
Quan: Forgiveness is on a step by step basis. I don’t think like the average person. I’ve been through too much to sweat the petty sh**. However, simple things are complex and complex things are simple. If I send your ass to the store with a fifty dollar bill and the change is thirty-five, and I know this, and if you don’t offer to give me my change back, I wouldn’t trust your ass. Come on man, the simplest things are the most complex.
BallerStatus.com: Are you boo’d up, are you in a relationship?
Quan: Yeah, with my music. That’s it. I got friends. I ain’t know you. I’m not even going to entertain nothing that’s not wifey material. Walk like a queen and a king will come to you. When you hear me say “Bitch, that’s just my way of talking.” I respect women to the utmost, if you’re respectable.
BallerStatus.com: You’re created over 300 songs, how do you battle against sounding redundant?
Quan: I challenge myself. For me, it’s weird to say. Because if I don’t feel like writing a rhyme, I ain’t got to do it. I can write an R&B song [and] if I don’t feel like doing that, I’ll play the piano. I’m going to get mine off in some shape form or fashion. Music is me. I did my research. I wasn’t in prison just playing, I was focused. I would pick up a music theory book. I would do something on purpose to make sure that it sounds different. If every 60 songs I make, reminds you of one, [then] I’m doing good.
BallerStatus.com: What’s the status on Until My Death?
Quan: The status on Until My Death, is like I told you before, that’s my lung. When you get the inside scoop of the rawest testimony that you’ll probably ever hear, outside of riding with n****s, you done heard already as a hip-hop artist. I know what makes a young man a killer. I know what makes a young girl a prostitute. I know what it takes to better yourself. I don’t care what kinda background you come from or what road you’ve been, because I’ve traveled every single one of them. And I’m still right here. The first thing I’ve got to tell you is keep God first.