Interview with Q Brothers’ JQ
JQ on creating BUGGIN!, the Q Brothers’ first hip-hop album for kids. We also discuss how the performing arts are adapting in the wake of the current pandemic. For more information about the Q Brothers and its new release, BUGGIN!, please visit qbrothersofficial.com or @qbrothers1
JQ co-created, co-directed, and starred in the original productions of Othello: The Remix (Westside Theater off-Broadway NY Times Critic’s Pick / The Globe Theatre, London / Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Q Gents (OSF/ISF), Q Brothers Christmas Carol (CST), and Funk It Up About Nothin’ (CST). He made his Off Broadway debut when he laid down the beats as DJ/Composer for The Bomb-itty of Errors. J co-wrote and starred in the hip-hop/sketch comedy TV show, “Scratch and Burn” for MTV. For his brother G’s film, Just Another Story (Showtime), he created the score and original soundtrack. J produced the solo hip-hop album “Foul Mouth Poet” under his moniker J.A.Q., and other albums including “Smashing” (The Grommits), “The Good Thief” (Postell), and “The Feel Good Album Of The Year” (Q Brothers). He is also currently co-host (with oldest brother TQ) of Smallflower TV, a video blog about natural products and old-school shaving based on Merz Apothecary, the other family business. @foulmouthpoet
After 15 years packing the Family stages at the Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits music festivals, popular Chicago-based hip hop theater collective the Q Brothers have finally recorded an album for their youngest fans (and their folks). Inspired by the thousands of tunes recorded over the years and coincidentally released as a welcome shelter-in-place soundtrack, BUGGIN!, the Q Brothers’ debut album for kids, is now available for download ($7.99) on iTunes/Spotify/GooglePlay/Amazon and other streaming platforms.
Besides the earworm-destined title track, “Buggin!”, eight other tracks all showcasing the Q Brothers’ high-energy raps and melodic hooks include “Talkin’ Trash,” “Get Weird,” and “Lemonade,” with featured guest artists Ariana Burks, The Hype, and Maya Vinice.
Plus, additional collaborators on the Q Brothers’ debut kids record are kids themselves: namely, Griffin Kubik, 7, of the Edgewater neighborhood, whose album cover design bested some 300 online contest submissions for the honor, and Roman Berkowitz, 12, of West Town, who shot the album’s music video for the song “Avocados.”
Award-winning and internationally acclaimed theater artists the Q Brothers generate original work fusing hip hop and theater, adapting classic stories to a wholly original, entertaining and fast-paced style of comedic performance that has been energizing audiences for over two decades. The Q Brothers conceived the term add-RAP-tation in 1999 with their Off-Broadway hit, The Bomb-itty of Errors. Their annual production of Q Brothers Christmas Carol has been a holiday sell-out sensation at Chicago Shakespeare Theater since launching in 2013.
“When my kids ask me to play that track from Frozen 2 or whatever, I tell them, ‘I don’t have that on my phone,’ and then I play them something we all enjoy. We’re all hip hop heads. We needed more options of stuff we can all listen to together, so we made this record,” said Q Brothers Founding Member JQ, who also produced the record. “The songs and topics are definitely geared towards kids, from dump trucks on the ‘I Can Dig It’ rap to dinosaurs on ‘Micropachycephalosaurus,’ but the sly wordplay, the sick beats, and our signature sense of humor is what will capture the adults’ attention. We had so much fun making this album!”
The Q Brothers Collective (Creators, Writers, Composers) is internationally known for its hip hop adaptations of the classics. These productions include Othello: The Remix, Funk It Up About Nothin’ (Much Ado), and Dress The Part (Two Gents). The collective has grown beyond founding members GQ and JQ, to include Jackson Doran and Postell Pringle. Together, Q Brothers Collective has written and composed Q Brothers Christmas Carol, ms. estrada (Lysistrata), Rome Sweet Rome (Julius Caesar), Long Way Home (The Odyssey), and more. Q Brothers can typically be found at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, performing and teaching kids to love rhyming as much as they do.