At the time of conversation, it’s Friday evening. Quentin Miller — one of this year’s most talked-about newcomers thanks to a central role in the most publicized beef of the year — doesn’t have much going on besides mundane housekeeping. “I’m a boring guy,” he laughs. That moment stands in stark contrast to the bigger picture he currently faces, where drama-igniting allegations have now been flipped into a positive movement capable of launching a grander-scale career.
Quentin Miller spent last year trying to break triple digits on SoundCloud. Now, he’s ending 2015 with collaborations alongside Hit-Boy and Cardo under his belt, bigger things on the way, major, ambitious tour-planning in the works, and one more solo project about to drop. As Miller prepares for the next significant step in his career, we caught up with him in Atlanta, GA to talk about his career and discuss everything from his Coldplay fandom to fearing The Based God and beyond.
2015 has really been your big, breakout year. But prior to this year, what were you focusing on with your career?
SoundCloud and trying to perform at the Department Store. Trying to get a thousand listens on a song (laughs). I’d put a song out and be lucky to get a 100 listens by the end of the week. It’s different now, but back then those were the big goals.
I wasn’t focused on any other artists, I was focused on Atlanta. I was looking at Key!, Two-9. All the other artists I looked up to were my peers and I was wanting to compete with them because I know these guys. That’s what I focused on.
In the Atlanta scene, does everyone really know each other?
It’s a lot smaller than people may think. There’s multiple sides to the Atlanta scene; there’s the trap scene, then there’s – and I want to say “hipster” – a “different” scene. To me, it’s all close-knit — a lot of us know each other.
Would you say the scene is pretty diverse right now? You have everyone from Young Thug to Key! To 21 Savage making noise.
To me, it’s the most diverse it’s ever been. Like you said, you got your Young Thug, your 21 Savage. Then, you got iLoveMakonnen and you got Raury. You got Playboy Carti, and then you got WDNG CRSHRS.
How would you describe your personal role in Atlanta’s scene?
It’s interesting, because of what happened on the major music scene obviously affected where I was at. But last year, we were just trying to work our way up. We weren’t nowhere near the head of the class. This year, things kind of changed our positioning. We’re just working our way up.
Would you say you’re more focused on the solo stuff because of what happened in 2015 or is WDNG CRSHRS still a huge priority?
I’m working on my project right now, which is Hey Thanks A Lot 3 and I’m supposed to release it in December. Max is working on his project, which is the Decatur EP, then we go right back to working on WDNG CRSHRS. We’re both solo artists, we both have our own visions and ideas of where we’re going to go on a solo tip. But, when we come together as WDNG CRSHRS, it’s the most fun to me — it’s more fun to me than solo. It’s not like I don’t have a great time doing my own stuff, but with WDNG CRSHRS it’s just about us having a great time. That’s what I love WDNG CRSHRS.
How did that project with Cardo come along?
Cardo reached out to us on Instagram. it seemed like out of nowhere. I don’t know who put him onto us, but somebody put him onto us and it was before all the rap beef shit. He found us and reached out and we just clicked immediately. It was all through social media, literally. Shout out Instagram – thank you Instagram for ‘CRSHRS Got Wings’ (laughs).
How long did it take to create that project?
Not long, really; maybe a month and some change. We did 3 or 4 of the songs in L.A., and we did the rest of them in Atlanta. We wanted to do some of them in the room with Cardo – because we were all doing it through email – so we were able to do a few of the songs actually with Cardo in the studio to finish it up.
Are there any other major producers you could see yourself getting into the studio with and making a collaborative project like that?
Man, there’s a lot. There’s a lot of great producers I’d like to work with. [For the next project] I’m working with Hit-Boy, Cardo of course, iv’e been making some phone calls, getting some emails (laughs). I don’t want want to sit here and just name drop. Shout out Nick Miles – he’s been rocking with me since the beginning. That’s a producer I will always work with.
Considering everything that happened this year, what are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about the music industry, having experienced what you personally experienced?
It’s unpredictable, that’s the biggest lesson. You just never know. It caught me a little off-guard, but that’s life, right?
As a fan, how do you discover new music?
Generally through referrals, but I’m a big SoundCloud user. A lot of stuff I listen to is on SoundCloud – it’s organic. There’s other avenues, but I’m a big SoundCloud dude. I guess it’s just because I’m part of that generation and that’s all we had for so long.
You could make a whole career off a few SoundCloud uploads
If you look at my career so far, that’s pretty much all it’s been. An up-and-coming artist can make a SoundCloud just like Travis $cott can make a SoundCloud, everybody can make their own SoundCloud they just have to find a way to get it out there. But, you have a platform to put your music up on that a lot of people are on and use daily. There are a lot of people who don’t even have SoundCloud but are on it daily.
As of right now, what are some artists that you listen to frequently?
I like Charli XCX, I’m always going to be a Coldplay fan. I definitely f*ck with Post Malone, Chance the Rapper – I like all kinds of stuff.
You mentioned Coldplay. Do you listen to a lot of music outside of rap?
Yeah I’m probably he biggest rapper fan of Coldplay next to JAY Z (laughs). All their albums! They just put out a pre-order today and I pre-ordered it. Shout out to Chris Martin.
What drives you to listen to bands like Coldplay? Is it those sort of melodies?
Yeah it’s the melodies. I kind of get jealous of it too, because with those melodies you can reach different emotions that rap can’t reach. I just stick to the melodies and it just hits me.
There seems to be an emphasis on melody in WDNG Crshrs and your music too.
I’d like to say so. We’re pretty melodic, even though the tones might be a little rough. There’s still melody in it. Melodies win, everytime, even if it’s rough.
Do you think melodies have more of a place in hip-hop nowadays than just bars and lyrics do?
Yeah definitely, but you can still do it with just bars and lyrics too. There’s no one way to slice it, there’s no way to predict it. Especially with hip-hop, one minute you think its about bars and you have to rap super-barish, next thing you know someone like Lil B will blow up. No diss to Lil B, I f*ck with Lil B, that’s the homie. But, that’s just an example – it’s just about what feels good. It could be lyrical and feel good and it could be simple and feel good. It’s just about what hits home.
Lil B does have bars though.
He does have some bars (laughs). I definitely don’t want to get cursed. (laughs) Please don’t curse me, Lil B, please.
As far as your solo work is concerned, what do you have lined up next?
Hey, Thanks A Lot 3. I’m working on dropping that project in December. That’s pretty much all I’m f*cking with for solo stuff.
Lastly, what kind of legacy do you hope to build in the next few years?
A Grammy award-winning one. I want a Grammy. I’m not here to play, If I’m going to do this I’m going to do this I don’t know how im going to get it but I want one. I want to put it in my grandma’s house and go down with those legends, and not just with this rap stuff. Then, I’ll be good — I’ll set up a taco stand (laughs).
I think I’ll always be making music. I won’t be putting out projects forever — I’ll eventually stop doing that –but, I’ll always be involved with music somehow. I wouldn’t even know where I would be without music.