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Lin Que  [fka Isis]
[GODspeed Interview]


Interview Date: 10th. October. 2007

Conducted By: Dark 7 Invader

Notes:
Special thanks to Lin Que for the interview.


Interview

Just when it seems as though the icy-coated, flashy, stereotypical elements of the “Rap Game” has strangled the last breath out of the Hip Hop culture, a springing forth of new artist seem to be catapulting out of the woodwork with their authentic sound and innovative lyrical content. We’ve seen it happen over the last decade. Starving Hip Hop fans are forced to huddle, like scavengers, over crumbs that symbolize hope for anything that remotely sounds like “True Hip Hop“. With the success of highly creative artists such as Kanye West, OutKast, Ludacris, Common, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli, the door has opened ever so slightly to allow “True Emcees” to squeeze in and make their mark. Pushing through the male-dominated world of Hip Hop comes just what you’ve been waiting for and missing, Lin Que formally known as Isis from the X-Clan and later the secret 5th member of the Wu-Tang all female group The Deadly Venoms along side J-Boo, N-Tyce, Finesse and Champ MC.

This Queens New York native might be remembered for her affiliation with the messenger group X Clan and a vital part of the Black Consciousness Force called The Blackwatch Movement. As she progressed further in her career, she teamed up with MC Lyte and Pam Wilder and opened up a management & production Company called “Duke Da Moon". The company Duke Da Moon would also act as a vehicle for Lin Que to get her music back in the ears of her listeners. She was then signed to Ruffhouse Columbia and shared a roster with artists such as The Fugees, Nas, and Cypress Hills. The underground loved what they were hearing. “This Is It” & “Rip It Up” was just a small taste of what she was capable of and would lead to her moving from Sony Music into her next major record deal with Elecktra Records. This is where and when she dropped the classic "Let it Fall." This track featured MC Lyte and was produced by Caspa. The video was directed by Hype Williams and is considered a classic underground portrayal of the last days of true Hip Hop. The fiends kept their eyes on her just waiting to get more acquainted with this multidimensional lyricist.

Lin Que has collaborated with various artists such as Will Downing, Mary J. Blige, Afrika Bambaataa, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Joi Cardwell, Steele/Smif-N-Wessun, The Beatnuts, Monifah, Ce Ce Peniston and more. Her last venture was a brief encounter with the Protect Your Neck group "The Five Deadly Venoms". After leaving the group for business reasons, she remained writing and creating music with producers such as .0 (Point Zero), Azteknique and Ayatollah. Lin’s uncanny ability to write blazing lyrics landed her a writing gig with MC Lyte on her “Ain‘t No Other” album. In 2005, Lin started to dabble with music production. She has produced many tracks in her arsenal.

"GODspeed" her latest album is finally here. Her no-nonsense lyrical delivery sets the foundation for this long awaited album. Her music, while still preserving its marketable appeal, portrays her struggle being a strong female in a male-dominated industry which seems to rather depict woman as “scantily dressed video hoes”. Lin Que is a breath of fresh air and has a lot to offer the Hip Hop Community. It would be nice to add a female to the roster to help relieve the growing desire for something “REAL”.

Wu-international caught up with Lin Que to find out what keeps her going, the story behind Deadly Venoms, her new album, X-Clan and more, GODspeed dropped 4th of October 2007, go out and support the album. Enjoy!!!


I like to say thanks first and foremost for taking the time to answer these questions, highly appreciated, and will also point out that nothing will be altered, edited or changed when this is published online.

Wu-Internationals: Hello Lin Que, how are you?
Lin Que: Fine, thanks for asking. Hope you can say the same.

Wu-Internationals: or those new heads who are not familiar with your work and contribution to hip-hop, can you please give us a brief introduction of who you are?
Lin Que: I was first introduced to this industry through pop-locking (a form of breakdancing). I was in a lot of Hip Hop videos and was always in the right place at the right time. Through this I met the right people. In 1989, I was introduced to Lumumba Carson aka Professor X from X Clan. They told me what they were about and asked whether that would be something I was interested in. I immediately felt that energy and got on board. That sparked my emcee career. I was given the name Isis and had my first record deal in 1990.

My first album "Rebel Soul" was raw heart in motion. After moving from that situation, I got down with MC Lyte and Pam Wilder and we opened up a Management/Music Production company called "Duke Da Moon". I would be the first artist to come out of that camp. Lyte taught me the business side of the industry and how lucky was I to be taught by one of the best who had came before me. From then, I had two other album deals. Both deals released only singles so I felt very discouraged by the industry and decide to go on hiatus. While I was taking a break, I got a call about me joining a group called "The Deadly Venoms." It sounded like a great opportunity. I knew Champ MC from being on the same record label (Elektra) so I got down pretty quickly. Unfortunately, things didn't work out on a business level. I moved on... with really no intentions of coming back into the industry. I formed a company called "QUEB Inc" and been in business since 1999. It's a Creative Arts company. We handle everything from Graphic/Website Design, TV Commercials, Marketing & Promotions, etc... We're pretty much a one-stop shop for all your advertising needs. I was so lucky to create an avenue where I can still be creative and make money. I didn't realize that QUEB would be the vehicle to allow me to make my music without stressing about money... and here I am today.

Wu-Internationals: Thanks for that, Do you still go by the name Isis, and why the change in name?
Lin Que: Many people still call me Isis. I never really changed my name. My birth-name is Lin Que... so it really was a case of me just going back to my birth-name.

Wu-International: Well the older heads would know you and your involvement with X-Clan, how did you get involved with X-Clan and The Blackwatch Movement?
Lin Que: I explained that a little in the second question, but I'll elaborate. This guy named Dwayne Hayward introduced me to Lumumba Carson when he realized that there wasn't anything else he could do for me. He felt Lumumba would be the right person to take me to the next level. He was right. I immediately was drawn the positive energy of The Blackwatch Movement. I realize now how lucky I was because I was doing what I loved, but I was also being of service to others. That truly is a blessing and I've taken that with me into the rest of my career.

Wu-International: You dropped your album Rebel Soul in 1990, how well was that received?
Lin Que: It was received pretty well. Isis got to kind of ride off of X Clan success... so people were a little familiar with me before the album dropped.

Wu-Internationals : You were signed to Ruffhouse Columbia same time as the Fugees, Nas, Cypress hill, what happened with this and why was there no album released?
Lin Que: After "This Is It" and "Rip It Up"... I guess they lost interest in me, it wasn't a problem because I immediately signed to Elektra right after that.

Wu-International: The Wu-Tang fans would mostly like to know about your involvement with The Deadly Venoms, how did that collection come about?
Lin Que: I received a call from someone who was down with the project and it sounded like some place I would really fit in. I didn't necessarily want to get down with a group, but it was a group of soloist so that put a different spin on it.

Wu-International: You were advertised as the fifth secret member of the group but was no where to be found when the album was leaked, any reasons as to why you were not included in the project?
Lin Que: I left for business reasons... it was hard for me because I toured with the girls and recorded with them. I truly believed in the project and really saw it as going real far.

Wu-International: Are you still in touch with any of the members and if there was a new project in
 future for another DV album and you were called to be part of it would you be interested?
Lin Que: Myspace is amazing. I had the opportunity to correspond with J-Boo & N-Tyce. That was great. I wish all the DV's the best. It would really have to depend on the project in order for me to know whether I would be interested, but I feel all the women are very talented and enjoyed working with them.

Wu-International: It's been 17 years since your first album, why has it taken you this long to release another debut album?
Lin Que: I had two album deals after my first. My first album came out of the  4th & Broadway/Island Records. I was going by the name Isis then and was down with a group called X Clan. The album's name was called "Rebel Soul." I then was signed to Ruffhouse Columbia for an album deal, but you only heard one single "This Is It/Rip It Up"... Then I was signed for another album deal at Elektra Records and you only heard "Let It Fall." I was so discouraged by the industry that I took some time off. I needed to. At this point, Hip Hop was transforming into a multi-million dollar Art form and at the same time, Hip Hop & Rap turned into two different things. In my opinion, "Hip Hop" is about the culture, the poetry, the art form... where as "Rap" is about making that money. There's nothing wrong with "Rap"... I just feel there is no balance today and the Art form is suffering. The fans don't know what there missing.

Wu-International:  Your album Godspeed, finally out on the 4th of October right? How are you feeling about the album?
Lin Que: I'm very excited... It's finally the album that I always wanted to release. I consider myself a "true" artist. I reach into my "Soul" and pull out what's there in it's rawest form... then transform it into a medium that, hopefully, most people can identify with.

Wu-International: Why have you called it Godspeed?
Lin Que: To me, it means in "In GOD's Timing" ... it's been a long time coming... but I feel there is a re-emergence of "True Hip Hop" and the people are getting restless. You can't be fed the same thing day and night and feel satisfied. I feel that the people are ready for something new... and that to me... is what GODspeed is.

Wu-International: Please tell us more about the album as in featured guests, producers etc?
Lin Que: I really wanted to hold my own on this album... like we did in the old school... before the "Collabo Era." I do have some very talented individuals on there though... Shani Kulture, Azteknique, and Karen Johnson-Ashe. As far as production goes, I have .0 (Point Zero) and Azteknique... I really wanted to keep it consolidated.

Wu-International: What types of concepts, issues or topics are covered on Godspeed?
Lin Que:
1. My struggle in the Industry and within myself as an Artist
2. Being a single parent
3. From Isis to Lin Que
4. Rap VS Hip Hop
5. My Struggle with Alcohol & Drugs
6. Relationship Issues

Wu-International: Do you have any favorite song off the album you might want to tell us about?
Lin Que:
1."Last Call" - Is all about my Struggle with Alcohol & Weed. Those are two Major Silent
Killers... especially in our community. It so insidious because it's such a large part of what is accepted amongst as ordinary life. I don't necessarily feel like there is something wrong with the both of them... It's more like there is something wrong with me when it comes to the both of them. I love Alcohol & Weed and some point it truly saved my life... like a sort of medicine. Then it got real ugly. The weed made me content with just talking about what I wanted to do as opposed to doing it. The alcohol was the anaesthesia.

2."Keep It Real Tight" - is about my struggle as an Artist and staying 'true" to my artistry.


Wu-International: Thanks,  When you write a song, what emotion helps you make the best song? Anger, sadness, happiness, etc. or do you separate yourself from your emotions when you write?
Lin Que: My emotions induce my writing. It's about whatever I'm feeling at the moment.. whether it's anger, sadness, disappointment, happiness...

Wu-International: I am yet to buy the album but I am old school so didn't download it, waiting for the physical CD to drop, however the market these days is based around downloads and digital formats, what is your take on this?
Lin Que: I love the physical CD myself, but I'm happy that there are other means for people to cop your product.

Wu-International: Your vibe seems to be to resurrect or save hip-hop, do you feel like Nas and few others that hip-hop is actually dead?
Lin Que: No Hip Hop will never die... there were times when it was on it's last breath... but there are too many people that know what it's really about. It is our responsibility to spread the word. We can no longer wait for record labels... most are clueless. They don't care about the art form. We have to do it ourselves and that's okay because we have the avenues now... the internet is the record label industry killer.

Wu-International: Since you have started do you still see hip-hop as male dominated?
Lin Que: The world is male-dominated so it's nothing out of the ordinary to me... it just is what it is... I don't really focus on that. I'm more focused on who has skills and there aren't many... whether male or female.

Wu-International:  For someone with your experience and skills, do you really feel that you have been given the credit you truly deserve, despite all the strides you have made and the many milestones you have accomplished as an artist? How has the industry been to you?
Lin Que: The industry is what it is... It takes you in and... at times... spits you out. I had to learn the hard way that this is a business. A business that's not about "making music"... it's about "making money off of music"... In the scheme of things, there are very few "true" artist in it... no matter what genre of music you are talking about. There are a lot of "acts", "entertainers", and "gimmicks"... It just is what it is... they really know how to play the game, but that's just it... to me, this is not a game... this is very serious. Music is a very powerful vehicle. .. I treat it as such. I could have compromised myself long ago and made those millions... that's not what it's about for me... and I don't expect that to be the same for everyone... Not knockin' anyone and what they do... I'm just on another mission.. I'm about the MUSIC...


Wu-International: One of your colleagues Professor X passed away last year, where you close and how has his death affected you?
Lin Que: I haven't seen him in quite a while before he passed, but I did make it to the wake. It was great seeing my "Brothers & Sisters in Arms." It's like being at war with people... those years create a bond that is unshakable. It also gave me some time to meditate on the past and the blessings it has sent me.

Wu-International: Thanks for the answers, so after this project is out the way, what's next on the menu for Lin Que, anything you have in store you like to share with us?
Lin Que: I'm already looking into a remix album.

Wu-International: Thanks for the answers and time, do you have any last words, shout outs, anything else we missed that you want the fans to know of?
Lin Que: I just always like to end with "Believe In Yourself"... no matter what you're into. It's so important. I also want to thank everyone that has moved my spirit into elevation... There are so many, but just to name a few... Myles Ayoung, Dwayne Hayard, Lumumba Carson, Lana Moorer, Barbara Sherin, etc. I truly appreciate you helping me to get my voice heard. Much Love & Success to Wu International.
 

Catch up with Lin Que at her official website www.lin-que.com or visit her on myspace at http://myspace.com/inquemusic

The album "GODspeed" can be bought or downloaded from the sites below;


 <Read Other Interviews>

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