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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Wu-International: It's been 17 years since your first
album, why has it taken you this long to release another
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
Wu-International: Your album Godspeed, finally out
on the 4th of October right? How are you feeling about the
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?
1. My struggle in the Industry and within myself as
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
Do you have any favorite song off the album you
might want to tell us about?
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.
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,
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
Lin Que: I love the
physical CD myself, but I'm happy that there are
other means for people to cop your product.
vibe seems to be to resurrect or save hip-hop, do
you feel like Nas and few others that hip-hop is
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
you have started do you still see hip-hop as male
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.
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...
of your colleagues Professor X passed away last
year, where you close and how has his death affected
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.
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
Lin Que: I'm already
looking into a remix album.
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
www.lin-que.com or visit her on myspace at
The album "GODspeed" can be bought or downloaded
from the sites below;
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