Quan. As of now, Virginia's own is just another rapper who's done jail time, came out yapping about how these other dudes aren't real, and, subsequently, hasn't added much beyond generic trigger talk to a genre that already has it on bulk supply. And ever since he partnered with Nas on Just A Moment, Quan has moved from two full verses and some buzz to the point where that second verse was cut down and his buzz has gone the same way. Epitomizing his "career" thus far, back in late 2005, when Nas and Jay-Z first shared that Jersey stage together, Quan himself had just reunited with the Feds. After that, like his camp took a "stop snitching" oath, mum's been the word and his name has hardly been mentioned. Quan was once lined up to work with The Neptunes and Missy Elliott, and a solid move to Atlantic, alongside a cosign from God's Son, seemed like good times. Now, he's a D-list weed carrier at best. But let's look at some of his past work to see if there's any hint of a future at all.
All For War
LES' crunk-inspired production reminds us that Virgina is still part of the South. And with its thick percussion and headstrong title serving as a battle cry, appropriately, Quan pounds his chest hard. Quan, who did hook duties on Just A Moment, has a voice smooth enough to sing but with enough gravel to avoid being overlu R&B. Unfortunately, on All For War, there's not enough variation in his flow or a hint that he's doing anything but garble a Cliff Notes version of Shook Ones. It's hype, but that's to LES' credit. Quan's just being carried to war. 3/5
Musically, G Tight is more tempered, with a guitar sample calling on the blues. Here we get the hook before any proper verse. Quan harmonizes about cases and coke in an awkward fashion; turning the block's hymns into the equivalent croon of a high school graduation class' closing song. Once that's set aside, a "Dear God" story sounds entirely more convincing, his anger and resilience crossbred with conviction. Then, on a technical side, you have to appreciate the use of alliteration and internal rhyme. 3.5/5
Off The Top
This freestyle, over Lil Wayne's Hey DJ, pairs Nas with his would-be protégé for some back and forth. For Quan, his flow works much better than on All For War, as there's enough room for his voice to move. And as opposed to moments on G Tight, swagger has taken over his need to sing. Moreover, while he is sounding off about the same old same old, it's done with a bit of flair. Quan's added color to the usual gun spray, "Son, you ain't even got to tell 'em / I'll put 'em in the woods where the dogs can't smell 'em." 3/5
As a restrained snare is decorated with a sparse soul sound, Quan finally meets his perfect pitch. Relaxed but encouraged, it's a confident approach that avoids his usual turns to melodramatic subject matter and delivery. The layered vocals of the hook take some of the potency of his voice away, but the bridge, where he's solo once more, fairs much better. Quan's spitting the generic "Ramada / Prada" sex raps, but his style succeeds to the point where any bland substance can be accepted with an enthusiastic nod. 4/5
Nas, Quan: Off The Top
BONUS: Quan: All For War
BONUS: Quan: G Tight
BONUS: Quan: Simply Ridin'