Interview : Hail
the Words of Isis
Following the untimely passing of Professor X [Lumumba Carson], and in his cherished memory, the X Clan recently reunited for an album and tour -- How come you werent involved with this historical event?
Lin Que: Firstly, I think its important for people to know that I was a part of The Blackwatch Movement. X Clan was also a part of that Movement, along with other artists such as Queen Mother Rage, YZ, Traedonya; etcetera. I toured a lot with X Clan, and performed as well, so I think people automatically felt I was member of X Clan -- I wasnt. I used to go by the name Isis then, and I was always a solo artist. (The original members of) X Clan (didnt work) on another album together. I believe (just) Brother J (did). As of today, I am not involved with (that) project, but we recently got in touch with each other and wish each other the best.
There have been talks of a new Lin Que record for quite some time now -- Why did you opt to wait so long between albums? Really, what has been the hold up?
Lin Que: I have been so discouraged by the industry. I came into this business thinking that it was all about talent. Through experience, I learned otherwise. Every time I thought I made a clean break, something would pull me back in. Even though I was under the assumption that I was out of the industry, I could never stop writing. About three years ago, I realized that I should be following my dreams and doing what I love to do. I started producing music as well, because I was tired of having to wait for music producers. Everything started to fall in place. I was able to make music anytime I wanted. Since then, I have completed about nineteen songs. Ive worked with two other music producers besides myself; Crazy Al Cayne and Azteknique. I am extremely happy about where I am as an artist. The music is so potent and undiluted.
Its great to know that you are finally working on some brand new material -- So, what can you divulge or reveal about it thus far?
(Like I said,) I have about nineteen songs done, and continue to write and
produce. Although I had three album deals with major record labels, only one
album was released and that was Rebel Soul. The others only released one single
each. Because of this, people dont really know how well-rounded I am
as an artist. I believe the next album I drop will be a testimony of my talents
I incorporated a business with Barbara Sherin, my best friend, called Queb,
Inc. We have been in existence since 1999, and handle everything from Graphic
Design to Multimedia. Little did I know that Queb would act as the vehicle
to allow me to make my music (again) without worrying about money and the
whimsical stature of the music industry.
Lin Que: I was introduced into the industry through pop-locking. It is a form of break-dancing that is also considered a facet of Hip-Hop. The first movie I was involved with was called The Last Dragon. I was bit by the bug right away, and knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life. From there, I met a manager that introduced me to my next manager. He shot and directed many Hip-Hop videos, and had me dancing in them. He was the guy who introduced me to Professor X (from X Clan). My first time in the studio was in the Bronx. It was great. Afrika Bambaataa was there, along with Grand Puba (of Brand Nubian fame). I was in awe, and was told to write some lyrics for a song that was centered around freeing South Africa. Lumumba, Professor X, took a chance on me and the rest is history.
Coming up, what artists influenced your sound & style?
I always loved music when I was younger. All different types, but when Hip-Hop
came out, I saw people who were just like me on TV. I think that helped me
have confidence, (and) that I could do the same. I loved Prince, Luther Vandross,
Chaka Khan, (the) SOS Band, Mary Jane Girls, Rick James, Ready for the World,
Fat Boys, New Edition, Michael Jackson, Afrika Bambaataa, Dougie Fresh &
Slick Rick, Run DMC, Dana Dane, Eric B. & Rakim, EPMD, Roxanne Shante,
MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Mary J. Blige, Tracy Chapman, Sade, etcetera -- There
are still so many more.
Lin Que: I was given the name Isis by Professor X. My birth name is Linque, so it has always been a part of me all my life.
What message are you trying to convey with your music?
Lin Que: When X Clan and Isis dropped, and even still today, there was a desperate need to help young black youth get familiar with our history, and help them to have pride in where we came from. That was the basis of The Blackwatch Movement. Today, my music emulates all facets of life.
So, when you write your lyrics, where do you draw inspirations from?
Lin Que: Straight from the Heart!! It usually comes from life experiences. Sometimes I love diving into the poetry of it all and hitting the listeners with metaphors and similes. Then, there are instances when my expression is more literal.
You mentioned working with producers, Crazy Al Cayne and Azteknique -- How involved are you in that whole studio process?
Lin Que: I am extremely involved in the whole process. Im such a control freak. I produce as well. I do not play a musical instrument, but (I do) use programs that help me to manipulate any sound I desire.
How have you been able to maintain your relevance in an, often times, very fickle recording industry?
Lin Que: I would have to say its the belief (that) I have in myself. This industry would have you believe that you arent any good. Its hard to stay confident in a business that really is not focused on how talented you are. You have to (really) believe in yourself, and that is what has kept me going.
Do you enjoy any other facets of the entertainment world?
Lin Que: I write a lot. Whether it be screenplays, short stories, poems, musicals, etcetera. Im also very interested in directing.
How has Hip-Hop either changed or evolved over the course of time?
I see a huge difference between Hip-Hop Music and Rap Music. Rap Music has
been flourishing for the last decade, but Hip-Hop has been re-emerging on
the scene. With the success of artists such as; Outkast, Nas, The Roots, Mos
Def, Talib Kweli, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Common, etcetera -- Hip-Hop seems
to be holding it down.
Lin Que: I really put all of me into my music, so I feel like after my next album drops I will be like an open book. I think when Im rhyming, I come off like Im this really hardcore female. Believe it or not, I have a very sensitive side that I cherish and love.
Nowadays, what do you most enjoy doing with your spare time?
Lin Que: I spend a lot of time with my family. I am very family-oriented. I appreciate entertainment in pretty much all of its forms; reading, acting, directing, writing, graphic designing, fashion, sports, movies, etcetera.
What future plans & goals do you have in this business of music?
Lin Que: Touching people with my music. Seeing that I can make a difference in peoples lives -- There is nothing like it.
Is there anything that you are looking forward to in the years to come?
album (titled GODspeed) is what I am really looking forward to (most). Im
very excited!! (With me) its all about being Happy. Whatever
it is Im doing, I will be Fulfilled and Ecstatic with Life. (My only
advice to the readers is to) "Know Thyself" and "To Thine Own
Self Be True."