Quest?onmarc's Mix for The Pre-Game Goes Well With Any Part of the Night

This week’s episode of The Pre-Game is an actual pre-game—at least for quest?onmarc. Fresh off launching a new party called House of Vogue with the vogue master MikeQ, the New York producer stopped by Jubilee’s show on the way to a proper gig.

They chat about the importance of Qween Beat—the label that’s released much of quest?onmarc’s music—as well as artistic process and the unique role that each play in the scene. Oh and then there’s a ripper of a mix that’ll be well suited to all parts of the night—before or after a trip to the club. Listen here.

Jubilee tracklist:
Ikonika – “Girlfriend”
DJ HAUS – “Flange Attack”
Uniique & Yungkidd – “Trunk”
Jayhood – “Hands on Ya Hips (feat. Joker)”
Star Eyes – “Make Me”
Shy One – “Waterfalls”

quest?onmarc track list
Black Noi$e – “Sk8Rink”
MikeQ – “Shes’s Feeling”
Apple – “Siegalizer (LVIS1990 Edit)”
FKOFF1963 – “Pirata”
quest?onmarc – “CUNTY”
DJ JM & TSVI – “Aziza”
Sinjin Hawke- “Nailgun”
MikeQ – “DJ MikeQ Ha”
DJ NA & MikeQ – “Fingers Up (feat. Tink)”
Neana – “Vine Line”
Dj Jayhood – “Walk For Me (feat. Ms. Porsh)”
Byrell The Great – “Bubble Drip (feat. Kassandra Ebony, WARREN B. & Princess Precious)”
Kilbourne – “My Betrayal”
Lil Crack – “War Studies”
DJ Sliink & Brenmar – “Vibrate’
Kieran Loftus – “Took Myself On A Damn Date”
SMF – “Ha Ha Ha”
DJ Phil – “HWG”
Sha Sha Kimbo – “Zattise (Swisha Remix)”
RaEazy – “From The Krypt”
Kush Jones – “Triggered”

Looking for the Next Great Club Track? Just Ask Oscar Nñ of Papi Juice

Whether it’s for playing out at a club or listening at home, DJs and producers typically have an encyclopedic hoard of music, new and old. In The Last Record, they tell us about the last three songs or albums they’ve purchased, and why these were important additions to their music collection.

This week, we spoke to Oscar Nñ, a resident DJ of Papi Juice, a rotating party celebrating queer and trans people of color. You can next catch Oscar at the Red Bull Music Academy Festival on May 7th as part of “A Bed-Stuy Function” with artists such as Juliana Huxtable, Tygapaw, and Bearcat of Discwoman, among others. “I’m very very very excited about playing this party,” Oscar said. “It’s a huge honor to be playing Red Bull Music Festival.”

Papi Juice celebrates their four-year anniversary party on Saturday, June 24. “It’s really crazy and really exciting,” said Oscar. “We have big, big plans for that one.”

Indy Flow – “Rebotando”

This track is super important to me because there’s been a resurgence of female reggaeton artists. In this song, she’s talking about how her butt bounces when she’s riding someone. This is so amazing. For me, it’s just all about female empowerment and she just gives no fucks. I really like this song for that reason. And the rhymes in general and her flow is really good. I’m really excited to see what she gets up to [in her career].

There’s a big controversy in Puerto Rico actually because people were asking how there was a woman singing all of this stuff. But then, in the reverse, you have male reggaeton artists that are so nasty and are allowed to get away with so much shit. But just because it’s a woman, she can’t talk about how much she’s enjoying riding that dick.

quest?onmarc – “WORK THIS”

Quest?onmarc is a New York-based artist and part of the collective Qween Beat. Quest?onmarc is actually one of the most talented all around artists I know. They’re an amazing DJ, an amazing producer and an amazing performer. Quest?onmarc played Papi Juice like a year or so ago and that’s when we met. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re the sweetest, kindest soul.

Quest?onmarc DJed and wore this outfit of a neon blonde wig and these platform shoes. They’re already a pretty tall person, but then they were taller. They were standing over the CDJs, looking so amazing, and playing all of this great music while vogueing to it at the same time. I was just like, “Ugh. Amazing.” You wanna dance to their music and just be in the moment, but you also want to watch them perform because they’re so good. It was a full performance. It wasn’t just a DJ set.

This song is off their new EP. You can really hear Quest?onmarc’s talent and how careful they are with music. Most of my DJ sets will have an edit from Quest?onmarc. That’s how amazing I think they are.

I feel like Quest?onmarc’s music is just essential to any club environment. It’s all very bass heavy. But they’ve also done a bunch of edits in Baltimore club and regular house genres. Whatever I’m playing, whatever style I’m on, I know there will be a question mark edit to fit that mood.

Swisha – “Losing UR Mind (SWISHA’s B-More Edit)

I watched the first season of The Get Down. It’s not the perfect show, but to watch such a positive story about young people of color and how they started something so big was really inspiring to me. It’s funny. It is on Netflix, but I feel like it’s a pretty important show, not only for the birth of hip hop. It just talks about the history of the Bronx and how it is such a cultural birthplace of so many movements. I feel like a lot of times, when you think of New York, you think of Manhattan. You think of Brooklyn. You never talk about the Bronx. But the Bronx’s history is so important to what makes New York, New York.

I’m from the area, so anything B-more is amazing. I was going through a really rough time this week and I saw this song and just rode the subway, listening to this song on loop. This song has quintessential New York vibes. There’s just so much going on in your life and you’re always riding the subway and you don’t know what’s going to happen next or what your next move is going to be. It’s all very fast-paced and I feel like it matches the beat of the song and the story that it tells. I feel like people will really really enjoy it in a club setting.

WRACK – “Kamui (Wasted Fates Remix)”

WRACK is a prolific producer based out of Tokyo and Wasted Fates is a papi from the N.A.A.F.I. crew in Mexico City. When I heard this track, I was like, “Oh my God. This song is so good.”

I’m just so down for the cultural exchanges happening in this song. It’s really evident. You can tell that there’s an inspiration from Latin America, but there are other sounds in there that really make you wonder. It’s really complex and beautiful.

Jasmine Infiniti x K.Hole_Kardashian – “CANCELL-T”

My friend Maya and I were out the other night and we were just talking. We were having this bad night and were like, “Ugh, tonight is cancelled.” And then Maya was like, “You have to heard this song.”

It starts with Jasmine listing phrases that have been cancelled. And so she starts to say: fierce, fabulous, slay, yes queen, Brooklyn, Oakland, the gender binary. This song is really great because it’s not only hilarious; it’s also really brilliant. All of these actually ARE cancelled. The gender binary is very much cancelled. Soccer moms vogueing is very much cancelled.

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Quest?onmarc's Thunderous New EP Is Dedicated to Self-Discovery

NYC-based Qween Beat affiliate Quest?onmarc today shared a visceral self-released EP titled ? : ID. Their new five-track work is named after Freud’s concept of the id—the part of the human psyche that impulsively produces basic drives and instincts—and each of its thunderous ballroom tracks corresponds to a different vogue dance element. They are mainly composed of classic house elements—including, of course, the iconic ballroom ha crash sample—re-contextualized in an austere yet high-impact manner.

THUMP interviewed the artist over email, where we talked about how the EP came together, their relationship to the House of Amazon, and more. 

Can you tell us about the thinking behind this EP?
? : ID is the first in a series of works dedicated to self-discovery. Developed of instinct and less of intent, I worked off of emotion.

2016 saw a lot of new experiences for me. Perhaps this was a reaction? Those nights at the helm playing live for the first times had inspired me to dig in… my goal wasn’t to create a body of work but it’s like painting: eventually you stand back and realize you’ve got something going on.

What are the vogue dance elements these songs correspond to?
There are five core elements to vogue performance, leading off with a display of how neatly one can articulate a story with their hands, in “Work This.” The track feels like my journey toward self-acceptance and empowerment as queer youth. What more can be said to someone who owns themselves and challenges naysayers to “Work This”? Not a lot! 

Next up are the catwalk and duck walk, two transitional elements that glue the show together. Both elements require a great deal of balance and posture which I feel “Cunty” and “The ? Ha” illustrate. Rounding out performance are the hallmark spin and dip combo which I really went for with the use of negative space in ‘Elevator’.

There are also non-dancing categories such as face and runway. “Walk 4 Me” is for the non-performance kids.

What is your relationship with the House of Amazon like?
After a few years in and around the ballroom scene, mostly interacting through the weekly NYC-based Vogue Knights party, I started to receive offers to join different houses or invitations to sit in on house practices. When I would follow up and ask, “Why this house?” or “Why that house?,” I’d either be met with blank stares or shining superlatives suggesting that joining would be the obvious choice. This never really resonated with me and I held off from being affiliated for most of my early years in the ballroom community. This status is called being “007.”

I met Amazon Mother Leiomy, the Wonder Woman of Vogue, years prior through her intimate classes held in dance studios around the city. I was always taken by her grace, poise, fluidity, and ability to make dizzying spins and breakback stunts look effortless. Over the years I’d seen my own progress take form and she had taken note as well. I was tapped to join. Leiomy shared that this would be a different experience.

“The House of Amazon is not about walking balls and being ‘fab,'” she said recently on Facebook. “I created my house to help my kids grown individually in and out the scene. I wanted to bring back the true aspect of what a house is suppose to be (family, support, unity, compassion, loyalty, etc…) and to bring back what’s missing in the scene. “

We are called Amazon after the women of Themyscira!

The artwork for this release is really beautiful. What were you going for with it?
I took the cover photo with my phone’s self timer about 2 years ago. Long before I’d even thought of DJing or producing… there was no intent at the time other than chasing a feeling.

Meet the stars of NYC’s ballroom community in a 2016 documentary from THUMP’s Night Visions series, featuring MikeQ, Gisele Xtravaganza, and Leggo “Old Navy” LaBeija; after that, revisit Qween Beat’s debut compilation Qweendom.

? : ID is out now.

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Abdu Ali Revamps His Summer Empowerment Anthem 'Did Dat' With An Eclectic Remix EP

Photo by Keem Griffey

Baltimore club producer and Kahlon party curator, Abdu Ali, has followed up his acclaimed MONGO mixtape with the U DID DAT SUMMER CLUB PACK, which THUMP is thrilled to exclusively stream today. Featuring remixes from Qween Beat affiliate Quest?onmarc, KUNQ member Kilbourne (who blew us away with her recent Sourland EP), and Bmore stalwart DJ Juwan, the release is built around standout MONGO cut “Did Dat,” produced by Mighty Mark.

The styles on display range from minimal, viscerally kinetic vogue (Quest?onmarc) to metal-sampling shredder club (Kilbourne), and all-in-all highlights some of the most exciting young producers in US underground. For the premiere, we got to interview Ali via email, where we talked about how the original track functions as a celebration of Black Americans’ social and cultural legacy, the ways MONGO‘s success affected his relationship to Baltimore club, and how his Kahlon party generates physical and metaphysical liberation.

THUMP: Why did you want to do this remix EP? What made you want to work with these collaborators specifically?
Abdu Ali: I never thought of it being a remix EP but I guess it is! lol. When “DID DAT” came about on MONGO, I imagined it to be that summer turn up song of the tape. You know every album or body of music must have a track that’s purely for people to be lit to and “DID DAT” is that and in my opinion every dance single needs to be remixed. So I had it remixed by those who I admire coming up in today’s music scene. DJ Juwan is from Baltimore and is the quintessential Baltimore club DJ. His remixes take me back to the dance moments I had in the infamous Paradox club. Kilbourne is supreme bae and not only do I admire her strength to own her identity but also in her music. She gives you that punk hardcore club shit and I wanted her spin on the track. She calls her remix a “planet core” edit. Quest?onmarc is that new new bitch and his vogue club remixes are too nasty, so I had to get him to cut up on a track.

What was the creative process like for making the original version of “DID DAT”? How did the track come about?
Well me and Mighty Mark met up in the studio with the phrase “I DID DAT” already in my head. I sung it for him and he just started making the beat for it as I was spitting while the rest of the lyrics came out of me. I told him I wanted to sound like the throwback classic Baltimore Club music: minimal, hard hitting, and soulful. The knock in the track hits so consistently, as if it’s reaffirming the phrase “I DID DAT”. It’s one of my fav tracks on the project and for me it’s a self-congratulating empowerment song inspired by the contributions of Black Americans to society and culture, not just in past history but on a daily basis.

MONGO received a lot of critical praise from a range of publications, from politically far-left to more mainstream. What was that reception like for you, and how, if at all, has it affected your artistic practice going forward?
I gagged. I believed in the project but I never could expect so much love and praise for MONGO. I know it was good and I knew it would affect much more folk than past projects cause I made it with the intent to make it universal but geesh it sure did get a lot of love. But one of the most surprising things the reception provoked within me was the motivation to keep Baltimore Club music going and to take ownership of that, my culture, and make sure it doesn’t die with out its proper dues. It’s immediately lovable, it’s cathartic, it’s powerful, it’s very black, and this project made me realize that the next project needs more of it.

Who are some of your favorite artists working today? Are there any scenes or collectives you feel a particular kinship with?
I loved working with DJ Haram on MONGO. She is a genius and the supreme bae. Like I know her mental musical library is on some deep culturally expansive shit just based on the flavor of her sounds. Our musical auras go well together and we make FIYA transcendental music. I also love connecting with Mighty Mark who is also a bae but he gets how that old Baltimore club should be revitalized and transformed without losing the classic vibes of it. As far as collectives go I fucks with the BK baes, Papi Juice cause no shade they the only party I’ve been to in NYC in the past five years that made me feel worthy and powerful and people are actually dancing. I love what the art young black art queenz are doing from people like 3 Dot Zine to Aurel Haize Odogbo to Kimberly Drew. I also fuck with my loves BaltiGurls, a storming and legendary black and brown womyn arts collective who are changing the landscape of artistic public platforms like exhibiting art to throwing parties in the DMV.

How would you describe your Kahlon party to someone who had never heard of it?
Kahlon is a party that not only provokes physical liberation, being an inclusive space full of underrepresented but powerful identities not only in the audience but also on the stage, is empowering, making it a party and music event that is also metaphysically liberation. It’s a moment.

Cover art by Ghostdrank

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