Kidd Called Quest – DJ WorksHard Interview


A week before the release of “Young, Black and Restless,” and a couple days before his birthday, producer extraordinaire Kidd Called Quest gave us some time to discuss his latest project, his labels Young, Black and Gifted, New Era Boom Batt and life in Rochester, NY.

Kidd Called Quest was born and raised in the upstate New York area of Rochester and began producing beats around the time he was in the 6th grade. Now 28, (Happy Birthday Kidd) his repertoire of songs and beats has only expanded over the last few years. Now, about a year after being released from the hospital for H1N1, Kidd Called Quest is more focused than ever. “I went in Christmas Day and was in the hospital for almost a month.” Kidd said. Only a day after the release of ‘No Invitation Needed,’ collaboration with Verse Essential, Kidd was hospitalized and didn’t have an opportunity to promote the project. “I almost missed my interview with XXL Magazine too.”  Kidd admits to being a little off his game. “Worse sickness you could ever catch. Kind of threw me off balance for a minute. Gotta keep going. Can’t let that slow me down.”

His “Young, Black and…” series is set to drop the fourth release with Rochester native King Righteous aptly titled “Young, Black and Restless.” Due to Kidd’s hospitalization the recording process was delayed. “We started recording ‘Young, Black and Restless’ in March and spent the next 3-4 months in the studio,” Kidd expressed. “We put out the ‘Royalty Never Dies’ mixtape this summer to promote the upcoming album.” Speaking on behalf of K.R.’s lyrical ability, Kidd stated “Only one of the tracks was written. Everything else was off the top.” King Righteous’ dark street tales over Quest’s gritty samples and drums deliver a solid album. The duo sounds like they’ve been collaborating for years.

One of the standout tracks is “Woke Up This Morning,” a soulful and melodic narrative that is sure to catch the ear. “Righteous came in and spit two 16’s over the beat,” Kidd explains. “After that we kind of looked at each other. What should the hook be?” They agreed it needed to be something catchy and had the appeal of Ice Cube’s classic “It Was A Good Day.” Kidd goes into further detail stating that the beginning of the song sounds like you’re starting your day out. “It started with ‘woke up this morning – woke up this morning’ then ‘woke up this morning, that’s a blessing. It took about a week to figure out what the hook should be.”

Singles ‘Woke Up This Morning’ and ‘Grimy Money’ are already in rotation and can be previewed here on the site. ‘Grimy Money’ is a dark narrative of the street life with a twist on the sample of CNN’s ‘Bloody Money.’ “Kind of made that beat by accident,” Kidd jokes. “I was messing around with the beat and wondered what it would sound like if I switched up the drums.”

Download the album here


As a producer, Kidd notes legends such as Rza, Diamond D, DJ Premier and Hi-Tek, have all been an influence. Considering the catalog of beats already under his belt, it’s safe to say Kidd is well on his way to making his name known. And the list of artists Kidd Called Quest has worked with is certainly an accomplishment. Between his two “Put Your Headphones On” releases alone he’s produced songs featuring Skyzoo, Big Shug, Reks, Craig G, Blaq Poet, Joe Scudda and… you get the point. “Those albums almost didn’t happen. The soundtrack was supposed to be the original ‘Put Your Headphones On Album.’ I spent 5 years doing a whole compilation. And what ended up happening was we got to the final tracks of it, my engineer’s hard drive ended up crashing and we lost almost 30, 35 songs.” Luckily Kidd had about 15 songs at home and another 10 at this other studio he was working at. Rather than further delay the release, Kidd came up with an idea for a soundtrack. “I took songs that I had access to and broke ‘em down in half. So I ended up throwing about 16 songs total on the soundtrack.” The ‘Put Your Headphones On Soundtrack’ was released in January of 2011 and the follow up ‘Put your Headphones On: The Album’ dropped in February of 2012.

Kidd’s focus moving forward is his labels Young, Black and Gifted and New Era Boom Batt and extending his reach into hip-hop. “This year I’m just trying to get more album placements.” Kidd exclaims. “Keep going. Keep making it. New Era Boom Batt. B-A-T-T stands for Beats And Tough Tracks. Kidd has a couple joints that are supposed to be on Big Shug’s upcoming release “Triple OGZus,” and a beat for down south artist Scotty ATL titled “5 In The Morning.”

Many of Kidd Called Quest’s albums and mixtapes can be found on his bandcamp page.

There seems to be no stopping Kidd, as long as there are samples, drums and real hip-hop fans that support the music.

‘LIKE’ Kidd’s FB page @

Follow Kidd on twitter @

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