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QN5 Discussion So, QN5 Almost Went Out Of Business…

Yup. It’s true.

I was about 5 minutes away from pulling the plug on the whole thing. I even texted Kno & Pack to tell them I was “done”. It’s kinda like hearing about all those near-launch nuclear missile scenarios after the fact from the Cold War.

Just know that when you’re sleeping at night, the gears at QN5 are always turning in order to bring you the most engaging hip hop music on the planet. Decisions and consequences are made and lived through while you go to the ball game, head out for vacation or rent a tux for the prom. CC bills are incurred and personal lives are on the line while you’re living yours. It never stops for us. The truth is, I’ve nearly given up multiple times, but moreso from the sheer weight and sacrifice that I was taking on - and I held steady without much comment - but this time it was out of my hands.

Doesn’t matter. Just know that we were doing fine till last week…but this time we got caught in a mega-fucked situation I can’t really get into - but it really puts us over the edge. The QK10 Plan is all types of fucked right now - so I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to pull off the rest of the year’s releases.

• Dunno, but after 10+ years of trying to convince people to buy good music, I’m convinced there’s no magic bullet.
• Selling way more Paleo Packs and a slew of digital albums this month would help IMMENSELY. (It’s really unfortunate that most of you are sleeping on an amazingly talented artist).
• Pray for a YouTube miracle and hit an Antoine Dodson level view-count.
• Selling a lot of “ASTERISK 1-4” and ‘non-CunninLynguists’ QN5 releases would also help IMMENSELY. (But y’all knew that already, right?)
Sell my porn collection. (Some things are sacred).

See, Blue Schoolers (and I mean…the hardcore blue schoolers that go out of their way for us) are BY FAR the most loyal, thoughtful, witty, enduring, patient and supportive fans on the planet (and I mean that with 100% sincerity) - an absolute RARITY in Hip Hop. Granted, y’all are hella spotty on show-attendance, but y’all generally DO support us. Problem is, there aren’t as many of you as there could be.

I guess a large audience with the smarts and musical appreciation to digest what we do as a collective is a tall order in today’s society, but y’all have always made the effort worth it. But in light of this latest development….it’s come to a head and WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT ON THIS RELEASE MORE THAN EVER.

But hey, fuck a sob story. I figured I’d share this little slice of my life with y’all, cause…I figure if you already know what my living room looks like, why the fuck not? With any luck, a potential bootlegger will think twice before hitting rapidshare, missing a show to watch Monday Night Football or ignore releases from our less-popular artists.

• a) Why do I keep doing this to myself? *plays “Masochist”
• b) It could have been worse, right? We’re still in business. (Barely). *plays “Optimist”
• For the love of god, buy Kokayi’s album. It’s an AWESOME fucking record and well worth your support.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep pushing forward and ride out the year - and hopefully grow the fan base via all the releases. If we can’t do that…then I guess I’ll need to figure that out when the bell tolls. No quit in this heart, y’all.

So…tell a friend about QN5, eh?



I’ve been a long time fan who rarely posts on the boards, and I know I probably should more considering I read through it damn near every day. So there’s a few more of us out there hiding behind our computers, hopefully enough to help keep things going for another couple decades.

Over the past few years of music collecting, I’ve realized the immense of amounts of music that get churned out month after month—most of it riding the mediocrity fence. This sole fact makes me really appreciate the hard work the QN5 label puts into every release, every single, every blog post.

In my opinion, you guys hold up the highest standards in hip-hop and it shows. The consistent levels of mind-shattering music recorded by your label is quality nonpareil. It’s just a shame only a select few seem to care.

I can only keep buying the records ya’ll put out, take my friends to shows, and hope you guys are still around for another 10 years. Until then, I’ll be sure to take off work this Saturday to see CL and Pack in ATL and keep telling my musically ignorant friends to give your albums a full, deep listen.

Keep doing your thang. Much love. - Timm

My jaw literally dropped when I just read the title of this post! Although I have not been around too long, I think my new found faith in good music will forever die if QN5 was to go out of business (*prays that will never ever ever happen*).

Fuck college debt, I am buying like 5 more copies of Robots & Dinosaurs now!!!

Edit: more R&D ordered. Keep doing what you do guys! Don’t ever give up!!

I will always continue to support.

I’m down for the cause, just making other people do the same is the hard part. Just know - we love you guys.

I don’t know why people are sleeping on Kokayi’s album. To be honest, and this is not saying anything bad about previous QN5 releases, but I think it is the strongest album released by QN5 thus far.

I know you’re not looking for handouts, but have you ever though about doing something on Kickstarter ( A lot of musicians are heading that way.

Sometimes I sit here and wonder how else I can help QN5 monetarily (when I actually HAVE money that is). Besides buying the album multiple times (I already purchase the physical AND digital releases for most albums), I don’t know what else I could do. A Kickstarter project would give me another place to help support QN5. Just a thought.

We appreciate everything you (and all the artists) do for the fans.

Well, thanks for not pulling the trigger. In my mind, this scenario was always possible though I’m sure most are in denial about it.

I’m not sure how much more transparent you can be since you’ve given all these details but what if the people reading this bought up all Paleo packs, then how many more copies would we need to buy? Obviously I’m overlooking the fact that X amount of copies are not going to NEW people which is the key. We can worry about that later, but what I’m asking is how many copies can keep you guys afloat per release for now?

i, along with the other blue schoolers im sure, purchase several copies of each release to show support. Is there any way to set up like a donate fund like what shepMWI suggested? Ill def shell out a couple hundo to help yall out. Or would it be better to order kokayi’s album off amazon 20 times?

qn5 is the only label i 100% fully respect, and without I would feel like all hope is lost in the realm of music

I’m lost for words to be honest..

This label is by far one of the most important things in my life. The music speaks to me in a way words cannot, the other fans are some of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve ever met.. and the vibe in general makes me believe that in a world full of shit, that somehow, there are other people who appreciate genuine talent.

In no way, in the slightest, do I brunt a single percent of the pressure and responsibility that you do Tone.. but I hope you know that every QN5 fan feels like they’ve taken a bludgeon to the head reading this stuff. And even though I think I’m doing pretty much everything I can reasonably do to support the label.. news like this burdens me with guilt.

I’ve only started listening to Koke’s album properly today and it is phenomenal. In true-blue fashion it’s cohesive, inspired and different to anything else we’ve bought before. I know the fans have slept on him a bit to this point, which I’m assuming is only because he hadn’t had a full release on the label yet. This is the wake up call, it really is. Koke is so different to the rest of the artists here and that’s why he fits in so well.

As for what we can do, I guess the real issue is spreading the word.. buying multiple copies of albums is great, but I’m assuming it’s the same number of people buying them each time. It’s time to make all those friends who liked a QN5 songs man-up and buy an album. Hell, what about a fan campaign to make everyone they can buy ONE SONG from itunes (akin to the Christmas #1 single by RATM). How about a ‘Save QN5’ ebay auction? A lot of us have pretty extensive collections which, usually to our disgust, can go for very high prices. I dunno.. there’s got to be a change right? We have to do something..

I feel horrible for saying something like this, because I really don’t feel I have the right.. but please, please, please Tone.. Don’t give up.

2 by four said:i, along with the other blue schoolers im sure, purchase several copies of each release to show support. Is there any way to set up like a donate fund like what shepMWI suggested? Ill def shell out a couple hundo to help yall out. Or would it be better to order kokayi’s album off amazon 20 times?

qn5 is the only label i 100% fully respect, and without I would feel like all hope is lost in the realm of music

Wondering the same. There was a place to donate on the old old forums but I never saw why that was an advantage when, like you said, you could buy the album 20 times over. Worst case scenario, you give them away for free or something more clever.

TimmWith2Ms said:In my opinion, you guys hold up the highest standards in hip-hop and it shows. The consistent levels of mind-shattering music recorded by your label is quality nonpareil.

100% Agreed. Bar None. That’s always been our M.O.

The thought of shitty daily unmixed mp3-leaks and freEps for the sake of it, makes me shudder. Apparently, that’s what the majority of people want, though.

shepMWI said:I know you’re not looking for handouts, but have you ever though about doing something on Kickstarter? A lot of musicians are heading that way.

It’s been a thought, but considering that we’re actually already selling a product, it just seems redundant. I like the idea of Kickstarter though, and I’ve been looking for just the right project/set of circumstances to use it. Still, there’s nothing worse than seeing bands/artist push for funding, only to fall just shy of their targeted goal and lose it all.


I don’t know what else I could do.

Folks like yourselves are great examples of those who put their money where their mouths are. Aside from buying QN5 releases…all you can do is help us spread the word. Hell, the QN5 Fanzine is another great example of the fans taking it upon themselves to help us push. Fan sites, show attendance, blog comments, remixes, customer reviews, letters to editors, retweets, status updates, recommendations - all of that stuff is necessary for us to grow. It should never be a one-way street.

Jimson11 you said, you could buy the album 20 times over. Worst case scenario, you give them away for free or something more clever.

Buying the same album 20x certainly helps, but it’s not the solution in the end. We need NEW HEADS to join the community and support.

This is honestly horrible news to me, I need QN5 in my life.. I will be 100% honest and admit I have been sleeping on Kokayi and for someone who is immensely dedicated to this label I can truly say I am disappointed in myself. There is only quality music that comes out of QN5 so why ruin my streak of support by not purchasing ‘Robots & Dinosaurs’?
And with that, my streak shall continue! As soon as I click this “Post Comment” button I am immediately buying the album.
Support real hip hop!

I go out of my way to check out shitty to mediocre hip hop in the bay area in the hopes that I find something amazing. And occasionally I do find people I really enjoy watching and listening to, but it’s not easy.

The fact that there are people living in and around New York not turning out for QN5 shows makes me legitimately angry. You guys have it good there. Get off your asses.

If Tone wouldn’t have told me twice to save my money I would have flown to NY to see his Fat Beats performance. And that flight was hella expensive too because it was last minute. I regret not going, seriously, even though I know that they wouldn’t have seen a dime from anything I spent getting out there to the show.

I don’t wanna lecture people. I just get so jealous every time there’s a show announced on the east coast that would cost me 30 or 40 times more than it would cost a local to attend (not to mention having to take time off of work to travel). I do what I can from the west coast by making mixes for friends and buying albums and t-shirts and seeing the (rare) shows that make it out here but I feel like it’s not enough, and I wish I could be there physically to support these guys because they do so much for me.

It stings to see Tone making constant comments about people not showing up for shows. We owe it to them after all they’ve given us. Do it.

Holy crap that’s the scariest thing that could happen. QN5 music is a huge part of my life and did so much for me through music.
What really bums me out it’s that since I discovered QN5, I think I managed to get at least 10 different friends or friends of friends into QN5 but not a single one of them would even think of buying a CD or even a digital copy. I don’t know if there’s anyone from France around Paris on the forum (I think I saw some), but it must’ve been years since I heard anyone telling me they actualy bought a cd. And I find it really scary.

I’m going to talk to some friends about all this, I know at least one who loved Bop Alloy and wen’t crazy over “Rythm of the Rain”, maybe I could convince him to at least buy a digital copy of DIS.
‘till then , I’m going to buy right now a digital copy of R&D and pre-order and physical copy. I was waiting to receive my Paleo Pack before I listened to any of the album but things are different now. (can’t afford another Paleo Pack though, sorry :/)
Hope things will work out.

ohmy.. Sad
all these years i have listened/followed QN5 i have know this is possible but this is still shocking me.

for me it would help if there would b more options to buy ur music (simply refuse to use itunes and amazon dosnt work here so my only option is to preorder). i could easily pay 20€ to get physical cd.

Hampuusi said:for me it would help if there would b more options to buy ur music (simply refuse to use itunes and amazon dosnt work here so my only option is to preorder). i could easily pay 20€ to get physical cd.

Bandcamp was an option for Deffinitions Vol. 2.

Not sure if other albums will be available that way. I don’t see why they won’t be eventually…

i wish i could buy more….having a baby is WAAAY more expensive than i thought….getting the Paleo Pack and the Obituary Editions were a stretch when the kids pissing through 20 diapers in 24 hours. Good thing my wife loves you guys too and understands whats going on.

You think after all the bullshit you have gone thru as a label and as an artist youd catch a break

My friends favorite saying “It could be raining pussies and id still get hit in the face with a dick”

New slogan?

Sorry for all the edits….what about a QN5 online telethon with live streaming performances for those donating

dougone79 said:
My friends favorite saying “It could be raining pussies and id still get hit in the face with a dick”

New slogan?

Ahaha that cracked me up. Someone wanna photoshop that onto a QN5 tee?

In other news, I bought another Paleo. I didn’t realise how cheap they were.. when I got the first one it was a stretch cos I was broke, but now things are normalised it’s ridiculously good value.

Well, seeing as Oneirology has been pushed into 2011..

Today is bill week….mortgage, late cable bill, late gas bill…..hopefully next week i can buy some more shit…tone said R&D would help the most right?

And again i turn people on to QN5 all the time but they’d rather buy an OC or an 8ball than pay for music

Money idea:

QN5 teams with Johnny Cupcakes and do a US tour like he just did. I work on Newbury Street near his shop. Email me a contract idea and I’ll take care of it.

As one of the longtime-but-flakier fans here, I take full accountability for my lack of support with every show. It sucks, because I do want to attend and I know y’all aren’t interested (nor do you deserve) excuses, but most times a live show isn’t feasible with my schedule. I wish I was between 16-23 again like when I discovered QN5, but with all the current releases to benefit from, too.

My generation of Blue Schoolers (are we alumni, yet?) come from the years of maybe one or two albums, an Asterisk and a new Featured Material volume. It’s like Louis C.K. said, paraphrased, the coolest stuff is wasted on the shittiest generation.

Nonetheless, my stomach flipped a few times while reading this. We’ve seen panic-mode Tonedeff before, but so much frustration leaked out in that last post. Only thing I could think of was how can I help?

I’ve never thought buying multiple copies of an album was the best way to support, because all that means is less copies for new fans. But I’m a hypocrite because I have a digital, Rage edition, and regular-old CD for IFHR (and Kokayi’s album soon, too).

On the humble, I really don’t know how to reach new fans. It’s a lot harder at (damn near) 27 than it was at 19/20. And even then, all my street team efforts and e-recruiting netted me one active member here in NDub, an ex-girlfriend, and maybe a few pop-in Hip-Hop heads who’d venture back to the Little Brothers and MF Dooms of yesteryear.

Outside of my dude Poet from Sunset, who Pack is familiar with, the majority of my actual Hip-Hop friends often asked me what I saw in QN5 anyway. That’s the one thing I couldn’t understand then, and still don’t really get right now.

I’ve got QN5 stickers on my laptop and PackFM’s IFHR dartboard on my desk at the office gig. Those have generated a few questions, but I’m finding mid-to-late 20s adults are much harder to interest in new music. Frankly, most people aren’t passionate fans and have no interest in broadening their audio landscapes.

We should all pick 1 song and 1 DJ of a big radio station and tweet/message/email/call/rape them until they play it.

Then move on to another DJ.


Just bought R&D..

Rough times, I’m in debt up to the eyebrows..considering dropping out of school to get a 2nd job. But QN5 is the one constant in my life and I think I honestly would be devastated if you went under. You absolutely cannot do that, I will not allow it! Wish I had some real, good advice, but fuck I don’t know shit about shit. Only thing I’m certain of in this life, is that QN5 makes damn great, high quality music.

I try to keep an eye out for shows (between Detroit-Chicago is feasible for me). But I’m the po’ folk- if I lived in NY, trust me, it would not be an issue. I fucking love you guys though, please try to keep faith (if at all possible). Sad to hear this news, Tone, I wish this world made sense and good music outsold the bad…all I can do is continue supporting QN5 and trying to spread the word to all the deaf assholes out there.

This shit is so hard, for some reason- my mind has yet to even conceive of a plausible reason- Lil Wayne is the greatest thing EVERYONE has ever heard, and it’s their duty to support him and dickride him as much as possible..and “WTF is QN5? Whatever, they’re not better than Lil Wayne anyway, don’t need to check em.” It’s hard getting simple, factual, concepts into the heads of most the people I know and considering what we have to work with, maybe this all actually is a lost cause. Maybe you guys should say “fuck music” and try to be Lil Wayne, even though, as of right now, you DO make the best. I only HOPE that things turn around and start looking up, somehow. Honestly, I look forward to your upcoming of the few things that keeps me going, “Well in December, I’ll be able to hear *this*.” There’s really not too much in my life that I can point out with that being the case. Whatever will be will be, but I just REALLY don’t want to have to face QN5’s demise.

*DISCRETION—Don’t get it twisted, I don’t hate Lil Wayne simply due to the fact that I’m a “hater,” I just strongly dislike his “music” because it is fucking garbage.

worm9103 said:We should all pick 1 song and 1 DJ of a big radio station and tweet/message/email/call/rape them until they play it.

Then move on to another DJ.


New Kokayi single and… HypeMachine?

Worm! That’s actually a pretty dope idea!! What annoys the fuck outta me, is that any time you stumble across a QN5 release on youtube, all these newb mother fuckers are like “oh this is the best shit i’ve ever heard. Where can I download this for free?!???” GO BUY IT YOU FUCKING HOOLIGANS!!! I mean yeah its true, it is the best shit you’ve ever heard, but stop downloading it if you want to hear more!!! Ughh, sorry ya’ll. Had to vent that anger.

SoFly said:

worm9103 said:We should all pick 1 song and 1 DJ of a big radio station and tweet/message/email/call/rape them until they play it.

Then move on to another DJ.


New Kokayi single and… HypeMachine?

Get People To Go Here & Click On The Heart:

This is a wake up call, I honestly don’t know what I would do without QN5 music in my life. I remember the first time I heard a QN5 song, I remember the place, I remember EVERYTHING about that moment. No joke. It was Punk off *4, btw.

I have bought every release there has been, and before my bank account got dangerously low I bought multiples. But I have always felt I haven’t done enough, most of my friends like the music when I play it… but a select few actually go out and buy.

I pledge to make EVERY show within a 4 hour drive and drag as many people along as possible.

I wish I could think of something groundbreaking that would make a big splash, but I’m not good at that. Us Blue Schoolers are good at the internet-manpower, but how can we translate that into anything substantive?

The only thing I can think of at the moment would be doing some major stunt around the megashow when we have all the Blue Schoolers in one city at once.

But seriously Tone, thank you for all you do. We will be here and fighting to the end!

This sucks. I pre-ordered every CD so far this year and bought Deffinition Vol.2 and a second copy of IFHR on iTunes. If I could afford more copies or the Deluxe editions, trust me I’d've ordered them (although I did read that the profit margins on the Deluxe packs isn’t higher than the regular CDs).

I’ve played QN5 music for all of my friends, they all know who CunninLynguists are and many of them know Pack & Tone. I recently had a friend hit me up on Facebook to ask what ‘that song with the Tetris beat’ was called and where he could find it. Some of them have bought albums but I really don’t know how many of them still buy music today. There really aren’t any other people in my life with whom I could share QN5.

I’m going to go make a QN5-related post on Facebook but beyond that I’m at a loss, I’m in debt like many of us and I really don’t know what I’m doing with my own future. Hope things turn around and it needs to be known that everything you guys do is greatly appreciated.

QN5 closing shop would be the cherry on the ‘Worst Year of my Life Sundae’.

This is truly devastating news to every die hard QN5 fan. I know all of us have been impacted greatly by QN5 in our lives; it has truly been something more than just music for us. For me, I wrote my college essay partially around Tonedeff’s “Optimist”, and I’ve definitely convinced that was a large party of why I got into Georgetown, my dream school while I was rejected from similar leveled or lower level schools like JHU and Upenn where I used a different essay. So if I had never discovered Tonedeff, I might be on a completely different path in life. So I hope this is just another anecdote that will show you how much your music means to us Tone. I know stuff like that can’t help you get a bigger budget or pay for videos/distribution, but I hope it will show that you’re not doing this in vein, that there are people thankful for artists that DON’T make music just for money or fame.

Thus said, I really wish to help as much as possible. I’m going to cop a paleo which I hadn’t wanted to because I didn’t want the items, but whatever. However, buying albums is great, but I think it’s a short term solution at best. Like Tone said, the true solution is increasing the number of dedicated fans. Unfortunately, I really have no idea how to do that. I’ve definitely tried to show my friends Tonedeff and Qn5 music, but besides a polite “That song’s pretty good” I rarely get anything out of them. It’s a sad fact but most people in this generation just don’t really value music; most of them certainly don’t go out and buy CDs.

More attention and greater visibility would be great, but how can we accomplish that? I thought of going to all the hip-hop related forums, FB pages, and youtube links I could and spamming something about supporting QN5 but honestly could that do more harm and help? Could it lead people to look down on QN5 as a group that supports spammers because they can’t market themselves just based off of their own talent?

Another idea is perhaps to get a lot of people to make multiple accounts on so we can bump Koyaki to the top of the charts, gaining a lot of visibility. I’m not sure how realistic that is, or even feasible. We’d certainly need a lot of people (which is the goal in the first place) or an inhuman amount of work.

Any way to manipulate youtube views? Again getting one of Koyaki’s or Pack’s videos to the top of the charts, even for a week could do a lot.

It baffles me though, how so many other artists get more attention just randomly. Like take Wax, Dumbfoundead, Traphik, D-Pryde. No hate on them, cause they’re all dope in their own ways, but how the hell did they blow up off just the strength of youtube when they haven’t, and probably never will accomplish 1/10th of what ANY QN5 arist has done? Never mind the heavyweights like Kno, Deacon, and Tonedeff. Kokayi’s and PackFM’s videos should definitely have a lot more views. Maybe Tone or Pack could do a return to battling? Grindtime is a pretty big thing nowadays and a battle between Tone/Pack and one of their top tier cats (Illmac/Hollow/DirtbagDan/Dizaster) could easily get hundreds of thousands of views with advertisement in there to promote their albums.

And on FB, how do pages like “I dislike people that walk too slowly in the hallways” have hundreds of thousands of “likes” but Tonedeff’s page has only a few thousand? We could of course try to increase the likes, but I don’t think it’d go beyond adding a couple of thousand fans at most. I just don’t understand how stupid things like the one I mentioned can gain so many fans. How do they grow?

At this point I think we might have to be resigned to the fact that Tonedeff and QN5 are just too good, too talented to be successful in this world/generation.

Wow just wow Sad ...

Ive been a long time fan of the QN5 fam for the longest. I will admit i bootlegged a album or two ages ago just because it was convenient and i was young and dumb excuses its just wrong and i knew it but growing up and being a artist myself i know the pain of working for nothing so I started dishing out and supporting fellow artist alike whenever possible. Not only that but i promote the shit out of anything QN5 related.

Your work is all great and compared to all the shit music out there these days its build to stand the strength of time I mean not a day goes by that I don’t listen to something from any of you guys.

Ive been in these forums before but never posted but figured its about that time to put in my 2 cents when i get paid ill buy a Palio Pack and not only that but I’m currently looking into my budget to see if I can perform a total act of QN5 love and actually fly to Atlanta Saturday to attend Kno’s release party show. Hopefully ill be able to swing this I’m looking at flight info right now. You guys are rarely in the Chicago area so i figured screw it let me step out and show love even though its hours away!! Wish me luck hopefully I can get out there! Hmmm are tickets even available?

Regardless of whether I go or not I’m going to continue to promote your work and purchase items as there released like I usually do. Tone quit with all the mystery shit and drop your album already lol JK its interesting even tho the whole thing is waaay outa my thought process but im enjoying that thread lol.

Keep up the great work and hopefully a miracle hits you guys id love QN5 to get some radio play around here to squash the crap played on a daily basis!!