The Eminence of Stat Quo
Stat Quo was in a near fatal accident the day after this interview. We are praying for his speedy recovery as well as the others involved!
The state of hip-hop has changed since the start of the
millennium. It seems like hip-hop has become more spiritual and
analytical rather than the previous ideology of gangster images
and materialism The new “movement of awareness” has risen in
the form of an artist by the name of Stat Quo, a former mix tape
professional that burst on the scene with musical moguls Dr. Dre
and Eminem on their Shady/Aftermath label. While demanding
respect, this Atlanta native embodies different characteristics
that diversify his mass appeal to the public. After receiving his
degree from the University of Florida, he decided to apply his
focus, street smarts, determination, and education to his first
true love, hip-hop. Standing on his founding principles of always
being true to self and being proud of ones individuality, he has
managed to take it to the streets with his highly anticipated LP,
“Stat-Lanta”, scheduled to be released after the Anger
Tuesday, July 12th, 2005, I joined Mr. Stanly Benton Jr. (Also
known as Stat Quo) for a few hours while he worked out in the
gym, got ready for radio interviews, and prepared his wardrobe
for an event later on in the evening. At first glance he looked
average. Nothing stood out about him that made him different
from any other rapper I’d seen until he opened his mouth. The
passion and love he has for his newfound profession was
strengthened with each word spoken and shortly after a few
minutes, I was just amazed by his presence. His determination
was what fueled him during a vigorous and remorseless work
out. While working out Stat Quo stated that, “ he has to do it for
the ladies.” Many have labeled him the “educated thug” while
comparing him to Common and even Rakim. His lyrical content is
about the essence of life and the pursuit of happiness. Stat Quo
is about brining true lyricism back to hip-hop in hopes of
replacing anger driven words supporting the mass destruction of
many communities. It’s not about murder, drugs, death, and the
things you’d do to live the fast life but it is about how you work to
get away from the negativity in life. This interview is about Stat
Quo as an individual first and foremost , a rapper, and a protégé
of the ATL-invasion.
J.L. Describe your first battle.
S.Q When I used to battle I would get into it and I’d be on
some violent type shit, that is why I had to stop battling. I
remember the dude got too close to me and I got offended. I
actually had to punch him in his face. We really got into a fight
but I know I killed him on the mic.
JL How do you find the inspiration to write your lyrics?
SQ I actually talk about things I’ve seen in my life and the
things that other people around me have been through. That
right there is my inspiration.
JL Does your upbringing influence your musical style and image?
SQ I was raised to always be myself and not try to be
someone that I am not. I was brought up in Atlanta and
everything about my music and me is just that.
JL How does your family feel about you pursuing a career in rap?
SQ They love it. It’s money. It’s better than selling dope. I
went to school but school couldn’t pay me what I needed so I still
resulted in doing some bull shit out in the street.
Stat Quo continues to balance answering my questions while
sprinting on a treadmill. He expresses his love for his trainer that
quickly turns into hate the longer and harder the workout
JL Define success in your eyes.
SQ Success is basically accomplishing all of the goals that
you set for yourself. Success is on an individual mark, it’s
personal, it is whatever you set for yourself. You can’t base
success on everyone else because success can not be
universal. Whatever you call success as an individual is the
definition of success.
JL What do you think rap needs right now to regain positivism
established through its introduction during the late 70’s and
SQ Rap basically needs more creativity, personal
expression, individuality, and people to stop doing what other
folks are doing and just be themselves in order to gain the
beauty of it back.
JL What do you hope people will be able to gain from your
SQ I want people to develop a sense of who I am as a
person and as an individual so that they can understand that I
am just trying to be myself and no one else on this album.
Still working out and making it a point to answer my questions
the words “S*&t” and “F#$k” become the best friend of this
gentleman. He realizes how much he is cursing and asks me to
excuse him. The work out he is doing seems like the regimen a
professional boxer would under take. I try to encourage him and
tell him to think about how the ladies are going to love the finish
JL Describe your college experience.
SQ I learned how to deal with people from different
backgrounds. I gained a business sense of mind and I learned
how to manipulate people and make them do what I want them to
do. Plus, I was able to hang around so many people that were
different from the people I grew up around. I grew as a
businessman learning how to deal with people.
JL Who are your mentors and why?
SQ Right now, Eminem and Dre because they are true to
the music and they have so much drive and passion about it.
JL Describe the mission and purpose of Grown Man Music.
SQ Well I wanted to create my own thing in order to help
the folks in my circle get on and make money, somewhat similar
to what 50 did with G-Unit. I want to give back and build another
recreational center back in Atlanta in my neighborhood that can
actually give kids something to do other than being on the
street. I want to help folks out the best way that I can. It’s about
remembering where you came from while you’re going
JL Does the fact that Shady/ Aftermath adds an unspoken ore of
respect for you as an artist effect your decision to sign a deal
SQ Yes, but they also went along with the vision that I had
for my music. They knew what I wanted to do and they
JL What is the easiest thing to do while your on tour?
SQ F&*king groupies (he says with an innocent smile).
JL What is the hardest thing to do while your on tour?
SQ Eating right and working out. It’s so hard because you’re
on the road.
JL What have you learned about the business since you have
been on tour?
SQ I learned that you have to take care of yourself and that
means eating right and working out. It is the only way to keep up.
JL What are the three most powerful words in your opinion?
SQ Power, Integrity, and Respect.
JL Why do you think that you are the new leader of the rap
SQ I am really into being myself and not pretending to be
someone else. My style is so unique because I am an individual
and I rap about what is real in my life.
JL What has been your favorite city thus far on the Anger
Management tour this summer?
SQ I loved it in Indianapolis, Indiana. The crowd was feeling
it and they had energy. Everywhere was great but it was just
something about Indy.
We take a break as he goes to get cleaned up, dressed to
impress and ready to hit the road again.
JL What is your favorite cologne and how does it reflect you as
SQ I love Egyptian Musk and I mix it with everything but I
have Chrome on now.
JL What makes you nervous?
SQ Performing in front of 25 thousand people makes me
JL What is in your cd collection as we speak?
SQ “Untouchables” by Scarface, “The Chronic” by Dr. Dre,
“The Marshal Mathers” LP by Eminem, a couple of songs from
my album (of course), “The Love Below/ Speaker Boxx” by
Outkast, and Issac Hayes “The Greatest Hits.”
JL What about those artist earned them the right to be on your
constant repeat list?
SQ They all have a unique sound that you cannot find
anywhere else. I just like originality.
JL What are some of your pet peeves?
SQ I hate liars. Why do you have to lie? I love the truth and I
love being an honest ni**a. Plus, bad breath. I think people
should take an hour, if they have to take an hour to do
something, it should be to brush their teeth because there is no
excuse for anyone to have bad breath!
JL What is your worst habit?
SQ I’ll work out for a month and then something could
distract me and I just wont work out anymore.
JL What do you look for in a woman?
SQ I use to be on that physical s*&t in my youth but now
that I am older I‘ve realized that the way a woman looks can fade
away but you really have to fall in love with someone for who
they are because everything else fades away. So, I look for
personality in a woman and not just how she looks. I get to love
the real person and let the physical grow on me.
JL How do you know when your in love? (He answers the
question while sorting through a box of 100 pairs of gym shoes
in order to pick the perfect match for his ensemble)
SQ Well I don’t know, I just know that when I feel I am in
love that is how I know I am in love. Right now I am in love with
JL Describe your love and devotion to hip-hop?
SQ Well that’s my girl. We’re married and she is pregnant
with my child. She is about to give birth and my album is our
seed, but outside of that I’m single.
Stat Quo has something about him that both women and men
can relate to and that is his realness. His album isn’t just another
attempt to go platinum, it is an attempt to reach the real people
with real issues from a real person. Sometimes the first thing
that needs to be established is the love for a message and not
the love of money. Stat Quo has already begun to raise the bar
for current and future M.C.’s by being an individual. The
question is will the others raise the bar and take hip-hop to the