QD III (Quincy Jones III) is the son and name sake of the legendary music producer Quincy Jones. QD III is probably best known for bringing us the Beef dvd series, but back in the nineties he was an inspiring hip-hop producer. Thanks to his dad’s clout in the music industry, he was able to snag a solo deal with Warner Bros. and released Soundlab in 1991. Soundlab is a QD III produced compilation album that showcases a few new acts with each of them getting a few songs to show the world what their made of. Soundlab is QD III’s only solo project but he would go one to produce songs for other artists including Ice Cube and 2pac, before he decided to focus on producing films.
The picture on the back of Soundlab‘s liner notes shows QD III posted up next to a pissy mattress, with a broken down bike and hooptie in the background somewhere in a L.A. hood. Dude. You’re The Dude’s son. The son of the man who is partially responsible for bringing us MJ’s Thriller aint never lived in no hood.
Ridin’ With The Rhythm – Soundlabopens with unsung emcee Justin Warfield (more on him later) riding this decent QD III instrumental to the rhythm. Nice start to the evening.
Steppin’ With The Sound – Apparently Justin Warfield was tired of ridin’ QD III’s rhythm, so he decided to step to his sound on this one. Coincidentally, QD III uses the same sample Pete Rock used for “Go With The Flow” on the All Souled Out EP. Justin does a serviceable job with it but I’ll take C.L.’s interpretation every time.
Season of The Vic – The sole reason why I took a chance and invested my 99 cents on Soundlab. Warfield sends a warning to the listener to be aware of those who want to get over on you. I’ve always loved this QD III instrumental and how Warfield rides it. This sounds like something A Tribe Called Quest would have done, which QD and Warfield must have thought as well, since they included a Q-tip vocal sample at the end of the song.
I Need – Just so you didn’t think this was a Justin Warfield solo album, QD introduces another artist on this compilation. Kenyatta from something going by the Mau Mau Tribe gets a solo joint with some chick named Regina Taplin singing the hook. The early nineties saw some pretty cheesy hip-hop/r&b love collabos, and you can add this one to that collection. This was fastforwordable.
Gotta Do More – Kenyatta gets yet another solo joint and switches things up as this one takes on a more conscious tone as he reminds the listener about the importance of mental freedom. This wasn’t good. To add insult to injury the guest vocalist Jocque Lewis’ contribution on the hook is bound to grate on the ear.
Pumpin’ It Up – QD III invites 213 (pronounced two-one-three) to help out on this one. Before you get too excited, it’s not the 213 that most know as Snoop, Warren G, and Nate Dogg. Instead its Geno Fearce and D.J. Ronski. Yeah, I never heard of them either, and after listening to this song it will become clear why. This wasn’t good.
Hip Housin’ – What do you get when add hip-hop with house music? This hot mess of a song. Just in case you thought the last song was a fluke, 213 confirms that they suck with one.
Catastrophe 1 – I thought I’d be able to use the song title to describe the song, but this one is actually decent. Based on the liner notes it appears that Poet Society is a four man crew, but only Kev raps on this one, and he turns in a serviceable contribution. The QD III instrumental was pretty decent as well.
Livin’ In The Ghetto – Something named Jazzy D paints a very generic picture of life in the ghetto. The accompanying instrumental is just as generic, but at least QD III can’t be held solely responsible since DJ Crazy Toones (of Low Profile and later WC And The Maad Circle) gets a co-production credit on this one.
Set Up – This was terrible. The first step to making a good song is making sure the listener can hear you. It’s a strain to get follow the details of S.T. One’s storyline as his monotone vocal is drowned out by QD’s instrumental. QD’s instrumental sucked anyway, so who cares.
Potty Train ‘Em – Kev of Poet Society is back for another solo joint, but unfortunately this one doesn’t work as well as “Catastrophe 1”.
Grim Reaper – One more from our friend Kev of Poet Society. It just dawned on me that Kev sounds like a mix between Wise Intelligent (Poor Righteous Teachers) and DJ Quik. This was decent.
Season Of The R & B – This is the remix to “Season Of The Vic”, and it doesn’t disappoint. QD’s instrumental has a dark vibe, making it feel like “Vic’s” evil twin. Me likey.
Catastrophe 2 – This remix isn’t as good as the original, but still not terrible.
Gigolo Lifestyle – S.T. One returns for the final song of the evening. I’ll start with the positive: QD did a much better job mixing this one than “Set Up” so you don’t have to strain to hear S.T.’s vocals. Now the negative: Everything else about the song sucked.
Soundlab would have worked better as a 6 song EP. As is, pretty much anything that Justin Warfield is not spitting on doesn’t work. Most of QD’s instrumentals are subpar as well as the artists he attempted to showcase. I think its safe to say he made the right choice leaving music alone and focusing on film.