By Charlie Maybee
Hip hop artist, Q the Key, prefers the paycheck to the fame in his new single “Don’t Hate The Player”.
There are clear southern rap influences on display here (i.e., Outkast) as Q manifests and balances extremely catchy hooks with impeccable precision in his rhymes. Musically, the main beat features melancholy acoustic guitar against a playful marimba which brings a chill sense of nonchalance to the music. Drums and bass fill in as needed but take more of a backseat leaving space for the flurry of raps that Q provides.
Lyrically, we see Q in a state of confidence as he puts his finesse on blast. As someone in a position to say, “don’t hate the player / just hate the game”, it’s clear that he’s played more than a few rounds and developed some serious skills along the way. The song personifies the idea that if you stay ready you don’t have to get ready, and he’s not interested in taking any L’s, so it’s every player for themselves.
In many ways, this song reflects the foundation of capitalism in that there are clear winners and losers. Simulating his life like a game where competition is inevitable creates a sense of drive that propels the song content forward while also commenting (either consciously or unconsciously) on the inner-workings of democratic systems. Survival often depends on being on the winning side, and Q the Key seems bound and determined to stay on that end of the spectrum.
“Don’t Hate The Player” is available on major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Find this and more great music on the Alchemical Records Multigenre Mixture playlist on Spotify.
Charlie Maybee is a dancer, musician, educator, and writer based in Charleston, South Carolina who currently teaches with the Dance Program at the College of Charleston. His primary work as an artist is with his performing collective, Polymath Performance Project, through which he makes interdisciplinary performance art that centers tap dance as the primary medium of expression and research. He also currently plays rhythm guitar for the Charleston-based punk band, Anergy, and releases music as a solo artist under the name Nox Eterna.
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