GQ Is Next Up In 9th Wonder’s Jamla Army (Video Premiere)

GQ is the artist 9th Wonder calls his “secret weapon” at Jamla Records. Over the past few years, the Bay area native has released several records (including 2014’s Rated Oakland) as part of the label roster that have cemented his reputation as an artist with fine lyricism and a clearly defined voice.

Premiering at Ambrosia For Heads, his latest video “Can’t Run,” produced by 9th Wonder, is a very smooth turn. It is a simple, almost monochromatic visual that features the North Cali’ MC rapping his bars, with a friend nearby in an ordinary street-scape. The presentation allows GQ’s songwriting to shine through. Fresh off of a strong feature on Rapsody’s Laila’s Wisdom, this single belongs to GQ’s upcoming E 14th album on Jamla, which will be available on Friday, November 17. The Soul Council (Khrysis, Nottz, Eric G., E.Jones, Kash, and Amp) as well as S1 (aka Symbolyc One) are confirmed producers. First look “Can’t Run” displays the MC’s cool confidence against the soulful beat provided by the Grammy Award-winning producer and label founder.

GQ has the welcomed ability to speak of his life experience in a way that sounds fresh. He keeps it light and committed at once, and the music matches this. The MC met 9th Wonder while on a basketball scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In a 2013 HipHopDX interview, the MC spoke about how the Jamla Records boss encouraged him to think about the parallels between playing ball and the Rap game. “Whether it be the fashion of the two, just a mannerism you have while you’re on the court, the same mannerism you have when recording, when you’re offstage. [Aside from] just the confidence levels, there are a lot of parallels that go with both,” GQ explained. “That’s one of the first things 9th said about me. When I met him, he was like, ‘You have somewhat of an advantage with music because of what you’ve gone through with basketball. From having a work ethic, to being on time, to devoting yourself, to making sacrifices [to] being patient.’ … Now I can really look back and really relate everything to basketball that I’ve gone through as far as the process of music thus far.”

“Can’t Run” is the latest proof that the advice paid off. As a new class of Bay voices emerges, GQ is a reminder that Oakland Hip-Hop has always been about substance.

Last month, Jamla introduced Reuben Vincent courtesy another 9th-produced video single.