Interview: the incomparable YouTube personality Big Quint speaks on his rise to internet stardom.
Somewhere in Illinois, a chair groaned, then snapped under the weight of Big Quint's ample bottom bouncing to the sound of Kendrick Lamar's "HUMBLE." for the first time.
"I broke my chair!" Quint cried in disbelief, to the immense joy of his viewers. With half a million views in less than a month, his "HUMBLE." reaction is already one of his most popular videos yet.
Quint's infectious enthusiasm has earned him 285,000 YouTube subscribers and made him one of the most popular music reviewers on the internet. Unlike most text-based album reviews, or even the video reviews of his YouTube rivals The Needle Drop and Dead End Hip-Hop, his reviews include dancing, eating breaks, and a disclaimer warning "all the virgins ears out there" of profanity to come.
In a genial, profanity-laced Skype interview with HNHH, Quint spoke in depth on his music-reviewing philosophy and offered a glimpse into the surprisingly normal life of a minor YouTube celebrity.
At what point in your “HUMBLE.” reaction video did your chair break?
Honest to god, I was just trying to sit down, man. Like I sat down and it just fucking crunched, dude. I don’t know what happened. Right then, I had to fucking tape it. I just got this chair a week ago. It fucked me up completely. I had to bring myself back together.
It looks like a gaming chair. Have you replaced it yet?
Nah, I still got the chair as a matter of fact. I’m sitting in it now. GT Omega, they actually sent me this chair a minute ago. And this is the chair that broke. You know the base that’s got the five little fillers? One of them things broke in three places. So it’s actually standing on four of the five. Like, it’s standing up, but if it goes a certain way, it might crack completely off. So I’m kinda risking it right now.
What did you listen to growing up that shaped your taste in music?
I was born and raised in Vallejo, California. My dad is from New York and my mom is from Jamaica. And my dad had really heavy reggae love. And he had a broad taste. We were listening to classical one minute, we were listening to opera the next, and then we’d listen to some reggae. And then later on in my life, I actually got into hip hop. Middle school on to high school is when I really started fucking with hip hop.
When did you start making videos?
When I started making videos when I was in college, I went to MacMurray College in Illinois. It’s like a small, division-III college. I was actually on break, and The Weeknd dropped Thursday. We used to be on Xbox Live, we’d be listening to music, and I’d be going fucking crazy. My boy was like, “Man, I love your reactions, you gotta put this on video.” So I said, “Shit, fuck it. Might as well.” And this shit fucking blew up from there. I said, “Since people are loving this so much, I might as well keep doing this shit.” And it was history from there.
Do you have a day job?
Can you tell me what you do?
I can’t disclose that just for the safety of my job.
Can you tell me what what industry you work in?
Let’s say that I work with a lot of children.
Your videos get hundreds of thousands of views. Do they provide a substantial supplemental income at all?
Oh yeah! It’s pretty good. I can’t complain.
One might call you a critic, entertainer, or a comedian. Do you identify with any of these terms?
Yup, all three of them. I try and be myself.
You have a few piano covers on your channel. When did you start playing piano?
Jeez, I’ve been playing piano for a while. I used to play around with keys going to church and stuff, me and my mom. But I started really getting into it when I was in college. So I started teaching myself. And I still play today. It’s not incredible, but I definitely still play to the best of my abilities
So in college you were like, I’m gonna not study right now and go play piano instead.
Actually, yeah. That and video games, honestly. If I didn’t feel like playing Call of Duty back in the day, I would go and find a piano. And the cool thing about my college is that they were fucking everywhere, so I’d just go in my lobby and play. It was great.
You’re still a pretty serious gamer?
Yeah. Yes I am.
What are you playing these days?
Mass Effect right now, for sure. I’m playing that heavy. I’m actually trying to finish up Outlast because I want to get into playing like Resident Evil, because I have it and I still haven’t played it yet. But I’m trying to actually have [gaming] as a part of my channel.
Have you ever reviewed an album that pleasantly surprised you?
Actually yeah, there is one. Adrian Marcel. He’s from the Bay Area. He had a really good project that I covered. And I was not expecting it to be that good at all. His manager hit me up, he wanted me to do it for him because he’s from my area, so I said okay, fine, why not. It was really good.
I like when that happens. I actually was thinking about doing something along the lines of bringing up a new artist and reacting to them. But it’s like once you open that floodgate, man, it’ll be a lot of people, so I’m always trying to think of ways to divvy that up and make it fair for everybody. Maybe in the future.
Your enthusiasm is a big part of your appeal. How do you keep fans engaged when you’re not feeling the music? I feel like that could be difficult to navigate.
As real as possible, that’s all. My focus is to listen to the music first off, and not try to do too much, but be myself as best as possible. It’s high energy, what I do, but my energy matches what I’m listening to.
Have you ever had a chance to meet any of the artists that you admire and listen to?
Not yet. A lot of them actually follow me on Twitter. But that hasn’t happened yet. I haven’t actually got to be face-to-face with an artist. And I would like for that to happen soon, that would be fucking awesome.
What are your top five albums of all time?
Oh, man. This question, I swear.
Man. Well, there’s gotta be something that’s close to me growing up. And I listened to a lot of Lauryn Hill. So Miseducation, that would be on there. And this is in no particular order at all. All Eyez on Me, Ready to Die. There’s a compilation album of Bob Marley that my dad and I used to listen to all the time, and I used to love the shit out of it. Legend. I love that album, because it plays close to me.
I’m thinking of so many different albums. I got like Wu-Tang, and just… oh man. Shit, Ghostface. Supreme Clientele. Oh my god, yo. This question is hard for me, man. I’d probably have to put Kanye’s College Dropout in my top five, because when I grew up in high school, I used to play that shit religiously. Him, a lot of MF Doom too. I want to put him up there too.
But god dammit. Let’s put it this way. My top five: undisclosed. I have no clue. That’s a hard question. I gotta scrap that whole thing.
(At the time of the interview, Kendrick Lamar had not yet put out DAMN.)
What are your predictions for Kendrick’s album?
I expect an excellent album. With the streak he has right now, it’s undeniable. He doesn’t have a terrible album. He doesn’t even have an okay album. And it’s like, honestly, at this point in time, he can go wherever the hell he wants. If in fact he’s gonna talk about anything, it’s gonna be some current events stuff for sure. On top of that, whatever the fuck he feels like speaking on. Throwing shade at people. A lot of people are talking about this Big Sean situation. He could touch base on that more. Hell, he could say actual names. This whole thing could be a "Control" album.
We don’t know. I don’t know. But I need it now. I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping he doesn’t mess up his streak. I hope to god he does this shit.
I don’t think there’s any way he’ll mess it up.
I don’t think so either. And I really hope to God he doesn’t. I got all the hope for him in the world. I’m just hoping it’s something dope.
(POSTSCRIPT: Quint broke another wheel on his chair while listening to “DNA.” for the first time.)