"The goal is to have twenty plaques, ten mixtapes, five albums, thirty-million dollars, five houses."
Today marks the arrival of the newest On The Come Up, this time featuring rapidly-rising Georgia rapper Quando Rondo. "I never made it to the seventh grade," he reveals, reflecting on his early experiences with the juvenile detention center. "I ain't dropped out of school, I went to juvenile in the sixth grade. For four months. I got out, and never went back to school. I learned how to fight in juvenile. I think I learned the wrong stuff from juvenile that's still with me to this day. If somebody say something to me wrong, I be ready to fight."
Yet some of his lessons ultimately proved to be valuable in the long run, as Quando admits he used the time to hone his craft. "I learned how to rap better in juvenile by rapping to other inmates," he reveals. "I been rapping since I was a kid, but that was my first time expressing my music to other individuals."
Image via HNHH
Looking back to his formative years growing up around 2012, Rondo reflects on how the landscape has changed. "When I was young, kids my age didn't really listen to a whole mixtape," he says. "Our mamas had us listening to radio. Now, you got Spotify, Tidal, HotNewHipHop." It's hard to argue that Quando Rondo's own career benefitted from the Internet's rise, especially given that he "didn't have any studio songs." "I really got signed beating on cars," he marvels. "I never really had no music in the studio."
He also takes a moment to point out a sad reality. "I know this for money, so I'm bout to rap about whatever somebody feel," he explains. "Whenever I rap about how I feel, it don't get noticed. But when I rap about what they want to hear, it get noticed. Shit, Im'a do both." Hopefully, his new label Atlantic Records will allow him the freedom to do so. "A lot of people tried to sign me," he says. "Game tried to sign me. So many people tried to sign me. A lot of rappers tried to sign me. I just want to know when I'll get the next check."
"I want to go platinum though!" he says. "I can't wait till I start making platinum records. Then the label gon' know, I feel like shit gon' get better." He's certainly got the creative drive to fulfill his lofty goals, provided he doesn't come to rely too heavily upon substances. "None of my music sound the same," he says. "I feel like I got a lot of shit that sound different. 'Scarred From Love,' I like that song. I been on lean, I mixed green, red, purple up together. Three different leans. I mixed it up together with a pink soda. I had more lean than soda though. I been on like five pills. I swear to God, it was like four in the morning. I was so high I was rapping, so high I made that shit."
He reveals that he ultimately forgot about "Scarred By Love" until hearing it three months later in his car. "My brother was in the car like 'boy you forgot about this song!' I listened to it and said 'boy when I made that? That shit sound good!' I got my engineer to mix it, I gave him five hundred right there...It don't sound 'Atlantic Records mixed', but it sound street ready."