Before moving to the neighborhood, quinn and her family stayed at a local hotel, where they shared space with military personnel from around the world. A group of Russian soldiers partied every single night, their din permeating the thin walls, making it difficult for quinn to properly record. Instead, she focused on making beats and spitting freestyles to convey the stress and loneliness she’d been feeling from moving, finishing (and ultimately scrapping) an entire rap album. One thing she recalls are the faces of the Saudi Arabian special forces that wandered the hallways. “They’ve seen it all,” she says, while crossing the street from a convenience store. “They were so monotonous, and it was kinda sad, because they had no soul. I imagine after seeing all that shit you got no soul no more. And you gotta come to the country that did it to you? I’d be so pissed.”
We make our way back home, where quinn scrolls through her music library on the computer, moodboarding the influences on quinn: the compressed-to-death sample chops of an online scene called soul-hop; the “ketamine music” of chipmunks on 16 speed; Ghostface Killah and BADBADNOTGOOD’s Sour Soul; the wonky outsider rap of Massachusetts collective Dark World. The core inspiration for quinnhowever, came to her via a renewed obsession with her favorite album of all time, Standing on the Corner’s jazz rap opus Red Burns. You’ll hear parallels between these albums’ jigsawing structure and tone, their current of pan-Africanism, staticky vocal takes, short songs that work best as parts of a whole. “I started getting more spiritual when I started coming out of my depression,” she says. “I was like, ‘Damn, there’s so much more to life than just, get on Discord.’” She says she gets most of her spirituality from music, in particular citing conscious rap like Ka, Digable Planets, and Al Divino.
Compared to past records, where she sang about fans not really knowing her, her writing on quinn is stripped of a lot of that baggage. This gives her more room to explore new themes, like her relationship with her girlfriend Mal, who can be heard on the SoundCloud-only album track “HOW OLD ARE YOU.” On the gut punch ballad “the trust game,” quinn tenderly explains her philosophy of love in a single line: “I love you for my soul.” The most abrasive moments are almost comically intense, and walk the line between sounding unfinished and feeling alive—like the interlude “i see you,” wherein quinn goes on an unhinged tirade, threatening to break into an unnamed staff sergeant’s house, eat his string cheese, “fuck on his PAWG of a wife,” and key his car. It’s a reminder of quinn’s raw edge, which in its consistency has placed her music in a different realm entirely from the quirky aesthetics of hyperpop.
As the sun begins its slow descent, I drive quinn and Jarrod about 15 minutes off base to South Columbus, Georgia, a college town the two often explore on weekends. “All this shit slave money,” quinn says as we walk by fancy eateries and stores. A man approaches her asking for money and she gives him all $43 in her wallet. We wander down to a promenade by the Chattahoochee River, which traces the Georgia-Alabama border. The rapids aren’t so rapid today, so a few people are cooling off in the shallows. “I would go swimming if I wouldn’t catch cancer right after,” quinn jokes, hopping over a rocky outcrop.