TQ was raised in the church (he sang in the choir) but his real education came from the streets, where the first wave of hip-hop music became the soundtrack to his life. "From Monday to Saturday I was hangin', partyin', chasing girls, getting in trouble, and straight-up acting the fool," he admits. "But on Sunday my mother dragged me out of bed to go to church. That's where I developed my singing voice and learned how to make people feel me."
TQ was never a thug in the true sense of the word: His hard-working parents instilled positive values in him, and didn't hesitate to set him straight when he was wrong. At 16, when his mom found a gun in his room, she sent the teenager to live with an aunt in Atlanta. In retrospect, says TQ, "sending me down South saved my life. It made me straighten up—for awhile, anyway."
These conflicting circumstances honed TQ's survival instincts and his passion for music. "The little money I had to buy records was spent on rap," he notes. "See, I really wasn't much into my generation's r&b. I listened more to the old-school soul that my parents had in the house. So my music now is more a combination of that and hard-core hip-hop."
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