No cap – I’ve been reluctant to review “QPac” before now. There are no shortage of reasons I was avoiding Quando Rondo’s major label debut but here are just a few of them: he didn’t write his own lyrics, he was involved in a shootout that left King Von dead, and he’s a grown ass man who was dating a high school girl. Quite honestly Quando Rondo left me queasy. It feels like everything to do with him has some level of dirt and the more you dig the grimier you get. I also understand that calling the album “QPac” was an attention grabbing move, but as someone who was still in college when Tupac Shakur was murdered, it feels disrespectful to use his name to promote yourself.

It won’t come as a surprise to you that Rondo talks it how he lives it. The single “Double C’s” is self-explanatory, but if you need it explained, he’s proclaiming his membership in the Atlanta chapter of a famous L.A. gang. It’s unrealistic to expect Rondo to not blur the lines between his rap persona and his real life. In fact I can’t even knock the hustle given one of the five big rappers of the last 25 years has been doing it his entire career. Throw your sets up and do you. It would be preferable if other people didn’t take it personally and start fights over it though, because we’ve lost too many rappers in my lifetime and the list gets longer with every passing week. We also lose them to drug overdoses though — so it’s nice to see Polo G survived his own brush with death in 2019 and wound up collaborating with Rondo on “Marvelous” the next year.

Despite my mixed feelings about “QPac” songs like this MalikOTB, TnTXD, and Tahj Money produced track hit the sweet spot musically. Would I prefer he not pitch correct his vocals? Well sure. I could say that about almost everybody in rap or hip-hop other than T-Pain. Let me give Rondo a compliment though — he’s not using it to disguise the fact he’s not able to spit bars. I can understand every word of “Collect Calls” and I’d be lying if I said he doesn’t have a knack for catchy hooks that you’ll wind up singing along to.

With the right edits some of these songs are perfectly suited for your local “where hip-hop lives” radio station. “Bad Vibe” featuring 2 Chainz and A Boogie wit da Hoodie is a perfect example. The soothing keys, heavy bass hits, melodic delivery and guest stars are a perfect combination. Give Pierre and Danny Majic their props for this one. Any time I would listen to a song with or without the featured rappers on it, you know that’s a special instrumental.

Even though there are times I think Quando Rondo could do less to glorify the negative in his community or life, I can’t ignore the way he tries to bridge the gap to the positive on tracks like “Letter to My Daughter.” These heartfelt sentiments make me hope that there aren’t any more beefs like the one with King Von that could leave him or some other aspiring rapper deceased. His daughter Italy Naomi deserves to have a father figure in her life now and going forward.

“I’ma do wherever just to make you smile
Search for you, walk a thousand miles
Won’t catch no tear come down my eye
Girl you my gift, my winning prize”

So even though I didn’t expect to like “QPac” that much at the start, I have to give him his flowers and say “not bad — not bad Q.” Going back to that opening paragraph though there’s still a lot of things for Quando Rondo to work on. Avoid the street fights, don’t groom minors, and try to give us more of your real self on the songs instead of hiring ghostwriters. Maybe try rapping without the pitch correction and modulation too. I feel like there’s a real voice behind the music and I want to hear it without anything else getting in the way. Life is a work in progress. I’m trying to be a better man and a better human being every single day, and I look forward to Q evolving too.

Quando Rondo :: QPac
7Overall Score