QN5 on Why Friday's Megashow Will Be Their Last
This Friday marks the end of an era as longstanding New York independent hip-hop label QN5 will host their final Megashow. The almost-annual event has become a travel destination for indie-rap fans worldwide, and this Friday's show at BB King looks to see a true staple go out with a bang. We spoke to QN5 roster members Tonedeff, PackFM, Kokayi, and Deacon the Villain about the history of the Megashow and why it's coming to an end.
Chad Griffith QN5 Founder Tonedeff
Why is this weekend going to be the final Megashow?
Tonedeff: The easiest way to answer that is to say it spiraled out of control. It got bigger than we could handle, if that makes any sense. The Megashows started off in a basement eleven years ago as a simple show where we all would get together, and it turned into a destination event around 2007. By 2009 we had people flying in from all over the world, and now coordinating stuff like this now without a staff is a tremendous undertaking. And now, we're all working on projects and stuff, and it's just gotten to be too much. For the foreseeable future, we just had to put a cap on it because I don't see us being able to sustain this much longer.
PackFM: We're all in different stages of our lives right now and there's other things we have to focus on, it's one of those things where every year we love the fans so much, we're convinced to do it anyway. We can't just end it out of the blue, we have to give people a chance to be a part of the last one and know it's the last hurrah.
So, this being the last Megashow doesn't mean that this is also the end of QN5?
PackFM: It doesn't mean that the label is over or we're not going to be making music anymore or that you won't see the whole roster on stage again. You may see us, it just won't be called the "Megashow" because of all the "Megashow" things involved in it.
Tonedeff: This being the last show isn't the end of the crew or the label, so to speak. We still have projects coming and everybody has plenty of records coming out. It's just this event in its current version, this has to be it. The last one was nuts and we thought "let's let 2011 be the last one," but we can't do a last one without giving people closure, so let's just say this is the last one so people from the past can come check it out. It's this carry-over from the underground days when everybody was playing basements, and we've evolved it and turned it into this big event. We've grown out of that stigma and we've grown as artist into a lot more than people would expect. Ending it allows us to do something new and bring something new to the table.
When putting together the first QN5 Megashow, was the intent to get the event to the point it's at now?
PackFM: The first one that we would consider a Megashow was CunningLynguists' first New York City appearance in the basement of the Knitting Factory. It was a show that Poison Pen threw, we took it as a family affair. It also coincided with the Rock Steady Anniversary, so what happened was the next year we [worked with them] and decided to do it again. We shared it with another label and their artists, but the amount of people who came out for QN5 was tremendous. We put out a bulletin that said if you're coming for QN5 to wear baby blue, and the whole crowd [was] baby blue. After that, we came up with the name "Megashow" and started doing it yearly.
Tonedeff: 2005 was really the first year we branded it as the "QN5 Megashow" and started toying with video, live instrumentation and back-up singers. It was a step up from rocking a basement.
Deacon the Villain: And that Knitting Factory basement was the single worst performance in the history of [CunningLynguists]. I didn't know you considered that the first Megashow because our performance was not "Mega." We were babies. We learned how to perform through the progression of QN5 Megashows and keeping up with those guys. Back then we just rapped to our feet.
PackFM: Even at Bowery Poetry Club, the idea was to make it not like any other show. We had video intros and glowsticks, the whole thing became a package. There's just so many things we tried to incorporate.
Deacon the Villain: We had a puppet show.
Tonedeff: There is no other hip-hop show where you'll get a puppet show, crowdsurfing and a conga line all in the same night.
Kokayi: It's production values. Turning to the QN5 camp, it's something that you would want to pay your money to go see. That's why people fly in. It's not just a hip-hop concert, I wouldn't classify it as that. It's an actual Mega-show.