Top Quality

My Dudes, Stan Ipcus


Top Quality (also known around the way as TQ), was the first rapper to ever come out of White Plains and get a major label record deal.  We used to see him at Kennedy Fried Chicken from time to time back in my high school days, but I never knew him personally until a few years ago.  He was down with PMD (of EPMD), and had basically one hit, “Magnum Opus”.  It was a cool track, and though it never really got that big he was kind of a living legend to those of us in WP who were into the hip hop scene.  He was the guy from our city who made it.  I still remember reading his album review in The Source (peep him in the mag’s Unsigned Hype column below).  Check out the video for “Magnum Opus”…

When I returned to White Plains after being down in Maryland/DC for seven years (working and going to college), I linked up with DJ Destro, a local disc jockey with big dreads and heavy skills on the turntables who lived a few blocks away from me.  I was doing lots of shows in NYC and Westchester at the time, and Destro would DJ for me.  We became friends through working together at a local after school program at Highlands Middle School in White Plains (I was the Director and he taught a DJ’ing workshop).  Destro was Top Quality’s cousin, and also the producer of “Magnum Opus” and a bunch of other songs on TQ’s album.  He was a White Plains hip hop legend in his own right (he’s a few years older than me) and we had a blast doing shows, working together, and just hanging out and building about music.  Check out this video of Des and I performing a MC/DJ routine we made a regular part of our set called “Boom Bip”.  Peep what he does with the A Tribe Called Quest record, it’s ill.  Live from CBGB’s…

One night TQ was in town (he lives in Ohio I think now) and him and Des came over to my crib, and we chilled the whole night, getting twisted and playing music and exchanging freestyles and writtens.  It was a thrill for me, to not only share a moment in time like that with a guy I used to look up to as a kid, but also to get so much respect from him in return.  It sounds corny, but I think that respect from older dudes I grew up with in White Plains is more important to me than anything else I could get back from making music.

(click article to enlarge)

I am the proud owner of Top Quality’s album Magnum Opus, and feel blessed to be connected to the hip hop greats of my hometown (what up Lord Judah).  With Matisyahu bigger than ever, I wonder who will be next to come out of WP and make it big?  As someone who still works closely with the youth, I can vouch that there’s alot of talent in White Plains.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  For now, let’s reminisce a little more with Top Quality’s second single and video “What” featuring Third Eye .  This is that hardcore 90’s scully cap rap…

Stay tuned for my next month’s installment of 90’s Grab Bag, it’s gonna be a doozy.  Fall back Dirty Jax!!!

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