Quincy Jones sounded off on the “haters” who didn’t like T-Pain’s remake of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).” But that wasn’t all he had to say. Rap-Up.com got a few more questions in with the legendary producer, whose star-studded tribute album Q: Soul Bossa Nostra is in stores now. The 27-time Grammy winner dished on meeting Amy Winehouse, Jennifer Hudson, his favorite rappers, what he thinks of Kanye West, and Taylor Swift’s blockbuster sales. Keep up with Mr. Jones below.
What did you think of Amy Winehouse’s cover of “It’s My Party”?
It’s Amy Winehouse [laughs and imitates her singing]. That’s her. And she hasn’t recorded in three or four years. She was very sweet. We did a concert for [Nelson] Mandela. It was his 90th birthday in London. I was going to introduce Leona Lewis and after I got backstage this man came over to me and said, “Would you say hello to my daughter?” and his daughter was Amy Winehouse. She knew all the records I’ve done with Dinah Washington back to when she was 24, her age. I was very impressed that she was so cognizant of what went on back then. There’s a sweet thing in there, with all the other stuff that’s happening, there’s a sort of sweetness and a smartness in her. I think it’s a very healthy association. I used to do it when I was young, with Duke Ellington and [Count] Basie and so forth, and it made sense. I was very flattered.
Will you be collaborating with her on her next album?
I don’t know. Right now I’ve got too much to do, it’s unbelievable. I’ve got movies and records for Stevie [Wonder] and Tony Bennett, so I got my hands full. I’m to the point where I just let go and let it happen. I’m enjoying what life is for: loving, living, laughing, and giving.
How did Jennifer Hudson end up singing “You Put a Move on My Heart”?
I called Jennifer Hudson [to send] my condolences when that tragedy happened to her in Chicago because I’m from Chicago and I know how they roll and she said, “I need to be on the album.” I said, “Jennifer, I’d never bother you on my life to do that under these kind of circumstances.” And she said, “Quincy, you don’t understand. I need to be on your album.” And she sang “You Put a Move on My Heart,” which was very, very loving.
As far as hip-hop artists go, who are you listening to?
A lot of them. It’s always something different, but I go straight through the whole thing from Melle Mel and Kool Moe Dee to Heavy D all the way up to T.I. and B.o.B. It keeps rollin’. That’s how jazz started.
What do you think of Kanye West?
Kanye is a good rapper. I wasn’t down with the Taylor Swift [incident at the VMAs], but shit happens [laughs]. Half of it is about being naughty. There’s a lot of psycho-drama going on. Before everybody’s record [release], they either get a DUI or go to jail or something [laughs]. It’s the new promotional system. It’s amazing. I’ve never seen that kind of interest in gossip before, but that’s part of the marketing system now.
Taylor Swift sold over a million albums in her first week.
God bless her. We’re looking at a record business with 95-99 percent piracy. So God bless her.