How Oakland’s, DeQuan Smith became a ‘Scientist’ in ‘The Town’?

By: Sonny Pinkney

These days, when people hear about the City of Oakland—the first thing that enters someone’s mind is that’s the hometown of the reigning two-time defending NBA champion, Golden State Warriors. Which is headed by two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, and fellow ‘Splash Brother’ Klay Thompson along with back-to-back NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant; But, there’s more to this city than its sports franchises; Oakland, California a.k.a., “The Town” is the home of various talented individuals, whether it’s in sports, entertainment, activism and/or people associated within the community—we caught up one individual that hails from “The Town” he’s an entrepreneur, music producer, mentor and actor, his name, Qu Da Scientist.

Qu, whose real name is DeQuan Smith got his passion for music at an early age, when he observed his parents playing their favorite songs around the house; and Qu credits his older cousin who guided him; and was his mentor musically during his youth.

“He had started a group, and I saw that, and just fell in love with the creation of it. I was running back-and-forth to his house and mimicking what I seen him do; and going back home and try to emulate that.” Qu Da scientist explained.

The Oakland-native shared with, how he arrived at the moniker, “Qu Da Scientist” he says, it was due to his ability to learn and become more adapt with the studio equipment that he purchased.

Photo courtesy of QuDaScientistTV

“In my studio, I pretty much would buy everything that came out—my studio was looking like a music store at one point.  I had so much equipment, and it was always me hovering over the equipment, trying to figure it out [and] learn it—like a scientist.” Smith admits.  He added: “A friend of mines said:” ‘You don’t even read the manual, you [Dequan] just dig right into the equipment and figure it out, like a scientist, and it stuck.’ Smith shared.

As a person that’s firmly entrenched in the music scene, Smith surmises that it’s not challenging for producers nowadays to create beats—unlike his beat-making predecessors of yesteryear, who didn’t have the technological advantages of today at their disposal. In Smith’s opinion, when it pertains to producing a beat, one must demonstrate some creativity when crafting a sound.

“It’s how far your imagination can go.  Everything you hear came from somebody’s mind—it was imagination, so depending on how far you can stretch your imagination, that can be the complexity of the beat or the ease of the beat…you definitely have to have an imagination to be creative.” Smith said.

During the interview, we posed an insightful question to Qu Da Scientist–which was, What advice would you give to aspiring artists, when it relates to beat-making and producing?

“Keep working at it every day, [you] got to work at it every day—that’s the only way you’re going to get familiar with something…know your product, know what’s in front of you.” Smith advised.

Qu Da Scientist, who owns Rally Cap Music Productions revealed only to that—his love of the music, is what drove him to pursue a career in music.

“I wanted to do it to be creative, I think being creative is like an outlet—a lot of us need an outlet. And that was my outlet.” Smith replied.

Just like millions across the globe, Quan, grew up listening to rap artists like—Jay-Z, Scarface, Ice Cube, Biggie and Tupac and countless others—Quan explained, he deems some artists in this current era are more concerned with the financial and commercial benefits when it pertains to their career.

“They’re coming from a different time—where that’s more important. When, back then it was more about delivering a message—it was more about being creative.” Smith said.

Photo courtesy of Topper Clothing Brand, LLC.

Smith, is more than, just a musician, he’s also an entrepreneur who owns the clothing line, called “Topper Clothing Brand”, which is the sponsor of the Oakland Townhawks basketball team (ABA) of the American Basketball Association—Quan arrived at the concept of his clothing company while working on a project at the studio.

“The meaning of Topper [Clothing Brand] is we can’t worry about the things we can’t control. So, that’s something that I’ve always lived by. I’ve learned as I grew up that a lot of stuff that goes on in your life is out of your control.” Smith thinks.

Topper Clothing Brand sells hats, hoodies, t-shirts, socks, pillows and blankets for both men and women, which can be purchased online at:

The Oakland Town hawks are a traveling team that plays their games at Laney College in Oakland. With the impending departure of the Warriors, who are re-locating to San Francisco to play in the brand new, Chase Center for the 2019-2020 season. The Town hawks will be the marquee basketball squad in the city of Oakland.

Photo courtesy of Oakland TownHawks.

“It’s bittersweet you don’t want to see them go [Golden State Warriors] because of the history. Oakland built that team, we know that team was built in Oakland—at that [Oracle] arena. We know the history…It was a business decision.” Smith expressed.

Lastly, DeQuan is a triple threat, along with being an actor, music producer—he’s written scores for both television and movies and he discussed the differences between producing a track for an album—compared to composing a sound, for visual purposes.

“With TV and Film, it’s a visual behind it—so, you kind of get a sense of what direction to go in. When you’re in the studio creating music for an artist, really the only thing you have to go on is, what kind of artist that person is.”  Qu Da Scientist explained.

“When you’re doing stuff for TV and Film, its more of a visual because you’re looking at scenes and then you’re coming up with pieces of music to give to that scene. So, if it’s a chase scene, you know what direction to go, musically. You’re giving it a fast-paced sound.”

Smith, has appeared in short films and his most recent role, was in the independent film titled “Scraper Boys” in which he portrayed a detective; he also played a college student in film career. At the present moment, DeQuan wants to challenge himself by taking on different roles—while not being pigeonholed.

“I definitely didn’t want to be typecasted, I’ve seen people get stuck in that career being type casted; and it may work for some. I judge actors by their acting range.”  Smith said.