Real Name: Terrance Jermaine Quaites
Nicknames: TQ The Trojan, Squeeze, T-Keezy
Birth Date: May 24th, 1976
Birth Place: Mobile, Alabama
Hometowns: Atlanta, GA / Compton, CA
Parents: Skip & Thelda Quaites
Favorite perfume on a girl: Issiye Miyake
Favorite Car: Lexus SC 400
Favorite Movies: Godfather 1-3
Favorite Song: Purple Rain
Favorite Singers: Prince, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye & Mary J. Blige
Favorite Rapper: Tupac
Favorite Football Team: 49ers
Favorite Basketball Team: The Lakers
The artist known as TQ was born Terrance Quaites in Mobile, Alabama. Shortly thereafter, TQ's family moved to Compton, California, the birthplace of N.W.A. and other rap legends. TQ was raised in the church (he sang in the choir) but his real education came from the streets, where the first wave of hip-hop music became the soundtrack to his life. "From Monday to Saturday I was hangin', partyin', chasing girls, getting in trouble, and straight-up acting the fool," he admits. "But on Sunday my mother dragged me out of bed to go to church. That's where I developed my singing voice and learned how to make people feel me."
TQ was never a thug in the true sense of the word: His hard-working parents instilled positive values in him, and didn't hesitate to set him straight when he was wrong. At 16, when his mom found a gun in his room, she sent the teenager to live with an aunt in Atlanta. In retrospect, says TQ, "sending me down South saved my life. It made me straighten up—for awhile, anyway."
These conflicting circumstances honed TQ's survival instincts and his passion for music. "The little money I had to buy records was spent on rap," he notes. "See, I really wasn't much into my generation's r&b. I listened more to the old-school soul that my parents had in the house. So my music now is more a combination of that and hard-core hip-hop."
After working as an intern at A&M Records, TQ was tapped as the lead singer in a group called Coming of Age. In 1993, the group scored a Top 40 R&B hit with "Coming Home To Love" (Zoo Entertainment). TQ left the group in search of a solo career and landed a deal at Atlantic. But he says the label asked him to water-down his lyrics, and no album was ever issued.
TQ knows that the lyrical content of They Never Saw Me Coming was certain to spark controversy. But he refuses to acquiesce, believing that honesty, talent, and freedom of expression are on his side. "Like protons and neutrons," he theorizes, "life is about positives and negatives, little pluses and minuses. If you cover up the minuses then the pluses don't mean shit. That's why I'll never sugar-coat my lyrics to keep a record deal or to satisfy anybody else's view of what my music should be."