Baxter Q. Beckham Adding Flavor to Inspirational Rap Music.
Baxter Q. Beckham sat contently at a corner table towards the back of Dunkins (Donuts), which offers more privacy for someone who’s more inaudible, and the opposite of flashy. He glanced out the window a few times at the cars zooming up and down the down street, before giving me his undivided attention.
The 32-year-old was neither rushed nor perplexed during our sit down. This is the second time we’ve met within the last two years at the same location. The first time I met Beckham, we hobnobbed and talked about his awe-inspiring little brother, Chris Marquis, who needed media exposure for his inspirational music. Even then, the lyricist seemed modest and persuasive in getting recognition for Marquis, while never mentioning that he’s an artist, too. He didn’t capitalize on that moment. He waited with tenacious understanding that timing is everything.
Baxter Q. Beckham is songwriter, rapper, and manager behind the scenes. Atop of that, he works full-time, and he’s a family man.
Baxter Q Beckham is a native of Charlotte, NC. He grew up on the North West side of town, where it wasn’t rough, but it wasn’t all that great. His background is the same as Chris, which is a reflection of humble beginnings where Beckham along with his siblings, were raised by their grandparents. Their grandparents died. After that, the kids had to fend for themselves.
Beckham earned himself a football scholarship, but unfortunately, he picked up an armed robbery charge. Although it delayed him, that didn’t stop his aspirations. Beckham looked after his three younger brothers and sister, while carrying the patriarch torch. That’s the reason he sat on his talents. He saw the bigger picture that family comes first, and with that sacrifice, he’s currently reaping the rewards, because he finally released his music.
This is Beckham’s first sit-down in a long while where he’s given center stage to talk about himself, which was like pulling teeth. He’s not accustomed to having these types of conversations that give him authority to promote his work or brag, so the vibe was enriching and different. Instead of navigating or managing Chris, Beckham talked about his single, “I Surrender (featuring Stephanie Massey Streater),” a beautiful and melodic gospel/rap mantra about serving the Lord.
What have you been up to since the last time we spoke?
I’ve been working with Chris. I’ve gotten into acting. I don’t know if I got the part for this movie directed by Marcus Massey, but he’s shooting a film with Queen Latifah called the Syndicate. It’s about three rappers form Charlotte, who she brings together under one roof to put charlotte music on the map, because besides Da Baby, you haven’t heard people putting music out like that.
What inspired you to do the two singles?
I was inspired because I went to church—just being in church, and being around kids and the youth. My pastor has a youth service called, Young Men Arrived. It’s for troubled teens and troubled girls. When we’re talking to them about being in the streets, and disobeying their parents, that’s what motivated me.
If given a much larger platform, how would you use it to affect the teens?
I would keep the program going and put more positivity in it. I’m not saying its bad, but people rap about what they live. If they rap about selling drugs, then that’s what they do.
Do you think that kids are drawn to stereotype, and that they are immolating something that’s not real?
Yes, because my audience that I’m trying to get to is the thirteen to thirty-five-year-olds. You gotta have that kind of image. They don’t want to see Kirk Franklin.
Who’s helping you? If you’re the one that’s aiding Chris, who’s helping you get your foot in the door?
Nobody, really, as far as the music, but if we are talking about acting, my uncle Dwayne helps a lot. He’s done plays for the last thirty years.
You started out small and very low-key; and you say you want to be like Puff Daddy behind the scenes, how do you plan to do that and find a healthy balance?
As I said, I love music. They say that Puff Daddy was a producer but we know Mase was really doing that. However, that’s my goal, to be a behind the scenes songwriter or producer [that takes off], cause I love writing music. I can do any genre. I have pages of music at home, Country, Rap, R&B.
From your newest music, what do you think will be the best buzz single?
That song is called Been There.
If you could describe yourself to me, how would you do that?
I’m just a cool and laid back, dude. I’m big in the family and my kids. I’m big in helping others. I would rather help other people than shop. If people buy me a gift, I’m humbled. If I get money, I’ll give to the less fortunate or find some kid at the church that’s in need and help him cause I stay doing that with Chris. He has a thousand pairs of shoes. You have people that will kill for stuff like that.
What else do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy doing music.
What does generational wealth look like for you and your family? What does that mean to you?
I believe in financial literacy, savings, and life insurance. I just bought my second house.
What would you do if music wasn’t an option?
I’d want to be a real-estate broker.
What lessons have you learned as a businessperson and manger?
The lessons I learned is that you need to ask for a budget as far as management is concerned. I thought that you had set prices for shows and performances. We had one promoter that was ready to pay Chris ten-grand and I told him a lower price. When we got there, one of the guys told me that they were going to pay Chris more. That was a hard lesson.
Do you think your role would be easier as a manager if someone would’ve taught you? Did you reach out to anyone for guidance?
Absolutely—I reached out to King Cater, and he gave us a blueprint of how to do things.
Is it disappointing that you can’t go to many people for help or support, that’s on the music scene in Charlotte?
I think that everyone has an appointed time. The things you go through in life sets you up to be the person you’re going to be, so like us growing up with no parents and being in and out of group homes, Chris can sing about that and it brings out [that pain] in his music. Chris doesn’t want to sign a deal because he’s seen the fanbase when we go out to different areas. You’d think he was Michael Jackson or something, and then we come back here [Charlotte], and it’s dead.
What influenced your sound?
If you play a beat, I can catch a sound regardless. I wrote my first CD in sixth grade. It was the year 2000. I used to pass out my tape to the kids in school. I like old-school music like The Temptations and Smokey Robinson. My granddaddy had the whole collection where I would go and steal his tapes. That’s how I started learning to really write and conduct songs like R&B.
If your kids were to look online five years from now, and see your music, what would you want them to think about you?
I would want them to know that I was spreading a positive word. My kids are spoiled, with my dauther, I make her work for what she wants. I tell her to cut the grass, buy my wife doesn’t like that. She thinks that a man is supposed to do all that. I don’t want my daughter to think that she can get anything she wants. You have to work for it.
Do you think that your grandparents, and the way they raised you, has an influence on the way that you raise your children?
Yes. My granddad had everything because he worked. He had all the cars and everything. He told us that we can have whatever we want if we worked. I’ve had everything I’ve ever wanted in life except Rhianna.
So tell me more about your music.
When I first started out, I had a goal to get my first record deal. I almost signed with Grand Hustle Records but then they wouldn’t take the label that I was with in 2009. They had just signed B.O.B. I signed to another label for four years under a contract. I thought it was a good deal. I didn’t know I couldn’t jump to another label.
Everything you shot for, it was attainable and you succeeded. Do you make vision boards? Do you set goals for yourself? What is your goal in the next coming year?
I don’t make vision boards, but I write down my goals. I try to set goals every six months, and my goal within the next year is to land Chris in something major.