Local rapper Quanie Cash is the poster child for the hood and the real. He’s been doing his part to shatter stereotypes for years and he accomplished that again when he graduated this month from Trevecca Nazarene University with his Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA). “Why can’t a rapper have a degree?”
Cash grew up in the Bottom East, and like it’s name suggest it was not very pleasant. In the mid ‘90s he started a record label named Loyalty and Respect where he produced a rap group called “The Ghetto Soldiers.” Cash had no interest in rapping under the label. That was until they “got me on a few songs”, Quanie said. Something like a Nashville version of Eazy E, Cash then began making his own songs.
He makes it clear that music is very important to him. “My music tells stories.” His song “Cashville Dedication” was a tribute to those who have passed away in Nashville, and became very popular because in it he mentioned as many lost souls as he could by name.
But he doesn’t just stop at the music; Cash is a man of many talents. His 2006 film, Loyalty and Respect got national and international recognition after being in the New York Independent film festival. The film, which Cash wrote, produced and directed, was picked up by Warner Home Video and shown in 4 different languages. He also has a clothing line with the same name.
Quanie is doing his part in giving back to the community and instilling in the youth as well. Cash visits high schools, churches, and youth centers, everywhere he can, to talk to kids and tell them his story. Especially those who know the hard truths of what it’s like to grow up in a bad neighborhood.
Quanie Cash believes the key to helping kids realize their worth is talking to them early. He didn’t have someone in his life to encourage him and show him there was more to life.
“The youth need to know there’s another way. I didn’t know there were other ways,” said Cash.
He just wants to get the message across to the Black youth that they CAN. They can get out the hood, they can go to college, and they can be successful. He even awarded a “Loyalty and Respect” scholarship to a female who lost her father to violence at a young age.
So how does Quanie feel about most rappers in today’s generation?
“They portray images that are not them. My mission is like to break barriers, do stuff they said we couldn’t do,” Quanie continued, “I owe it to the streets.”
No doubt that the degree means a lot to him, but it also means a lot to people who know him, grew up with him and look up to him. Cash is definitely an example of what it means to not be a product of your environment and fighting against all odds to be the best person you can be. I am definitely looking forward to what else he has in store because I have no doubt that this is not the end. And until then maybe a Loyalty and Respect Part 2?