There are rap dads and then there are rap dads who have rap kids. Where fatherhood presents its own set of challenges, adding in the roles of manager and creative director could easily ruin a father’s relationship with his children.
For Queens OG Consequence, the key to this balancing act is to remember that he is a dad first, and any creative or business decisions made must come second to his son's comfort.
Caiden, Cons’ six-year-old son, began rapping at three years old, which is not surprising considering Consequence would a cappella rap him to sleep every night in place of singing standard lullabies. His son’s natural affinity for hip-hop, Cons tells me, has been the best surprise during his tenure as a father.
“I never set out to train him in rap,” Consequence explains. “He took to it on his own, I guess, emulating me and then it became something that he naturally does. He naturally can rap. Every dad wants their kid to walk in their shoes, but I had no idea he would start doing that at like three.”
Caiden first got into rapping during a studio session he attended with his dad and Q-Tip. “One day, he was like, ‘Yo, daddy, I wanna do that bar!’” Cons recalls gleefully. “So I put the headphones on him and he started doing it. We were at Q-Tip’s studio, and Q-Tip was joking with him that he wanted him to do a drop. Then he did clean drops. After that, it was just like, I took him to the studio and we worked on a record. I had a record called ‘That Dude’ on my EP A Good Comeback Story, and that was the first record he did.”
Consequence’s hands-off but supportive energy is likely why Caiden loves making music with his father. “I never want him to feel he’s forced to do something,” Cons assures me, “but whatever he’s into, I try to facilitate it as much as possible.”
“I always have to be dad first,” he adds. “There’s times where maybe we’re recording, and if he gets stuck or anything we just wrap it up and go play video games [laughs]. It’s a unique situation because when you got most kids who have talent, a lot of parents make it an issue that they gotta earn money. With me, it’s not really that. I just wanna see him be the best he can be.”
While parenting techniques differ from one family to the next, Consequence's stress-free approach to creation with Caiden is more the exception than the rule. Throughout history, we’ve seen countless instances of child stars being overworked and broken down by parent-managers and a vulture-like industry. Anytime a young artist, famous parents or otherwise, steps into the spotlight, questions of exploitation tend to rise to the surface.
Where certain parents may push a child past their limit or have them operate beyond their coping skills, Consequence sits comfortably on the opposite side of the spectrum: “At any given moment, if he’s uncomfortable, everything stops, because that’s number one.”
In centering Caiden’s happiness, making music together has opened Consequence’s eyes to a whole new range of records and soundscapes. “I can’t have a ‘This is the only way music is supposed to be’ type of attitude,” he explains. “For me, his innocence helps [him] enjoy music more.”
Producing for Caiden has also made Cons a sharper musician, as he has to balance making beats with wide appeal and, as he tells me, “having to make something that’s Disney or damn near. It’s quite a Rubix cube [laughs].”
The joy in Cons’ voice suggests fatherhood has only had a positive effect on his workflow. He believes it’s a myth that being a parent somehow siphons creativity. If anything, he attests, it’s given him more of a musical palette and appreciation for hip-hop.
Before Caiden, Cons considered himself single in his thought process since he wasn't primarily responsible for another life. “[Fatherhood] makes you a little more conscious of what you’re saying and how you’re saying it,” he tells me.
As for the potential of a father-son collab album, Cons says there are no definite plans in the works, but the unknown excites him. “I think there’s been chronological elements to my career that people have seen,” he breaks down. “The Cons and Caiden element is a new element.”
“The future could [hold] anything,” Cons admits. “As long as it’s positive for him, I’m good with it.”