Listening to music is a strenuous activity for Quentin Coleman, so the 28-year-old Vallejo, California native takes all precautions in his preparation for a listening session. “Here’s what I normally do, I go out, and take a sh*t, ” he told me over the phone in a recent interview. “Then stretch of course, because I’m getting older and I can’t be pulling no sh*t, you feel me?” he continued with a burst of laughter.
That’s Quentin in a nutshell: Hilarious, vulgar, painfully honest, enthusiastic and unafraid to be himself. He’s attained a certain level of online fame as BigQuint, a Youtuber with over 301,000 subscribers and more than 36 million views, revered for his first reaction videos to all of the latest and greatest albums and songs from the world of hip-hop and R&B. His videos have gotten the attention of the likes of Aziz Ansari, Top Dawg from TDE and one of his favorite artists, The Weeknd.
“My goal was to simply just, get my reaction out there,” he said of the inception of the concept that brought him so much prominence online. The approach is simple, Quint presses play on a new song or album and records his immediate, in-the-moment reaction — and hilarity ensues. Those reactions are usually outlandish, fun and humorous, full of gyrating, bouncing around the room and on his chair so hard they sometimes break, like his new chair did when he heard Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” for the first time, to Top Dawg’s delight.
Quint’s expressive face, and his surprisingly smooth dance moves for a big fella burst his emotions and exuberance onto the screen, as do his yelps and vulgar outbursts. Quint initially bleeped out the curse words in his earlier videos, a practice that didn’t last long, so now each video comes with a warning beforehand to let “all the virgin ears out there” know the language will be strong.
While there are harsher and more stringent critics on Youtube, Quint serves as more of an enthusiast than a pundit. “I’m a mixture of a fan, a critic and an entertainer,” he said. “That’s who I am, that’s what I look at myself as.” While he does offer analysis and more traditional reviews at times, what you get in Quint’s videos is mostly him just enjoying music for all its worth, which is, oddly enough, the main criticism that has been lobbied his way: He’s too nice and joyful.
That’s by design, as he doesn’t want to tear artists down “I don’t like (being overly negative) to artists because I do respect artists and I do respect their work and what they do, so I like to let them down lightly,” he said of straying away from negative reviews or responses to new music. “People take time out of their days (to create music) and this is their livelihood so I like to give respect.”
So, instead, Quint choses to spread positivity on his channel and to the world. “I like to be honest,” Quint said. “There are some albums that I don’t like, but I usually like to go towards albums that I would like genuinely.” Ultimately, all of his joy also serves a bigger purpose, not only for himself but for his viewers as well. “Music is my passion, so me listening to good music is working for me as a release,” he said. “If I can give out that same energy and that same enthusiasm and that touches somebody else, that’s what I’m doing it for. If I feel happy, I want you to feel happy. I don’t expect people to agree with everything I put out, or my opinion every time, but the ones that do, that’s who I do it for.”
It’s worked for Quint, and brightened the days of his viewers and his infectious energy has spread throughout his fanbase. “People were giving me comments about a lot of people going through depression and how watching one of my videos made them immediately happy or their day was better, that’s when this sh*t started getting serious,” he exclaimed excitedly. Then, he took on the mission with a sense of responsibility. “I started taking it more serious. That’s when I realized this was something I could really start doing. It’s still building and growing today.”
In the earliest days of the channel, Quint’s videos were rudimentary and almost crude productions, lo-fi, dark and clearly amateur. When it was time to upgrade and revamp the whole process, he reached out to those same fans who’s days he’d warmed, asking for help, and what he got exceeded what he’d expected. A crowdsourcing effort landed Quint a new camera, mic, some new lighting and even some trinkets for his backdrop, including a Michael Jackson Thriller record, and of course, The Weeknd’s House Of Balloons, framed.
Now, as Youtube undergoes changes that have forced even their biggest users to reconfigure their channels to continue to lucratively create content, Quint is making some changes as well, and leaning on the community that his joy has created to kickstart the next phase of his online empire. He’s created a Patreon, a site that allows content creators to deliver their content to their fans directly, in an interactive experience that also serves as a crowdsourcing opportunity.
“I am looking to expand,” he said. “I want to start a Twitch channel, which is going to kind of be like a podcast. I want to create a place to talk about some new artists or drama or whatever. I would love to do that.” Hundreds have donated so far and sent him comments like “Your videos always manage to lift me up and checking your reaction has become part of the experience when a new album drops.” And: “You never fail to put a smile on my face, but it can also get deep as well. Provides some really strong catharsis!” With as passionate as his fanbase has been in the past, and as much as it continues to grow, more are probably on the way.
Quint hopes to secure enough funding to be able to create videos full time, and then expand his coverage with the extra time that opportunity would afford him. “When I can do this full time, I can cover smaller artists, I have a bunch of people on a regular basis throwing me music so I can cover their shit, and I want to, but it’s all about time,” he said. “I’ve got to cover these big-name artists, then I have a job on the other side, so it’s one of those things, and I’ve got to do what I can at the moment.”
He has plans, including merchandise and branching off onto other topics as he looks to continue to grow. But even though he’s getting bigger by the day, Quint isn’t forgetting the viewers that made him famous and have expanded his reach beyond his wildest dreams. “(I’m going to) keep doing what I’m doing, make sure the fans and subscribers are happy,” he said of the future. “Hopefully some great projects come out and I cover them, and hopefully ya’ll agree with what I’m talking about.”
His reactions have been chopped into gifs that serve as avatars of euphoria for social media users, and brought joy to viewers around the world, and all of that is not lost on Quint as he enjoys the ride. “It’s f*cking hilarious,” he said of seeing his own face and reactions become people’s go-to replies online.
And while he spreads that joy to the world, Quint is enjoying being that beacon of exuberance. “When I was in high school, people would’ve never seen this happen, because I was a laid-back dude and I’m still a laid-back dude today,” he recalled. “But I do have that goofy side, and just being able to share that goofy side with everybody else is hilarious to me. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a beautiful thing to be like that, it’s really beautiful.”
So Quint will continue reacting to new music, bouncing around his office, breaking and humping chairs, scrunching his face, screaming, giggling, sweating profusely and stretching, whether people like it or not.
“I get a lot of people saying I’m fake, that I do this and it’s all an act,” Quint said. “It’s not an act, dead ass serious. I know it’s hard to believe but it is, that’s what (this channel) is built on, me being 100% genuine, so I haven’t stopped doing that and I’m going to keep doing that. I assure anybody that asks me that, it’s 100 % real, this is my reaction, this is what I do. I’m just a goofy mothaf*cker, deal with it, like it or love it, hate it, it’s all up to you.”