"Ali was playing football at a junior college in LA and Q was on the team," Punch explains during this week's episode of Complex's Blueprint series. "So, after practice, Ali would come in mixing and Q would come with him. I didn't even know he rapped. I don't think nobody did. He was just a cool cat—quiet, hanging in the back."
Punch remembers that the moment Q first impressed him as a rapper was over a horrible beat made out of gun sounds.
"One day, he had this verse on the wackest beat I'd ever heard in my life," Punch laughs. "Like, the beat was made out of gun sounds. But he was spittin' on it. So, I was like, 'Yo, this is kinda crazy.' So I just told him to keep coming and keep rapping if [he] wanted to try and pursue it."
Punch had other surprising stories from those early days of TDE, as well, explaining that Jay Rock's signing was a fluke that happened when another rapper got impatient and left before a meeting.
"[Jay Rock’s signing] happened on accident," Punch said. "It was another guy from our neighborhood who was coming over recording. One day, Top was going to pick him up and he asked Top if he could bring Jay Rock and another guy. So Top was like, 'Cool, wait for me on this street, I'll be there to pick y'all up.' When Top gives you a time, it's like the cable man, it's like a good four-hour window. The artist, the kid who was coming, he got impatient and he left. The other two—Jay Rock and the other guy—was like 'Alright, we gon' stay then.' As soon as he left, maybe twenty minutes later, Top pulled up."
You can watch the full episode of Blueprint below, in which Punch also discusses his early days with Kendrick Lamar and working through a rocky relationship with SZA.