Quincy Jones isn't easily impressed.
While he recognizes new talent, Jones doesn't think today's crop of superstars measures up to the legends he worked with in his heyday.
"I come from another school, man," Jones told BET.com. "All the way back to Billie Holiday, Ella [Fitzgerald] and Sarah [Vaughan], Ray Charles, Aretha [Franklin], [Frank] Sinatra, Michael Jackson, so it’s a whole 'nother thing. When you hit that, man, you don’t know where to go."
The legendary music man, who is currently promoting "Q: Soul Bossa Nostra," a compilation featuring Timbaland, Usher, Amy Winehouse, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend and LL Cool J, continued, "You can’t jump past Ella, but there are some talented people out there; Jennifer Hudson and Mary J., there are some great ladies out there. [There are some] great people out there and I’m aware of the ones that are, Brian McKnight, Akon, a lot of people, man. They’re very talented."
To let Q tell it, contemporary artists may be falling short of their predecessors because they're on a different mission.
"We came up in another kind of environment where all we cared about was just being a good musician. We didn’t care about money or fame," Jones explained. "That never crossed our mind. I’m talking about the '40s and '50s, you know? We just wanted to be good."
When asked his thoughts on Kanye West, an artist who has made good music his priority above all, Jones shared a few words of wisdom.
"He’s [Kanye] good and all," Jones offered. "I think everybody gets to be... sometimes are a little bit too wrapped up in themselves. I think the rules are... have humility with your creativity and grace with your success. That’s the best way God planned it, you know? I think we’re all terminals for a higher power and it’s not all about us."
"Q: Soul Bossa Nostra" hits stores November 9.