Showing posts with label quelle chris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quelle chris. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2019

video review: 'guns' by quelle chris

So unsurprisingly this is pretty great - in fact I'd argue it's more accessible than ever- but it is a later review than I'd prefer. Apologies for Quelle Chris for the delay - the day he dropped the competition was nightmarish and I still haven't gotten to billy woods (it's coming, I swear).

But next up... not sure, we'll have to see - stay tuned!

album review: 'guns' by quelle chris

Yeah, I'm a little late to the punch with this one.

But in all due fairness, due to the density you find on Quelle Chris albums, that does make a certain amount of sense, even if they might be excellent from top to bottom. And given how much he's just been on a tear the past few years - with my first proper introduction coming in 2017 with my review of Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often and then his fantastic follow-up last year with Everything's Fine with Jean Grae - I really wanted to ensure I gave this my full consideration. In this case probably more than ever, as this seemed to be a very in-house operation: writing, production, album art, animating the music videos, and surging into a loaded, fractured picture of society's relationship with guns and who might be truly culpable in the usage of such a weapon, the person or the tool. Heavy stuff, especially given the critical acclaim he's received from both me and a ton of other critics, which set a pretty damn high bar... so what did we get from Guns?

Sunday, January 6, 2019

the top 25 best albums of 2018 (VIDEO)

And that's the last of year-end list promotion...whew.

Next up... honestly, no idea, we'll see - stay tuned!

the top 25 best albums of 2018

Normally this is the list that feels like the greatest relief to make - it's the final moment where we can lay a year to rest chronicling the best of the best, the sort of release that comes with it being the last list but also one that feels the most professional, for lack of better words. I'm having fun with the lists of the best and worst hits, I'm getting more personal with the overall songs list - this list for critics is staking claim, drawing our lines in the sand, and as such, it's normally the most professionally rewarding.

But I have to say, in comparison to previous years, this list was not that hard to make. Even though I covered far more albums in 2018 than ever before, it felt like I hit greatness less often on average. Which is probably not completely true, but it sure as hell feels like it, especially given that the cuts weren't that painful this year, or it certainly seemed like there was less of them to make. And while I don't do an Honourable Mentions segment for this list, I will say I'm a little regretful that I have to leave Rolo Tomassi and Against All Logic off this list, and I'm sure I'm going to surprise some folks by saying that Beach House and Kacey Musgraves also missed the cut - sorry, but especially in country, Kacey had stiffer competition. But really, if we're to highlight a genre that turned out in spades in 2018, it was hip-hop - and no jokes here, this is more hip-hop on this albums list than I think there has ever been before... which yes, means that there were two painful cuts in the form of Marlowe and Armand Hammer. But you know, let's start off with hip-hop here...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2018

There are years where I struggle with this midyear list, sometimes in years overloaded with quality that force me to make some painful cuts, or years that are a little more scant I'm stuck with what seems like a smaller list... and still have to make painful cuts. 

And thus it feels odd that building this 2018 midyear list is perhaps one of the easiest I've ever assembled, and since I'm not about to assume I'm getting good at this, I'm genuinely curious why that might be. I will say that outside of hip-hop, other genres don't seem to be having an exceptionally strong year - great albums in rock and country and metal but few that really went over the top in terms of quality, and I'd argue pop has had it even worse. But more than that, even the records that just missed the cut - Beach House, Iceage, Parquet Courts, Against All Logic, and especially Phonte - while they were truly terrific releases, I'm not precisely torn up that they had to miss the cut, as they all have a considerable shot for the year-end as my tastes evolve and change. 

So given that this is my fifth list like this, you know the rules: the albums and songs have to have been reviewed in 2018, and while I'm fairly certain you'll all know what's going to top this list, I'll add that there are songs from The Trailing Edge that have a chance to wind up in the individual songs, because there really were some incredible cuts there. So let's not waste any time and start with...

Thursday, April 5, 2018

video review: 'everything's fine' by jean grae & quelle chris

It's a very nice pleasant surprise when you post a very positive review... and then realize that everyone else loves it too! Awesome, because this record will get slept on by entirely too many people, and is a ton of fun.

Next up, some old business before I deal with the avalanche of new releases, so stay tuned!

album review: 'everything's fine' by jean grae & quelle chris

It is very rare when I find a record I can approach for review in so many different ways, but here we are. I could talk about how we've had a pretty damn strong first quarter of 2018 when it comes to underground hip-hop. I could talk about the strong undercurrents of political relevance that are reinvigorated and increasingly refined in this scene thanks much of the nonsense associated with the current U.S. government and a social conscience that seems to at least be getting some critical respect these days. 

Or I could talk about the artists themselves, both underground veterans but for very different reasons, Jean Grae for her critically acclaimed work with 9th Wonder throughout the 2000s spawning a fair few great records, Quelle Chris for his slightly more inconsistent but no less compelling set of work as a rapper and producer, much of which led to his record I reviewed and praised heavily last year Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often. I could talk about their distinctive sensibilities being a fascinating match for each other, or how, when you think about it, I'm not sure I could think of a husband and wife hip-hop duo ever delivering a project together in the history of the genre. Yes, there's Cardi B and Offset's collaborative songs, but they don't remotely feel the same, they're not yet married, I doubt they'll make a project together, and none of that seems like it's going to last. With Jean Grae and Quelle Chris it seems tangible and real, and I was absolutely fascinated how they'd work together on this project, called Everything's Fine - which just by that lets you know it's not going to shy away from the socio-political undercurrents right now and just getting by in these turbulent times. So yeah, I definitely see the appeal and I had a lot of high expectations: what did we find on Everything's Fine?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

video review: 'being you is great, i wish i could be you more often' by quelle chris

Man, it took way too long for me to get to this, but I'm so happy I did. Such a great, chill, surprisingly fascinating record that really took a lot to decode.

Next up, though... whoo boy, stay tuned!

album review: 'being you is great, i wish i could be you more often' by quelle chris

So I've said in the past that there are a few hip-hop indie labels where it's always a good idea to keep an eye on new releases. Top Dawg Entertainment is one, Strange Famous is another, and while it's a lot smaller and pretty much just for the collective I still dig Doomtree Records. Hell, I'll take Rhymesayers and Stones Throw in a pinch too - but the label I want to talk about here is Mello Music Group. If you know the name it's probably most for Oddisee or Open Mike Eagle, but all sorts of progressive, forward-thinking rap artists have worked with them in the past, and I've been generally pretty impressed.

Now one of the names there that drew some curiosity from me was Quelle Chris, a Detroit rapper and producer who is known to work with Roc Marciano for some harsher yet still thought-provoking and witty hip-hop. Now I'm normally a bit cautious when I dig into rappers affiliated with Roc Marciano, especially if they mimic his delivery - that sort of slow, deliberate delivery can have mixed results for me - but Quelle Chris thankfully was able to switch things up with more intricate and interesting samples - hell, his instrumental project Lullabies For the Broken Brain definitely deserves more attention, I really love some of the sample blends there - and a great sense of relaxed cool humor, most of which seemed to be used to obscure greater existential panics. And while I wasn't exactly wild about his more melancholic tones on Innocent Country, after his newest record began picking up some considerable critical acclaim, I figured I'd dig in, especially given that hip-hop feels like it's been off to a really slow start in 2017. So what did we get with Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often?