Dirt can definitely be a good thing. Grit, grime, whatever; this is what used to give hip-hop its flavor. This is what used to make hip-hop, hip-hop. It was the antithesis of the type of pristine, sterile, pre-packaged “rap” songs heard on the radio today. Quelle, who has produced for the likes of Danny Brown and Marv Won, knows that the stuff he puts out is dirty and is pretty damn happy with that. He should be too, because the stuff he puts out is really, really good. The Detroit native (who is also half of the group Crown Nation) has released The S.O.N. EP in anticipation of his full-length release (entitled Shotgun And Sleek Rifle) dropping November 15th. Clocking in at only 16 minutes, a project of such length would either have to be incredibly strong or incredibly different to work well. Fortunately for us, The S.O.N. is both.
From the very first minute of the intro, Quelle lets it be known that he does not take himself too seriously (even though he could if he really wanted to). Yet amidst this sense of humor, there are a lot of serious moments. The track “G.O.D. = POWER (the voice)” is simplistic on the surface but in reality, very poignant (especially after such an incident as the execution of Troy Davis). Riding on waves of crunchy synths, bass lines and drums, he touches on the rising epidemic of police operating criminally. Lines such as, “We be too cool, we gon’ lose!/Law man don’t follow the law, why should I?” let it be known in a crystal clear fashion how he feels about such incidents.
The great thing about Quelle is that he is incredibly unique both as a producer and an MC. Nine times out of ten, he raps outside of the pocket and it really pays off. Creating almost a second, completely different rhythm with his words to compliment the rhythm of the beat, he covers the most overly talked about and most under-talked-about subjects with equal amounts of fervor and cleverness. As heard on “SHITTING ON N****S (the move),” he exercises the incredible ability of maintaining mood while inspiring laughter; “Hit me with texts like, ‘Bro, you never answer your phone’/it’s ’cause you don’t ever talk about shit.” And whether discussing the woes of people trying to pay him in weed or erectile dysfunction in the presence of handsomely un-pretty women, one cannot help but be entertained and convinced by every word.
Perhaps the greatest moment of The S.O.N. EP is “RAP LIFE (the LIEfe).” A tongue-in-cheek satire of sorts, it pokes fun at not only most rap stereotypes, but at itself and in a way, the entire project. Who else does that? Who else could do that? While retaining the home-grown feel of the “demo” concept it opens up with, one can tell that Quelle has actually been at this music thing for a very long time. They say that the greatest hope and accomplishment any artist can have is to create something that sounds like it came from an earlier (and usually more desirable) era. Let us hope that his upcoming full-length release will sound, at least somewhat, similarly to The S.O.N. because for right now, this is a feat that he has undoubtedly managed to achieve.