Quelle Chris: 'I like hip hop served cold, with no sugar'
- Stewart Smith
- 15 April 2020
credit: Ahmed Arasah
Producer and rapper's follow-up to last year's Guns features guest spots from Earl Sweatshirt, Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus and more
'I bring so many different flavours, that I think it behoves you to go into it open minded.' In conversation, Quelle Chris is as witty and imaginative as his music suggests. Raised in Detroit and currently residing in Brooklyn, the rapper-producer has released a steady stream of underground gems over the past decade, including last year's Guns, and 2018's Everything's Fine, an inspired collaboration with wife Jean Grae. With his upcoming UK shows postponed, Quelle is keeping fans entertained with a freshly minted album in the bag.
Like 2015's Innocent Country, Innocent Country 2 is a full collaboration with Chris Keys, the maestro behind the nagging piano hook and drums of Guns highlight 'Obamacare'. The album is the result of 'very friendly arguments' between the pair. 'We disagree musically on lots of stuff, which is dope, you know what I mean? I like to use shit that he hates, haha, and he likes to hate shit that I use. So it works out beautifully.'
Their method, as Quelle explains, is to start small. 'Chris has a way of sending me like two seconds of a piano riff and we'll start from there. I'll go, "oh man that shit's ice cold!" He's like, "that was supposed to be an interlude." I'm like, "no, now it's a song!" I'll start writing some, we'll build on it. We keep adding putty until it feels right.'
Thematically, Innocent Country 2 builds on the concerns of Innocent Country. 'It was like, as much as we try, at our core, we're all fucked up. This one is more along the lines of, yeah it's fucked up, but we can handle it. Here's a blanket and shield and possibly a sword to carry along the way.'
Live, Quelle keeps it simple. 'I'm a two turntable and a mic type guy. It's my favourite way to get down. I enjoy rockin' with bands as well, but yeah, I like hip hop served cold, with no sugar and all that. I like it old. As far as what to expect from the show, I will say this, I've yet to do a show where I haven't had people come up to me and in so many or less words, tell me it was the best show they've ever seen. And I'm not shitting you. We out here to have a good time!'
Innocent Country 2 is out Fri 24 Apr on Mello Music Group.