Quelle Chris is a Detroit rapper, producer, and songwriter. Chris has released numerous projects in the past with 2011’s Shotgun & Sleek Rifle, 2013’s N***as Is Men, and 2017’s Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often. I first became aware of Chris’ music with the collaborative album that he did with Jean Grae called Everything’s Fine that I enjoyed quite a bit with the satirical themes, goofy vocals, and off-the-wall instrumentals. Before listening to the album I am about to talk about, I highly recommend listening to Everything’s Fine to get a feel for the sound that Chris is known for because Chris takes a completely different direction in terms of mood, sound, and vocals.
Guns is the 6th full-length studio album from Quelle Chris. Before the release of this project, there were three promotional singles released which were: “Guns”, “Straight Shot”, and “Obamacare”. All these tracks I highly enjoyed with the variety of instrumentals used in each. “Guns” at first sounds like it is going to be more on the soulful side, but then jumps immediately into this percussion-heavy beat that will sound awkward for some but I appreciate the uniqueness that Quelle Chris brings to the table. The track “Straight Shot” is my favorite on the album with Chris jumping on the soul side of the music spectrum. He kicks off the track by actually singing the main chorus, which leads into his verse. The song is followed by Bilal Salaam doing the chorus with verse features from Cavalier and James Acaster. The beautiful piano chords really carry the emotional weight of this song. As with the name of the album being Guns, this album has a gun theme, but Chris also examines the relationship that a less-fortunate community has with firearms and how words, fear, and the color of one’s skin are weaponized. He puts himself in the shoes of a person who has a connection with guns and gun violence on the tracks “Spray and Pray” and “Mind Ya Bidness”. Chris becomes that tough-talking “thug” that you would paint in your mind when you listen to these tracks. The production on the tracks “Wild Minks”, Box of Wheaties”, and “PSA Drugfest 2003” reflect the sound of ‘80s and early ‘90s hip-hop with the unconventional vocal samples and foggy drums.
For a while now, critics have referred to Quelle Chris’ music as being “weird” and “goofy” and that he is not taking the genre seriously with the vocals that you hear or the satirical songwriting. That all changes on this project. This is a very serious and dark project that talks about the devastation we see with all the mass shootings and the response to them. Gun violence is one of the biggest political talking points that we have today and Chris uses this theme to not only respond correctly to these tragic events but to reconcile our internal struggles and to come out with a strong sense of self.
Favorite tracks: “Spray and Pray”, “Guns”, “Mind Ya Bidness”, “Wild Minks”, “PSA Drugfest 2003”, “Straight Shot”, “Obamacare”, “You, Me & Nobody Else”, “Wyrm