Quelle Chris

Being You Is Great! I Wish I Could Be You More Often

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Detroit-based MC Quelle Chris has a loose, conversational rapping style that fits the lo-fi, sluggish beats he often rhymes over. As casual as he sounds, however, he's extraordinarily self-aware. On albums such as Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often, he vacillates between self-loving and self-loathing, usually from track to track. Overall, the message seems to be one of self-acceptance, even as he recognizes his faults and shortcomings. On "Buddies," he declares that he's in love with himself and that he's easily his favorite MC, yet he's so calm and unhurried that he doesn't sound like he's bragging. On the following song "Popeye," however, while only slightly changing the tone of his voice, he addresses his failures, proclaiming "I never reach the goal but always reach the finish." Still, he's getting by, and his sharp, self-deprecating sense of humor serves his rambling narratives well. For every self-congratulatory, good-vibe track like "BS Vibes," there's a biting (yet still darkly funny) self-deprecating song like "Dumb for Brains." Numerous guests appear throughout, either as producers or vocalists. "Calm Before" features a spirited verse by Cavalier and a too-brief Suzi Analogue cameo. Jean Grae nearly steals the show with her brutal two-minute guest verse during "The Prestige." Denmark Vessey pops up several times, and fellow Detroiters Big Tone, eLZhi, and House Shoes make significant contributions as well. The Alchemist-produced final tune "Pendulum Swing" seems to sum up the album's mood-shifting theme, and Homeboy Sandman couldn't be a more appropriate guest; his flow and subject matter are so similar to Chris' that he blends in perfectly, and might even be missed unless you're paying close attention. On "Birthdaze," Chris doubts his own talents ("they say 'well you got a gift,' I say 'well here, you take it'"), but Swarvy's gloriously woozy production helps the sarcasm and hopelessness go down easily. "Learn to Love Hate," which features Quasimoto-like high-pitched vocals and paranoid whispering, is much darker and grittier. Being You Is Great is an uneasy but truth-filled album of reflections and observations which should be easily relatable to moody, reserved types.

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