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Album Review

The second installment in Qwel's four seasons album series sees the Chicago MC tackling societal ills over producer Meaty Ogre's bleary noir soundscapes. Freezer Burner is an appropriate title for these 16 tracks, which frequently recall junior versions of RJD2 and Aesop Rock. Qwel doesn't alter his flow much, but that's hardly a criticism, as his sometimes monotonous vocal styling shifts trancelike around Meaty Ogre's thudding beats and fuzzy samples. Christian themes permeate many of the raps, though it's difficult to decipher Qwel's targets from his beliefs. Loneliness, desperation, and ultimately salvation appear as repeated subject matter. There's a sense that both artists are still perfecting their trades, and many tracks give off demo vibes, but there's enough variation and conviction on display to suggest greater things to come.


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s

Co-founder of Chicago-based underground rap crew the Typical Cats, Qwel constantly blurred the line between written prose and rap lyrics upon each successive album during the 2000s. With a voice uninflected in tone, the cerebral MC aggressively delivers each word, structuring his verses into multi-syllable rhyme schemes. His style was nurtured from being an avid participant of the Midwest's (Chicago in particular) rhyme-battling scene over the course of the late '90s and early 2000s, which is how...
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