14 Songs, 1 Hour

EDITORS’ NOTES

Coming out of Chicago, Qwel has been making moves and putting out quality material since just after the millennium, both as a solo emcee (on albums like If It Ain't Been in a Pawn Shop, Then It Can't Play the Blues) and as a member of groups like Typical Cats and Royce (Civil Service, Tuff Love, etc.). He's also recorded a gang of collaboration albums, with producers like Jackson Jones and Meaty Ogre, among others. Beautiful Raw is his fourth full-length project with Maker, after the excellent (if under-the-radar) efforts like The Harvest and So Be It. Released as usual on his own label Galapagos4, Beautiful Raw is a near-perfect combo of lyrical yet relatable wordplay and undeniably funky, sample-driven production, rife with breakbeats, guitar licks, and big horns. Underground without being glitchy or melodramatic, catchy without being corny or cliché. Highlights include "On One," "Through the Sidewalk," and "Keep It Movin'."

EDITORS’ NOTES

Coming out of Chicago, Qwel has been making moves and putting out quality material since just after the millennium, both as a solo emcee (on albums like If It Ain't Been in a Pawn Shop, Then It Can't Play the Blues) and as a member of groups like Typical Cats and Royce (Civil Service, Tuff Love, etc.). He's also recorded a gang of collaboration albums, with producers like Jackson Jones and Meaty Ogre, among others. Beautiful Raw is his fourth full-length project with Maker, after the excellent (if under-the-radar) efforts like The Harvest and So Be It. Released as usual on his own label Galapagos4, Beautiful Raw is a near-perfect combo of lyrical yet relatable wordplay and undeniably funky, sample-driven production, rife with breakbeats, guitar licks, and big horns. Underground without being glitchy or melodramatic, catchy without being corny or cliché. Highlights include "On One," "Through the Sidewalk," and "Keep It Movin'."

TITLE TIME

About Qwel

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 he met rap colleagues Qwazaar, Denizen Kane, and DJ Natural to form Typical Cats. Qwel's first major recording was the Typical Cats' self-titled debut, released in 2001 by independent record company Galapagos4. That experience initiated a close relationship with the label which Qwel continued to build as Galapagos4 became a fixture within Chicago's underground hip-hop community, even after it moved its operations to California. Qwel's solo debut, If It Ain't Been in the Pawn Shop, Then It Can't Play the Blues, also arrived in 2001. It introduced him as a complex rapper prone to constructing intricate concepts -- a sharp contrast to his rhyme-battling days. Best illustrating Qwel's propensity for lyrical exploration and experimentation were the series of collaborative albums conceptualizing together the four seasons and the four horsemen of the apocalypse (from the Bible's Book of Revelation). 2004's The Harvest, a collaboration with fellow Chicagoan and Glue beatsmith Maker, was the first in the series. The second in the series (and his fifth official effort), Freezer Burner, featured the colder, lo-fi production of labelmate Meaty Ogre and was released in 2006. ~ Cyril Cordor

Songs

Albums

Listeners Also Played