Jean Grae & Quelle Chris - Everything’s Fine Album Review
No one can quite put the abstract into abstract hip hop like Quelle Chris. His 2017 album Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often was no exception, serving as a self-discovery odyssey through jazzy and experimental beats that few can create quite like Chris. But what separated the album from Chris’s previous releases that led to increased exposure was his diversity in styles and approach to this theme. He utilized a rotating cast of personalities and production tricks to cement the dualistic nature of the project. Chris recently married fellow impressive underground rapper Jean Grae. Though her recent releases haven’t gotten the exposure they deserve over the past decade, Grae’s talents behind the mic have improved despite a recent lull in highly publicized projects. Together, the recently wedded couple comes through with one of the most layered and conceptual rap records of the past few years that doesn’t compromise on its artistic vision.
Everything’s Fine explores the ambivalence that comes as a product of modern life. It’s an expression that’s said by both MCs and the album’s featured artists not with a sense of relief, but self-assurance. Grae and Chris’s lyrics are coated with a sense of foreboding uncertainty, discussing how those with power are too sheepish to stand up and do something about societies political and social problems. It’s a necessary and harsh reality check on the very real dangers of complacency in society.
Grae and Chris’s personalities work off of each other effortlessly. While Chris’s cryptic delivery hasn’t changed, Grae excels with a more charismatic style. It compliments Chris’s style perfectly, adding a vibrant punch to some of the more dense portions of the album. Both artists share production credits on the album, crafting odd but engaging beats that further grab the listener’s attention.
If there’s one thing to criticize the album for, it’s that the first six tracks make the album a bit slow to get into. While it’s clear the duo was aiming for a specific aesthetic that replicates the monotonous nature of modern society, this aesthetic would have been served better if the energy of these beginning tracks changed a bit more dynamically to make the frontend of the album more engaging to listeners. The album’s stretch of songs from “Peacock” to “River” proves Grae and Chris can deliver a diverse set of eclectic production talents and the album could only have been improved if listeners got a more fleshed out look into those talents.
Everything’s Fine is a complex album that excels both conceptually and musically, even if its frontend can take a while to pick up. If Jean and Chris can spice up the flow from song to song in their future works, as well as continue to write songs that effortlessly deconstruct pertinent social issues over intricate production, the duo have the potential to be a lasting force in the underground in the coming decade.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The original posting of this review had stated that Quelle Chris handled the production on this album when it was coproduced alongside Jean Grae. The review has been edited to reflect this.
Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Public Relations