Tag Archives: Jean Grae

Artist Reflections: Jean Grae & Quelle Chris on Marriage and Creativity in 2018

artist-reflections-Jean-Grae-Quelle-ChrisFor our “Artist Reflections” series, we asked artists responsible for some of the year’s best records to discuss a topic that’s been close to their hearts over the last 12 months. In this piece, Jean Grae & Quelle Chris discuss Everything’s Fine, marriage, and what’s in store for 2019.

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The Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2018

best-of-hip-hop-1244As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to cast a critical eye back over the vast vault of hip-hop that hit Bandcamp this year. Whether defiantly boom bap or wildly experimental, politicized or poetical, these are the 10 best rap albums of 2018 (presented alphabetically).

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The Best Albums of 2018: #20 – 1

best of 2018 20-1Let’s be honest for a second: No one clicks on these lists for the introduction. I don’t blame them! This is usually just the place where some routine throat-clearing goes, before we get to the main event. It’s also the place where I confess to the amount of anxiety involved with putting together a list like this—last year, I said, “Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available.” Guess what? That’s still true in 2018. That said, the albums that made the cut, to us, represent the breadth and scope of the many worlds available to discover on Bandcamp, and feel like the best musical summation of the last 12 months. When we make this list, we’re not only trying to assess the year’s best music, we’re also trying to tell the story of 2018, album by album, song by song. As always, being a part of Bandcamp Daily in 2018 was a true joy; we took a look at Extratone, the world’s fastest musical genre, got familiar with the New Face of Death Metal, and spent time with artists like Yugen Blakrok, Suzanne Ciani, and Kamaal Williams. Once again, the world of music is bigger than any one list can possibly contain, so consider this a starting point on the neverending journey to discovering new sounds, new scenes, and new voices. Alright, that’s enough throat-clearing. Let’s get to the list.

—J. Edward Keyes, Editorial Director

Best of 2018 Schedule:
December 10: #100 – 81
December 11: #80 – 61
December 12: #60 – 41
December 13: #40 – 21
December 14: #20 – 1

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The Best Hip-Hop on Bandcamp: March 2018

best hip hop

March’s roll call of crucial Bandcamp hip-hop releases brings together stellar names from all corners of the scene. We’ve got you covered, whether you’re searching for cinematic crime rhymes, modern thug rap parables, smartly expressed takes on the mental health of the modern world, or even throwback ’90s boom-bap.

Vew the Best Hip-Hop on Bandcamp Archives.

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The Best Albums of Winter 2018

quarterly report

The first three months of the year have already given us an abundance of great records—arguably more than one roundup can possibly include. The 25 albums on this list contain a whole universe of sounds, from pummelling drone to rollicking indie rock, from thought-provoking hip-hop to Spanish synthwave. These are the Best Albums of Winter 2018.

Read last year’s edition of “Best Albums of the Winter”

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On “Everything’s Fine,” Jean Grae and Quelle Chris Take Society to Task

jean grae, quelle chris

Photos by Mindy Tucker

In early July 2016, rappers Jean Grae and Quelle Chris explained how frustrating it is to release satirical art in modern-day America. They’d just put out Goodnight Courtney, a comedic short about the isolated life of a depressed cartoon character. But the piece came at the end of a devastating news week, just days after black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were shot and killed by law enforcement in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, respectively, and five police officers were killed in retaliation at a protest in Dallas, Texas. “Every morning,” Grae told Bandcamp, “I can’t just say anything and I can’t just release anything without going online first and checking [to see] if anyone’s dead. It’s not OK.”

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Being Quelle Chris: A Look Inside The Rapper’s Quirky Hip-Hop Sound

Chris Quelle

On a breezy winter afternoon in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, Quelle Chris is reclining on his couch, playing video games and enjoying a smoke. It’s a rare bit of downtime for the producer/rapper; he lives here with his girlfriend—rapper/actor/comedian Jean Grae—and relaxes with Playstation, weed, and Netflix. After pouring each of us a glass of Red Label whiskey, he shuts the window to drown out the sounds of traffic. “If I keep this open, we may not hear any of the interview,” Quelle says. It’s a slightly ironic move—that same hum of traffic is part of the palette of sound Quelle uses to create some of the most unique, forward-thinking hip-hop around.

Most hip-hop producers who build their work from samples spend a lot of time in record shops, digging through crates to find the gems they’ll eventually chop and manipulate into new masterpieces. But Quelle is different; when he goes looking for sounds, he starts with the television.

“I’ll sit and watch hours and hours of the most terrible movies, just waiting for those little moments,” he says. “Not even just samples, but [the sound of] someone tripping up a flight of steps in a movie.” He calls his sound “explorer hip-hop.” It’s perhaps best compared to Madlib or Knxwledge, both of whom use random clips—vocal splices, in particular—from films to create their music, stringing things together with a heavy helping of oddball soul. Some of Quelle’s productions do the same; others seem to go out of their way to create dissonance.

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The Best New Hip-Hop on Bandcamp

Best New Hip Hop

The year 2016 concluded with an unexpected present for hip-hop heads: Run The Jewels—aka rappers Killer Mike and El-P—decided to drop their third album ahead of schedule on Christmas Eve. True to the duo’s heritage, the 14-track project booms with loud and abrasive electro-funk beats, Killer Mike’s political rhetoric, and El-P’s trademark cynicism. While Run The Jewels 3 might have dominated late-December playlists, here’s a deeper snapshot of 11 other rap releases that are well worth your leftover Christmas cash.

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