It took a few years for Detroit-based producer/MC Quelle Chris to firmly establish his name in hip-hop, but on his solo breakthrough Ghost at the Finish Line, he sounds like could be good at anything, or everything. He’s funny without leaning excessively on punchlines, with cuts like the sex-athlete anthem “Super Fuck” and real-talk diatribe “What Up” hinging on sharp-timed delivery, goofy analogies and a subtly-needling Midwestern drawl. But he also gets deep, taking familiar concepts like artistic come-up struggles (“Loop Dreams”) or resilience in a day-to-day life (“Undying”) and giving them a clear-voiced authority. Musically, he’s in tune with underground-friendly, lo-fi, blunted, zone-out boom-bap — think Madlib and Dilla — that’s as steeped in Los Angeles as Detroit. So the occasional presence of Cali producers like Knxwledge and Oh No is less a digression and more a co-sign from fellow travelers. A no-brainer listen for anyone who’s ever sought out smart eccentricity in their hip-hop.
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