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article image'Ghost At The Finish Line': Chatting with rapper Quelle Chris Special

By Layne Weiss     Dec 15, 2013 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - Today I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with hip-hop artist Quelle Chris. Quelle has a sound and style like no other. No gimmicks, no trends; just unique, honest, and real. Quelle just has this really refreshing passion for hearing and making music.
How did you get your name?
"I went through a billion different names. But in high school, I learned about Quelle (The Q source), what people call the first few books of the Bible. It means the "source" in German. It's been my name for almost half my life. I wish I had more of an exciting story, but I kinda just chose it and it fit."
Where do you consider home?
"Detroit. Always. Currently, Los Angeles, California. The city of angels and bad air." Haha
Why did you move to LA?
"I had to get the fuck out of Chicago. Things were getting a little too heated there," Quelle says. "I went out to LA a couple times to do shows with House Shoes. Traveled back and forth. It to got to be too much, so I just figured I should stay there. What really kept me was the desire to work with various artists. I just like being in different places and working with various people," he explained.
"I find myself in Brooklyn a lot too working with Jean Grae, Pharoahe Monch, Cavalier, and Tanya Morgan.
I saw in one of your interviews that Niggas Is Men is like the answer to Ghost At The Finish Line?....
"Niggas isn't really the answer, but kinda the resolution. Ghost At The Finish Line was finished before Niggas Is Men," Quelle explained. "Niggas Is Men was kinda just like a way of coming to terms with the way things were. But at the same time accepting that we have the power to change things. It's kinda like a therapy session. I didn't consciously work it out that way, but it sorta just worked out like that. "
Do you have a favorite song you've done?
"It really kinda changes from time to time depending on what I'm going through in life. 'Wait A Minute' off of Ghost At The Finish Line and Bobby Womack off Slut Bag Edition, come to mind offhand," he says.
"That was really off the cuff. I honestly like every song I release. I'm obsessed with having a perfect record and being happy with everything I release. There are different times for different songs. In each song, I write myself a personal message and then come back to it."
Favorite artist you've collaborated with?
"I've worked with so many people I look up to," Quelle says.Denmark Vessey, Roc Marci (Marciano) and Mosel. Denmark is an old friend and Mosel is my blood brother. There's never a time I don't want to work with them. I've had a lot of opportunities and chances to work with all my role models. I feel extremely blessed. I can't really pick a favorite. Always great chemistry between me and Roc Marci and me and Denmark. I could be naming names forever. I equally enjoy working with everybody that I work with," Quelle tells me.
"I did all of Niggas Is Men with Fresh Daily and Cavalier from Brooklyn. I always love working with them!"
Name someone you'd like to work with in the future
"I think it would be super dope to do a whole mixtape with Thom Yorke. There are more artists that I would like to produce for. I wish I was talented enough to do a whole album with Fiona Apple, but I'm not there yet," he says humbly.
Naturally, I tell him he is "there" and could totally rock an album with Fiona
"Generally, I'd like to work with people from outside of hip-hop. In hip-hop, I'd like to produce an album for Milk D from Audio Two. That shit would be dope, but it might never happen cause I don't think he's rapping anymore."
Maybe he'll come out of retirement once he hears you wanna work with him, I say. We laugh.
"You never know," he says.
"I was lucky enough to meet him once. I was so honored and ecstatic. He's one of my inspirations and favorite emcees."
Thoughts or stories from the No Poison No Paradise tour
"It was great, like a family reunion. Me and Black Milk hadn't performed together in like eight years. I don't know exactly, but it had been like years and years. It was just great to see how far he's come and how far he and his band, Nat Turner have come, " he says. I'm sure it was just as cool for him to see how far I've come. "
"I'm a thrill seeker, so I just had a great time. I was the "wild card" of the tour," Quelle tells me.
"I remember Black Milk and I discussing the tour and him telling me I can't get lost," Quelle recalls. "He knows I'm adventurous. I like to be out there meeting people."
"Everyone in Albuquerque was super cool," he recalls. "I went to stay on a ranch with this old man. It was awesome. It was like 'why stay in a hotel when I can stay on a ranch?!' I always make my own fun wherever I go."
"Overall, the tour was an amazing experience," Quelle says.
"Everyone just killed it. I think I kinda murdered it myself."
I was there. He did!
Who are your Influences?
"Metal, hardcore, funk, punk, Kraftwerk, David Bowie. Anything hip-hop related. Waste of Youth, The Breakfast Club era with Elzhi, Big Tone, Dwele, 87, and Lacks," Quelle reminisces. "All the albums they were putting out separately and together were huge influences on me," he recalls. "The whole Rawkus Records period. Company Flow. Anything coming out of Detroit. Just everything," he says. "I listen to everything so heavy. It all just plays a part in the way I view music and in the way I view what I can do."
Can you describe your start in music? What made you decide you wanted to make music?
"I was always kinda making music with my little brother. Around middle school my friends started rapping. My big brother bought an SP202. That got me into production. Plus hearing an album from my friends like Big Tone just inspired me and made me to wanna keep going. At the time, it was something I could do to make me look cool. It kind of grew into an addiction."
Thoughts on Detroit rap
"We're the greatest. Detroit has the illest emcees ever. The state of Detroit hip-hop is amazing," Quelle says. "You got Clear Soul Forces and Danny Brown. You've still got all the same cats holding it down like Eminem, Mr Porter,and Black Milk who just dropped one of the hottest albums this year. Frank and Illa J just dropped an amazing album. Detroit hip-hop is just flawless. We've set the bar so high, so even at our worst, we're pretty damn good."
Favorite cartoon
"Past: Looney Tunes. Can't beat Looney Tunes. Greatest cartoon ever made," he says "And Tex Avery. Present: Regular Show and Adventure Time are killing the game. Also anything Seth McFarlane does is pretty funny. Ren And Stimpy."
Note: I have to check out Tex Avery!
Breakfast of Champions. I named one of my albums off it. I like everything by Kurt Vonnegut. Even his short stories. I find all of his writing extremely entertaining.
Ride at Disneyland
I haven't been to Disneyland. I've only been to DisneyWorld. My favorite ride is the ET ride. I love how he would say your name at the end. Does that even exist anymore? We both wondered. "I think last time I was there they had just started introducing 3D glasses. That's how old school it was."
While discussing this question, I told Quelle about my trip to Tokyo Disney. Somehow this led to a discussion of subway systems. Living in NYC, I could never figure out their subway system, but I figured out Tokyo's in like a day. Quelle said it probably takes living in New York your whole life to figure out their system. He just takes the J Line (Brooklyn) all day. It's easy!
Favorite food
"Close tie between a really nice kale salad and pizza."
In closing....
"Keep your eyes out for the new Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr mixtape. Iman Omari. I'm on his new album. And Roc Marci's new album. And Denmark's new project. And Ghost At The Finish Line is out right now, so anyone reading this article should go buy that now!!"
I had an absolutely amazing time doing this interview. Quelle Chris is one of the most talented dudes I've ever had the pleasure of speaking with, probably one of the most talented artists on the planet! His passion is inspiring and refreshing. Side note: Oddly enough, my cravings vary between really good kale salads and pizza as well! Small world!
More about quelle chris, Hiphop, ghost at the finish line, mello music group, Detroit
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