Quelle Chris DEATHFAME Mello Music Group
DEATHFAME, the latest album from the prolific Detroit rapper, eases in with the 70s soft rock AM radio chords of Alive Ain’t Always Living. “I’m so grateful/ So grateful to be alive,” beams Chris. It sets a tone of self-contentment that is reflected by the fact Chris keeps his circle tight. With the exception of an assist behind the boards from Knxwledge, the only producer here other than Quelle Chris himself is his long-time collaborator Chris Keys.
The beats veer between jazz club grooves (the tinkling piano of So Tired You Can’t Stop Dreaming featuring Navy Blue), smooth sophisti-pop (the saxophone riff of Die Happy Knowing They’ll Care) and grubby loops that creep like a villain though rain-streaked streets at night. With its unwavering braggadocio, the agreeably nostalgic and MF DOOM-indebted Feed the Heads is particularly satisfying, as Chris declares himself the greatest and calls out “sucker emcees”.
DEATHFAME ends with the brilliant Excuse My Back, backed by a harsh beat that refuses to release the tension. Chris’s guttural flow is equally unrelenting – a combination so intense it could snap your neck. It’s a fittingly uncompromising end to an album that is so clearly about being comfortable in one’s skin – and it’s a suit that Chris wears well.