QWEL: Recognized internationally as one of the most skilled and innovative lyricists since Hip-Hop’s inception, Qwel is not your average ambiguous applause monger. Seasoned within Chicago’s unrelenting battle circuit, the Chicago-based MC found his niche among his new found crew at University of Chicago’s WHPK Wednesday night rap show. There he met Denizen Kane and Qwazaar and soon after they formed Typical Cats. After their first album gained both national and international acclaim, Qwel embarked on his inevitable solo career which included the now classic albums The Rubber Duckie Experiment, If it Ain’t Been in a Pawnshop, Then it Can’t Play the Blues, and Dark Day.

After a barrage of successful releases on Galapagos4, Qwel would begin working on the 1st album in his Four Horsemen / Four Seasons series. Partnering with Maker on The Harvest marked the beginning of a collaboration, the depth of which we’re only now beginning to understand. Freezerburner (produced by Meaty Ogre) and The New Wine (produced by Kip Killagain) soon followed, with the series finale coming full circle as Qwel again called on Maker’s production talent for So Be It. The critical success of this album led the duo to make their occasional collaboration official with their 3rd album Owl on Galapagos4.

But even while staying occupied with the Four Horsemen / Four Seasons projects, Qwel still managed to release at least one album per year, including the long-awaited sophomore album from Typical Cats titled Civil Service in 2004. But from his prolific debut to his most recent works, Qwel has proven to be groundbreaking and continues to shatter the molds and preconceived notions set for Hip-Hop.

MAKER: Hailing from a city just 40 miles outside of Chicago named Aurora –known mostly for its advances in streetlight technology– Marco Jacobo (aka Maker) has spent the past 12 years honing his production talent, releasing a barrage of albums/45s/remixes, and spending a lion’s share of his non-studio time on the road.

But despite all this, you may not have heard his name mentioned until recently. Emerging from the vital Chicago underground Hip-Hop community of the late 90s, his role as producer naturally kept him behind the scenes, tweaking levels and digging for ‘breaks,’ yet fans quickly began to associate hard, organic drums and deftly chopped/arranged dusty samples with ‘The Sound of Maker.’

After collaborating on a short series of underground releases with local artists, his beat-making prowess brought upon the attention of Chicago indie Hip-Hop record labels Birthwrite, Galapagos4, and more recently Stonesthrow’s Now Again & Innovative Leisure imprints. As a lead producer he was 1/3 of the group Glue which consisted of Adeem (two-time Scribble Jam Champion) and DJ DQ (Animal Crackers), and over the past few years has released 3 albums with Qwel (The Harvest, So Be It, Owl) as well as the Graymaker album with Grayskull (Old Dominion, Fake Four).

These projects have afforded Maker the opportunity to perform alongside such notable, internationally-known artists like Pharcyde, De La Soul, Masta Ace, Prince Paul, Little Brother, Mike Relm, Mos Def, MF Doom, Cage, Sixtoo, Pete Rock, Afrika Bambaataa, Steinski, Greyboy, D-Styles, Z-Trip, Peanut Butter Wolf, Chairman Mao, Blu, Exile, Opus, DiVinci (Solillaquists of Sound), Daedelus, Edit (Glitch Mob), Gaslamp Killer, and many others with tour routes spanning the US, Europe, and Japan. And specifically, Glue was a featured artist on MTV2 & Fuse.tv and showcased on Van’s Warped Tour.

Longshot

One of the hardest working and most underrated emcees in the business, MC Longshot is a well seasoned and professional hip hop artist from Chicago, Illinois. Aside from his undeniable talent and high quality music, Longshot propels his own life experience through his lyrics to inspire and motivate others.

Born on Chicago's south side, the oldest of six, Longshot moved around the city and country with his family before they were split apart by DCFS when he was only eight years old. After a couple of foster homes, Longshot was accepted into the Boys Hope Scholarship Program at 12 and lived there until he graduated high school at age 18. After high school, Longshot got accepted into Drake University, where his love for freestyling was first show-cased. After two years of attending Drake, Longshot realized that his true calling was music, and he moved the east coast to further develop his passion.

While out east, Longshot honed his skills as an emcee on the open mic and battle circuit before returning to Chicago in the fall of 2001. With the assistance of DJ Anomaly, Longshot released his first single "Happiness is Hard to Find" in February of 2002. A year later, EV Records released Shot's first full length album, "Open Mouth's Fed." That album introduced Longshot to the world as a thought provoking, soulful word smith, and also helped him get a spot on URB Magazine's 2003 "Next 100 List." In 2004 Longshot partnered with longtime Chi-Town producers, the Molemen, to create "Sacrifice," Shot's second full length album. For his third album, Shot decided to try and unite Chicago's seemingly divided hip hop community by utilizing some of the city's best rappers, producers, and Djs for a project he called "Civil War pt.2" Thirty tracks, 28 co-produced and rapped on by Longshot, of raw Chicago hip hop, were documented and edited for an accompanying DVD by legendary Chicago filmmaker Konee Rok. Longshot's fourth album, "Issues," was released in March 2007 and was produced entirely by then label mate, Copperpot. In October of 2008, after three years of touring as Psalm One and Diverse's Hypeman, Longshot and EV records released his 5th album, "Addicted."

A month later, Longshot recorded a song, "Hip hop is..," and entered it in the Jake One/ RSE song writing contest. After over 1,000 entries and over 7,000 voters, Longshot was chosen by the fans as the winner, and will have his next single produced by Jake One and Distributed by Rhymesayers Entertainment. A seasoned performer, Longshot can be backed by a live band or a DJ, and makes himself a hard act to follow. His passion, energy, and love for music, along with his "you can be what you work for message," are felt in every song.

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Qwel & Maker with Longshot, Rampart and Arcade

Saturday, November 23 · Doors 9:00 PM / Show 10:00 PM at The Abbey Pub

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