Qwel & Maker

Qwel & Maker

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.


Deca probably has one of the most distinct voices in local hip-hop. His gruff and rigid vocal style, which recalls an alto-voiced Supernatural, is one of his strengths; it grabs your attention instantly, even if it's a bit monotonous. Lyrically, Deca's as solid as they come. On The Hedonist, his debut disc, his dexterous wordplay is bolstered by excellent production; head-bangers such as "Strung Out Dreamer," "Second Time Around" and "Sideshow Freak" showcase his flow over hot, riot-starting beats. The entire project, though nice overall, is at times undermined by an uneven mix, with a sample here or a beat there drowning out Deca's rhymes -- so much so that you actually miss a bar or two. Webster's defines a hedonist as someone who pursues or is devoted to pleasure, particularly when it comes to the senses.

Aklock & Deadbeat Dom


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