Let Me Learn You Something: Quelle

The way I’ve sold  Danny Brown’s The Hybrid to my friends who were the fence about the nasal, gap-toothed midwestern Young Zee on Adderal is this: Hybrid is the first great Detroit rap record that reps its hometown while sounding nothing like a traditionally great Detroit rap record.   There’s no half baked Dilla knockoffs, no chiseled out GMC-sponsored arena anthems like Recovery, no live drummers or synths from Black Milk, and no guest spots from Guilty Simpson, Elzhi, King Gordy, or a member of D12.  It’s a completely insulated masterpiece from arguably the last American city who takes pride in turning out nothing but great hip hop albums. 

Quelle is a big part of this bizarro Detroit landscape.  His production contributions to The Hybrid, which ended up being my favorite songs, ranged from the filthy Billy Squire-like banger “White Stripes” to the Mr. Roboto marble mouthed funk on “Greatest Rapper Ever”.  When Aaron Matthews interviewed him and Denmark Vassey (the duo together work as Crown Nation) last year for Passion of the Weiss’ breakdown on the making of The Hybrid, I envisioned Quelle as another lunchpail producer: a nerdy homebody who devoured Kraftwerk and Madlib records.  When you make beats that outlast 14KT, Chuck Inglish, and Frank Dukes, you’re assumed to be an avid gearhead who roughly gets about 2 hours of sunglight exposure.  Not the case with Quelle. 

Getting  co-signs from Brown, Blu and  House Shoes solidified his authentic brand of Detroit beat cutlery.  But Quelle raps, sings, draws, and enjoys a nice cup of coffee much more than developing scoliosis from record digging in dingy basements.  He’s put in work behind the boards and on the mic with Denmark Vassey as Crown Nation, went for dolo as an emcee on his debut Blue Monday, and sings through grizzly bear masks as Awesome in Outerspace.  Gully.

What you’ll see in Quelle’s video interview (the first we’ve ever had for this interview series) is his charismatic and nonchalant attitude towards hip hop.  He exudes carefree confidence, a humble likeability you don’t get from newer artists who have made their mark on the internet.  As you’ll see from his casual approach and anti-Linda Richman morning coffee chat, Quelle isn’t constrained to the rigors of putting out 100 new songs a month or making sure he doesn’t “lose his spot” in the ravenous world of online hip hop.  He’d rather make a song when it’s time to make a song, whether it’s behind a mask, over breakfast, or weeded out with the Hybrid.  Being a well-rounded human being > rapping for blogs or making beats to impress other producers.

It’s time for Quelle to learn you something.


Danny Brown “Greatest Rapper Ever” prod by Quelle

Danny Brown “Guitar Solo” prod by Quelle

Danny Brown “Re-Up” prod by Quelle

Awesome in Outer Space “Say Goodbye” feat Nick Davio

Quelle “The Loop”

Quelle “Deal With It” feat Denmark Vassey (prod by Quelle)


I’d like to give massive praise to Quelle for not only agreeing to do this interview, but to suggest making it a video interview and then filming and editing the video on his own time.  The man is a goddamn rap octopus.


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