November 29, 2006 What happens when street hip-hop meets Pop, Rock and R&B while being fueled by socially conscious and politically astute beliefs? You have a movement. You have Qualo. Chicago has produced some of Hip-Hop’s most promising and important new talent such as Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Twista and influential producers The Molemen. In addition to being the epicenter of the “super-producer” scene, Chicago is hosting a new generation of Hip-Hop artists that are not interested in becoming the newest Jay-Z or the next TI.
The new scene blends musical styles and bridges the gap between popular and so-called “alternative rap”. This new movement has a fountainhead named Qualo who are propelling this scene and its brand new sound. The four members of Qualo are not satisfied with simply changing Hip-Hop music, their sights are set on making a dent on the entire culture. Simply stated, Qualo is the ghost of Hip-Hop future.
Qualo and their Chicago brethren have created a new form of hip-hop that straddles what were once two very separate schools of thought. Qualo produces an enlightened variety of hip-hop, which bends the territory of the form to include elements outside of its vernacular while never falling off the radar of the core hip-hop connoisseur. While Hip-Hop has always contained a chasm between what was popular and what was meaningful, Qualo and the Chicago scene are ushering a new wave that combines the two. Qualo possesses a unique musical blend of classic street doctrine, spiritual sincerity, humor and urban poetic commentary all while still producing classic pop-worthy hits.
Qualo educates and approaches topics such as Politics, which were once seen as untouchable by mainstream Hip-Hop all while entertaining. “It’s a mesh, but we’re not pandering to nobody” says Preast. “We know the music game is marketing driven. Right now, it’s like a factory – they’re out there building rappers, just putting them together. But Qualo is not like that. What we do, it’s not just real, it’s real life”.
Each of the members of Qualo contributes to the group’s production. From Shala’s unique rock-inspired bangers, to Preast’s cutting edge 80’s style fire, to Chicago Shawn’s sense of sound and Ken Winz’s ear- snatching creativity, all four contribute to the Qualo sound, a unique blend of fierce rhyme, sincere street narratives, infectious chants and catchy hooks, set to a backdrop of bass-heavy beats, soulful music, social awareness and political satire.
Newly signed to a joint venture with Universal Motown after being contacted through their much trafficked MySpace page, the quartet have been hailed as the second coming of Hip-Hop by the likes of XXL, Billboard Magazine, The Source, YRB, Complex, The Chicago Sun-Times, Playboy and many others. “We want to affect culture the way classic albums have always affected culture,” Shala adds. “We’re bringing in music with integrity, music with a message, but music that has some grit, some teeth, music that scares the right people; makes people feel something. We’re part of a whole new ‘Movement’.
We want to bring all that back to hip-hop”. The group views itself as a brand which can be extended to include individual music projects, film projects, business off-shoots and the stewarding of new artists to be featured on Qualo’s label imprint THE MOVEMENT. The group’s latest release “POCKETS” is being adding rapidly throughout popular Hip-Hop and Top 40 stations nationwide.