Nuanced Chicago rapper Qari drops a rare solo release | The Listener | Chicago Reader

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Nuanced Chicago rapper Qari drops a rare solo release

The EP IGOTPROBLEMS emphasizes his soulful melodicism.


  • Photos by Tom Gavin
  • Qari

For close to a decade, Chicago rapper Qari Delaney has been rattling off vivid, impressionistic lyrics with a level of nuance that suggests he's privy to life lessons few others know. He broke through in the local scene in 2012 as part of Supreme Regime and solidified his stature after cofounding the trio Hurt Everybody in 2014.

Qari continued collaborating with Hurt Everybody producer Devin Smith, aka Mulatto Beats, after the trio broke up in 2016 (though they've since reunited). He also struck up a working partnership with rapper-producer GreenSllime, and their 2019 release, Operation Hennessy, is one of the best local hip-hop projects from the past few years.

Though he's spent the great majority of his career in groups and collaborations, Qari also has solo tracks in his expanding catalog. At the end of June, he self-released the brief EP IGOTPROBLEMS, which emphasizes his soulful melodicism. He's displayed it before—his bittersweet performance on Sen Morimoto's 2020 track "Taste Like It Smells" has wrung a tear or two from my eyes—but never so consistently. IGOTPROBLEMS showcases Qari's alluringly textured voice and brawny bars, and on the soothing "SOLO," he sandwiches rapid rapped verses between half-sung hooks delivered with a gentle caress.  v

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