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The best kept secret in music


"from Platform 8470"

'Suicide Prevention' is a solid album…that can entertain us throughout the whole hour of progressive sound waves. You can't blame the group for not being original and not transcending barriers in the narrow music field, hip-hop tends to be. If we are going to listen to this in 2020, we'll wonder how they came up with something like this, so soon already! Platform 8470 -cpf - Platform 8470

"OuterLimitz wants to create a space of its own"

OuterLimitz wants to create space of its own

By Moira McCormick
Special to the Tribune
Published January 6, 2006

For local avant-rap outfit OuterLimitz, an unconventional hip-hop trio that pairs cerebral lyrics with slamming beats, what started as a classic young band's nightmare ended up as its first big break.

OuterLimitz celebrates the release of its latest album, "Suicide Prevention," Friday night at the Empty Bottle.

In the late '90s, the group won a talent show and the prize was a chance to perform at a Gulf Coast music festival. Getting to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi was an adventure in itself, recall the group members. The tour bus ferrying OuterLimitz and a dozen other area performers to the festival broke down in southern Missouri, so the travelers had to scrape together enough money to rent a U-Haul--no easy task for cash-strapped musicians.

Still, the group members figured they'd make the money back and then some by selling new copies of the group's first independent album, "Wrong Actions for the Right Reasons." But shortly after they arrived at the festival, OuterLimitz's box of CDs mysteriously disappeared.

"It was money out of our pocket," recalls MC Qwa (a.k.a. Qwazaar, also part of the Chicago hip-hop unit Typical Cats). "Money we didn't have." And while the gig went well and everyone made it back to Chicago via Greyhound bus, it seemed a serious financial setback.

But several weeks later, Qwa started getting e-mails and phone calls from fans in cities like Atlanta. "They were saying, `We love the OuterLimitz CD!'" Qwa recalls with a laugh. "We got on radio playlists, people were hitting me up from all over the South.

"Whatever had happened to our box of CDs, they'd started circulating--and because of that we were getting a name down there."

For this interview, Qwa, fellow emcee He.llsent (a.k.a. H.E.) and OuterLimitz's manager Corporate Avi sit in the boiler room of a South Side theology school, reminiscing about the early days. It's also the location of Qwa's and H.E.'s day jobs. "The hours are flexible, and it's peaceful," says Qwa of his maintenance gig.

"We call him the Genie of the Boiler Room," says Avi. It might've been sorcery, indeed, that's enabled Qwa and H.E. to turn OuterLimitz into one of the more head-turning musical groups in Chicago, or anywhere else. "Suicide Prevention," released in late August, has garnered favorable fanzine press and become one of the most high-profile rap CDs at Lakeview's Gramaphone record store.

"`Suicide Prevention' is a top seller here," says independent hip-hop buyer Justin Dawson, who attributes the CD's appeal to the intriguing tension between its seemingly opposing elements: "It's raw and clean at the same time; it can be very dark, but also beautiful."

Qwa and H.E. met as teens in 1992 at Dunbar High School on Chicago's South Side. "We were just rhymin' in the lunchroom," Qwa recalls. "Everybody'd congregate around the middle table, and if you were on the outside, you'd always be trying to get into the [inner] circle."

The two partnered in earnest, starting OuterLimitz after high school and seeing it through personnel changes and side projects--including Qwa's better-known outfit Typical Cats, which he says is still a going concern.

Current producer and deejay Silence came on board as OuterLimitz's third member. Qwa and H.E. were impressed by the unusual beats Silence crafted for Chicago's Frontline collective.

"He's the character of the group," says Avi of Silence, who besides concocting OuterLimitz's ominous, sometimes-eerie sounds, frequently appears onstage in outlandish getups, from a Freddy Krueger mask to swim cap and goggles. Silence recently moved to New Jersey but remains an integral part of OuterLimitz, and will appear at Friday's gig.

Qwa muses that "what OuterLimitz is doing definitely doesn't fit in with what you hear on the radio." But one thing's certain: "We just want to keep making beautiful music," says H.E. "Keep banging it out, and eventually it'll be heard."


Where: Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave.

When: 10 p.m. Friday

Price: $14 in advance, $15 at the door (21+); 773-276-3600



- Tribune

"2005 year end review"

Lake Forester Newspaper
Mr. Echoes
Kevin Johnson of Oak Park performs under the name Mr. Echoes in the Opus, a hip-hop group.
My personal favorite for the year of 2005 is the LP called "Suicide Prevention" by Outerlimitz (lyrics by he.llsent and Qwazaar, production by Silence). One of the many things I like about this CD is the eerie but yet heavy-hitting production style. I haven't heard an LP this innovative in quite some time. The way Silence uses vocal choruses is unbelievable. I like how this LP creates a particular mood (Kanye West does this well also), which I feel a lot of artists forgot how to do these days. No question, the lyricists (Qwazaar in my opinion is one of the best in business) compliment the beats like a fresh new Isotoner glove. Definitely a group to watch out for in the future. www.myspace.com/outerlimitz
- Lake Forester Newspaper

"Critic Choice"

Suicide Prevention (Galapagos4), the debut album by Chicago's OUTERLIMITZ, strikes a better balance between words and beats, style and substance. Silence's production is dense and sinister: paranoid bass tones, eerie orchestral samples, dark synth bursts, and stuttering beats that trudge grimly and implacably onward. MCs Qwa (aka Qwazaar of Typical Cats) and Hellsent match the somber tone of the tracks with carefully harnessed anger, swapping lines with ferocious precision. MED headlines, One.Be.Lo. goes fourth, Outerlimitz are third - Chicago Reader


2005 "Suicide Prevention" ( Outerlimitz )

2005 "Lost Prevention " ( Outerlimitz )

2005 "Packaged In Plastic" 12"inch Single ( Outerlimitz)

1998-99 "Wrong Actions for Right Reasons" ( Outerlimitz )

2001 "Walk Thru Walls" ( Qwazaar )

2001 "Desert Eagle" 12 inch ( Qwazaar )

2000 "Father Universe" 12 inch (Silence under Alias Chauncie Gardener )


Feeling a bit camera shy


1998 is the year and a collective called Outerlimitz independently drops 'Wrong Actions for the Right Reasons'. Now, seven years later after rocking in the high school lunchroom, winning talent shows, free styling on the radio, a myriad of press, lots of recognition from a vast fan base and a new line-up later, founding members Qwa and H.E. llsent with the insightful inclusion of beat-maestro Silence return with 'Suicide Prevention' on Chicago's innovating independent label Galapagos4. Outerlimitz is more powerful and equipped than ever having independently traveled the country on Countless tours, rocking shows, alluring fans, selling merchandise and performing locally and regionally on a frequent basis. OL has performed with some of music’s top artists and “legends” like Ghostface from Wu Tang Clan, Black Sheep and up and comers Rhymefest, Typical Cats, J-Live and Slum Village.