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The best kept secret in music


"allhiphop.com - The Legendary Qualo"

As the legendary winds which give Chicago its alias, sweep through the city seizing an occasional artist and nudging them into the Hip-Hop mainstream, they somehow keep missing the four unique personalities who make up Qualo (pronounced Kway-Lo).

The last half decade has seen Shala, Preast G, Optymst and Chicago Shawn move close to 25,000 copies of their independently released albums. They have tracks like “Coco” and “I Ain’t A Pimp” in heavy rotation on Chicago’s major stations right now and they have graced stages and clubs alike, oh yeah and not forgetting the 40,000 mixtapes they put out. So why is it that the streets recognize them for the talent they ooze, but the major labels avoid them as if an urban legend?

There is no denying the fact that Qualo keeps it as real as it comes, which in it’s self is a rarity nowadays when majority of tracks played commercially lack real substance. Their story telling is as lyrically entertaining as it is educational; it is as humorous as it is sarcastic. So why is it that these four dedicated, gifted and undeniably quick-witted individuals are still waiting for that right deal to come their way?

Of course, there have been offers, when you are collaborating with Chicago Hip-Hop royalty like Twista, Bump J and talking of touring with Nelly you know you are doing it right and to a certain degree so do the majors, but Qualo wants the right digits on their check and rightly so. They know what they are worth and through their own effort and hustling so do the streets of the Midwest. Complacency can come easy to them, but the reality of it all comes back down to the ‘blood sweat and tears’ they have put into their craft over the last five years.

Each character is in his own right is an asset to Hip-Hop and not just as a collective. They write, they produce and they have established a lucrative label appropriately named “The Movement” which is home to a whole mass of performers, so you know their business is on point. Moving in on the industry to Qualo is considered Guerilla Warfare and they are coming in from all angles. They personify the ultimate Hip-Hop group, so why is it that they have been shown no true industry love? The powers that be could be afraid of them. I mean who wouldn’t be? One self motivated, talented, hungry artist is enough to deal with, but four? There is no denying their invasion will create a buzz in the industry. Qualo, their legions of artists and Chicago will be the focal point of a new generation of authentic artists without a doubt.

So those winds need to pick up and bring that check. They have the support, they gained the media attention, they possess the drive, they deliver the tracks so make room for them. Qualo truly is what Hip-Hop requires to bring a reality back into the game.

AHH: Where did y’all meet?

QUALO: We grew up together, went to school together, our families knew each other before we were born. We came together musically on our first project Movementality back in 2000. But we had been experimenting before then like in High School.

AHH: The name Qualo what does it mean?

QUALO: It means the four of us.

AHH: Its cool growing up together, your families knowing each other etc. but musically was you all on the same page from the jump, or did it take a while to achieve that?

SHALA: Amazingly enough man, I mean we all have our differences but musically we just work it out.

OPTYMST: We come, the four of us, with distinctly different styles. Chicago Shawn and Preast had a street rugged upbringing which comes out in their lyrics. Whereas Shala and me bring a different energy, but it all comes together.

CHICAGO SHAWN: I think Qualo is the biggest thing rap has ever seen, I’m gonna put it out there like that. Rap has never witnessed anything in the proportions of Qualo. You might have a Jay-Z who is a great artist, a great musician, you might have a 2 Pac, an Andre 3000 or a Puffy, all great artists, great musicians, but you never see them all together. That’s Qualo.

AHH: Do you all take credit for production on your albums?

PREAST G: It’s everybody. It’s a unique situation as all four of us are on the board, on the mic and write our own rhymes. We have other producers we work with, but they tailor make tracks to our tastes. We get really involved. We don’t just take a beat CD and rap over other people’s visions. It’s like a big melting pot. If our vocals are going to be on it it’s got to be right. The soil has got to be fertile to plant seeds.

SHALA: That’s why we got our own set of musicians, our people. That’s why it was a lot easier to come together.

OPTYMST: From our experience it takes a while for anyone to get used to us on a musical level. We put the time in working with a particular musician or person so we can be comfortable when we get to that level.

CHICAGO SHAWN: If an artist wants to come in and work with us it’s nothing. I envision other artists, rappers when I write my rhymes.

AHH: Who has influenced you?

SHALA: We all over the board, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye to the Rock and Roll of the day, Green Day, of course Tupac, NWA, Outkast, Chicago artists Common, Twista.

OPTYMST: We listen to everything, can’t pin it on one person or band. You get inspired by artists from your city because of the energy bouncing off each other. We get compared to Outkast quite a bit.

PREAST G: Being from Chicago we come up listening to all of it, West Coast where they mainly listen to West Coast, same with the south, same with the east. The only place that ain’t true is the Mid West and in particular Chicago. So we came up on Geto Boys, Scarface, NWA, Public Enemy, Tupac, Biggie, all of it. East, West and South was what we identified with, that’s the spirit that Chicago has. So many artists, so many diverse, you can have a Qualo in the middle, a Twista, then a Bump J in one spectrum, then you have a Common and a Kanye West in another spectrum.

AHH: Believe is your third indie realease. What are the others?

QUALO: We did Movementality in 2000 and Chi Banging – Qualo and the Movement which includes all our family.

AHH: You moved a G (1,000) of Believe in the first two weeks without any promotion, nothing. How many you moved now?

QUALO: 4,000 [As of March 2005]

AHH: You happy with that?

QUALO: Hell no!

SHALA: But it’s good for what we do. You gotta imagine we got 4 titles running all at the same time and only now is that album starting to get radio love. We are the first and if not the only independent in the city to get radio love on all three majors. Have to put a shout out though to Elroy Smith for breaking “Coco” on WGCI.

CHICAGO SHAWN: Yeah, but we have not technically released that album yet. The four thousand we have moved was without any marketing or any effort, this is just to people on the streets.

PREAST G: Yeah we’re happy with the reaction it got. But we are getting really spoilt now by how we have been received so far.

AHH: Where can you get hold of that album?

SHALA: You can go to our website, www.donotfollow.com or you can download it now off of I-Tunes as well.

AHH: How did the collabo come about with Bishop Don Juan on “Pimpaholic?”

SHALA: Well it’s Chicago, famous players rotate, we be in the same circles, we party together and see each other out and about.

CHICAGO SHAWN: Gotta give a shout out to Color One who got us all in the same place at the same time, the Bishop, Qualo and Mike Love.

AHH: Is that the same with Twista who features on the remix of “I Ain’t A Pimp?”

CHICAGO SHAWN: That’s my man. We[‘ve] been working on a lot of stuff right now. I was on his first national album, Adrenaline Rush I was on the “No Remorse” track. So there has already been a Qualo and Twista collaboration.

SHALA: Ain’t nothing changed. We work together, we gonna keep working together. Respect is respect in Chicago. Chicago isn’t that big a city so we pretty much be traveling in the same circles. We doing the exclusive Mike Love remix of the Common and Kanye track “The Corners.” That features us, Bump J and Twista.

PREAST G: We all work together and Chicago being the type of city, traditionally, that’s been looked over, we have to adapt and grow. Everything we do is attached to a strategy. A large movement moving together is easier to hit. So we broke off, you got people coming through the back door, people coming through the side door, through the window. It appears that we are all separate, but really we not. We all just coming for the industry.

AHH: Why you talk about pimping so much? Is this a good topic to put out there?

PREAST G: “I Ain’t A Pimp” isn’t really about pimping. It is a social commentary because we young and we black and coming out of Chicago there’s only a couple of ways out of here, you either playing ball, you rapping or selling crack or pimping. We have been lucky to meet real women who have had the ability to believe in us, take care of us and look out for us. It is a lifestyle you become accustomed to. Same as with the dope game, no one wants to be selling crack, but you get addicted to fast money and that was what “Pimpaholic” was about, that’s my track. I wanted to make a true pimp song, not a bubble-gum song. I am telling you the game from top to bottom in that track. It is showing you the reality of pimping. The way I talk about the game is brutal and if any young lady is thinking of getting into the pimp game, I am definitely not encouraging you to do it unless you are strong minded, strong willed and is going to do it anyway. A ho recognizes her power and she is going to be about that. If, deep down, she isn’t prepared for it and she hears a song like that and it turns her off the game, then we ain’t gotta get into it.

AHH: So you send out positive messages in your rhymes.

SHALA: People gonna do what they gonna do. The world is the world before and the world is the world after us. Music has always been a reflection of life. We are expressionists, we are messengers, it comes through us if we see it, we put it back out there. However we choose to comment on it is how we do. We grew up on it. Tupac never made anyone go out there and shoot someone. We are all entertained by sex and violence. This is a true fact, this is what we do. Some of us take on a responsibility to teach people certain things because of the way we were taught and that is what we choose to do.

OPTYMST: There is the constant topic of being good role models. You are either a pimp or a ho. You’re either a consumer, a customer or a producer. As opposed to being a customer or a ho, I ain’t going to make excuses I prefer to be a pimp.

AHH: Off the album Believe what is your favorite song collectively?

OPTYMST: We[‘ve] been blessed with a lot of great songs.

SHALA: Probably “Diary of a Mad Band.”

PREAST G: Yeah that was a personal track, produced by Shala.

AHH: What’s the deal with your label, The Movement, who else you got on there?

SHALA: The squad consists of Morocco Stone, Alexander Monday, Royale, Shak, Crystal Claire, Mike Love, Mo.B, Absolut and Alycia Marie.

AHH: But you created the Movement correct?

CHICAGO SHAWN: Yeah pretty much.

AHH: So by creating the Movement you chose to control your own destiny. So many artists out there need to get their music out, so you have to do it yourself by creating your own label.

SHALA: Exactly. Basically coming out of Chicago is like coming out of Alcatraz. You are on an island with a bunch of other prisoners trying to get to the other side. So we realized we had to create our own ship and that ship was the Movement. When we realized there was a bunch of other people on Alcatraz who could help build this ship, it went beyond just the four of us. We got to building this vessel to get us over to the industry and when we looked up there was like a hundred more people trying to help us.

AHH: So what’s the deal now, looking for distribution?

PREAST G: Yeah just cut the check. [LAUGHTER]

AHH: How close are you to achieving that?

OPTYMST: They coming now, but they don’t get the five years of hard work we already put in. They see the last year of press (NOTE: Which there is a lot of), but they don’t see the blood sweat and tears.

CHICAGO SHAWN: They don’t see that there is two eras of rap, before Qualo and after Qualo.

SHALA: They gotta come and speak the right language.

AHH: Your stage presence is supposed to be off the hook. You got any plans for touring?

SHALA: Hopefully in Europe because we got distribution from an independent out there.

AHH: So where in Europe?

SHALA: Germany and the six surrounding countries. We have our album being played on the radio over there now.

AHH: What about touring in the US?

OPTYMST: Our manager is working on right now us possibly touring with Nelly in the summer, nothing final as of yet though.

AHH: How is the rest of 2005 looking for Qualo as a group?

PREAST G: World domination! We just gonna do more of what we already do, although more effectively and smarter. We plan on putting out three more albums independently. We not waiting on majors to give us money, we can do this on our own. I mean besides collaborations, the DVD is coming. We turning out three scripts, neighborhood joints like Menace to Society, from the Chicago perspective, but it’s a bit early to speak on that.

CHICAGO SHAWN: This year is more about The Movement, we going to be more about business. We just want to negotiate that check and just how big it’s going to be, but in the meantime while we doing that we need to introduce you to Turtle Banxx, Morocco Stone and the rest of the Movement, then we will go back to Qualo.

OPTYMST: We here to bring the danger back to rap, the shit we grew up with. I want to hear that again and I’m tired of us having to do it all ourselves, so now we going to bring in other people to make some good music. We just bringing it back.

CHICAGO SHAWN: And for the record, all you rappers out there, preferably NY rappers, I am challenging you. E mail me, we gonna have a battle. I ain’t going to look at you if your first line ain’t right. You already heard what I am about. But you can’t talk about your wheels, no guns and no bitches. So I know that eliminates at least 90% of you. The other 10% holla at your boy.

AHH: Are you involved in any individual projects? Preast you mentioned an album.

PREAST G: Yeah my album is due Summer ’05. It’s called Tell the Truth, Fear God and Make Money. I’m gonna let the music speak for itself. I’m just trying to get Usher and 50 Cent to let me play my shit on their radio stations [LAUGHTER].

AHH: So how can the AllHipHop.com community reach out to you?

SHALA: You can go to www.donotfollow.com

AHH: You got anything else you wanna say to the readers of the Breeding Ground?

OPTYMST: Thank you for being here, I remember when people were afraid to follow Hip-Hop.

SHALA: Yeah and a shout out to Steve Raze, we want to acknowledge him in print for coming at us and seeing the future!

PREAST G: Pleased you see the future and you understand it! We are a problem and we appreciate that you ain’t afraid to kick down the doors with us.

OPTYMST: We are the World’s Most Dangerous Group in Hip-Hop and y’all are the World’s Most Dangerous Hip-Hop Website, so we had to get this out to the readers. - allhiphop.com

"Playboy Magazine"

QUALO * Believe

Far from breaking new ground, most socially conscious hip-hop founders under its own cliches. But with "How to Make a Baby Mama" - funny but not so funny - this Chicago collective takes social consciousness in a new direction. With great production and smart lyrics, Believe is impressive. (The Movement) 3.5 bunnies (out of 4) - Playboy, March 2005

"Billboard Album Review"

Album Title: Believe
Producer(s): Qualo, Shak, Absolut
Label/Catalog Number: The Movement 99981
Source : Billboard.com
Originally Reviewed: September 21, 2004

If -- as an ever-louder chorus of voices keeps proclaiming -- Chicago continues to sit on the edge of a massive hip-hop breakout, the West Side collective Qualo's "Believe" may go down, along with Kanye West's "The College Dropout" and the production work of the Molemen, as one of its most incendiary catalysts.

It's also a darker one -- where Kanye relies on sped-up samples and his just-north-of-everyman persona, Qualo's Preast, Chicago Shawn, Optimyst and Shala Esquire pack "Believe" with a mentality born from years of absorbing Public Enemy and OutKast: smartly brutal verses and call-to-arms choruses, underground editorializing and a barrage of trance-inducing beats.

A haze of militant activism permeates the disc, but it's a subtle activism. The pulsating, darkly humorous "How To Make a Baby Mama" is as comic as it is not, "Do What the Track Say" is a middle finger to too many establishment targets to count off and "Pimpaholic" is a staccato-blast rocker until Preast sidesteps into a loping chorus ("Mobster/gangster/ mackalicious pimpaholic") that would spin Too Short's head. But then it flips; moments later, Qualo muscles up the reggae-tinged "Coco," which finds Preast pledging love: "She's my hero and don't know it, I front in front of the fellas, one day I'm'a tell her she saved me and made me better."

Also intact is the group's gift for creative sampling. The mix tape "Chi Bangin" found the group dropping verses over "Seven Nation Army," and this time out they employ the sinister bass line from System Of A Down's "Aerials" for the bleak "Diary of a Mad Band." But "Believe" doesn't get much better than "Immortal Movement Nation," which rolls over a dark-city beat grounded in the sound of one bell tolling. It's a simple trick, but a good one, and it may toll for anyone in pursuit of that ever-elusive Next Big Thing.

--Jeff Vrabel

- Billboard.com

"The Source-Independent's day"

November 2004

The Chi-Town underground legends Qualo (pronounced Kway-lo)return after a four-year gap between projects with their third independent release, Believe(Movement, 773-536-3540 or www.chiradio.com). Known for their attention-grabbing street sound, the duor cleverly blends its spiritual and humorous styles. The group sticks to their guns on joints such as "Immortal Movement Nations" and "So Mo Gangsta" - The Source

"XXL-Show and Prove"

June 2004:

QUALO>>Revolutionary Warefare

Sound the alarm. Chicago is on fire, and though the city's movement is led by the likes of Kanye West, Twista and R. Kelly, the rap collective Qualo (pronounced Kway-lo) have been putting in work just as long as their more-decorated brethren. Formed in the early '90s, the quartet of high school homies (Shala Esquire, Optimyst, Chicago Shawn and Preast) have been dropping musical bombs, guerilla-style, virtually in obscurity. "There is a log of competition in Chicago," says Chicago Shawn. "We all are saying the same thing, we just comin' from different angles."

Qualo's slant is their revolutionary prose, equal parts thug posturing, political insight, ghetto philosophizing and sharp political commentary-rhetoric lifted from the streets laced with heavily constructed beats and pillared by field-like chants. Mostly relegated to subterranean Chicago, the crew makes noise much in the same way Public Enemy shook their Black fist at the system. "Our message is a collage of thoughts inspired by the ideology of the Black Panterh Party, Nation of Islam, Operation PUSH, Gangsta Disciples,..." says Chicago Shawn. "We represent the disenfranchised," adds Shala, before Preast cosigns with, "we speak to the people, not the establishment."

Nonetheless, hip-hop with elements of social consciousness isn't fashionable. For the most part, the rap industry has been one continuous hook 'n cameo-driven party of late. However, Qualo, who assert they have been overlooked and misunderstood, believe it's time to turn the lights on and send everyone back home. "We always have marched to our own drum. We've never gone out and sought acceptance from others," says Optimyst.

Thanks to over a decade of independent perseverance (their 2000 independent release Movementality was an "out-da-trunk" classic, and currently heads are banging the group's militant compilation Chi Bangin), and mixtape love thanks to local DJs like Mike Love, Qualo's brand of street politickin' is catchin' on in the Windy City, a town known for its strong identity in the Pro-Black campaign. "We ain't tryin' to save the world," says Optimyst. "We just feeding them a little bit of information at a time-if they ready for the truth."

-Shawn Edwards - XXL Magazine

"The Best Local Releases of 2004"

December 24, 2004

5. Qualo-Believe-The Movement

The bulk of the local hip-hop scene explores musically profressive, socially conscious rap, but this four-man west-side-crew--Chicago Shawn, Preast, Shala, Optimyst--heartily embraces a hardcore ethos. The song titles on Believe tell the story: "Pimpaholic," "We Are the War," "So Mo Gangsta." The album is a gritty, compelling snapshot of street life and death, and when it comes to politics they thankfully forsake partisan niceties ("Fuck Democrats, fuck Republicans, I got a ballot and bullet for shadow governments"). On the album's 17 wide-ranging tracks they sample everything from Middle Eastern chants to 40s musicals, creating an inventive backdrop that under-scores the power of--and bitter menace in--their rhymes.

-Bob Mehr - The Chicago Reader

"Chicago Sun-Times: With CD on the way, it's banner time for Qualo"

With CD on the way, it's banner time for Qualo

August 6, 2004


When Qualo takes the stage, they take it. Formerly known as Qualoheem, meaning "four ethereal or angelic beings," the group overwhelms the stage like a conquering army. Backed by what appears to be legions of drummers, banner bearers and flag wavers, the quartet of friends who met more than a decade ago at Lane Tech direct a mass of humanity that is part S1W, part victory parade and thoroughly rugged rhyme collective.

"Wherever we go, the flags and the banners and the drummers are setting the area to make us comfortable," says Shala Esquire (Olusola Akintunde) one of the group's four members. "We make it our land. Once we make it our land, we perform in our land. It's not hostile takeover, we just move into an area and plant our flag."

For 14 years, Chicago Shawn (Shawndell Lewis), Optimyst (Kenneth Bayliss), Preast (Trevel Ruffer) and Shala Esquire have been planting their flags throughout the hip-hop underground. Their work, both as Qualo and as the multimedia company The Movement, has allowed them gain strongholds in the mixtape market, party promotion, and artist management while also allowing them to perform with artists ranging from DMX to Ludacris.

This work has paid off, not only by creating classic posters, with slogans like "F#$% Weed, Buy Qualo," but also by giving them the credibility to put out the mixtapes of WGCI DJ Mike Love. They have also gotten national recognition, one of their posters appeared on the wall of Ice Cube's barbershop in "Barbershop," and they have received write-ups in national publications like the hip-hop magazine XXL.

Through the underground successes of songs like "Gunshots, Warfare ... Revelations," "Dream Y'all," and "I Ain't a Pimp," fans of Qualo's music have come to expect a sound that is both street-level rugged, and socially analytical.

"We as human beings have complexities and contradictions. That's what makes you real, we don't separate that," says Preast. "Nobody is good 100 percent of the time and nobody is a revolutionary 100 percent of the time." "Besides," adds Chicago Shawn, "We grew up on NWA and Public Enemy. People might compare us to OutKast, people might compare us to Wu-Tang, or Dead Prez or Twista. But that is because we are four distinct people, four different personalities."

Despite all of their success, which has included spins on commercial radio, Qualo is working to take the next step.

"We don't have that mainstream R. Kelly rotation," says Optimyst, "we're still looking for that. But a lot of DJs and program directors like what were saying."

Qualo is not waiting to be swept up in the mainstream rush for Chicago hip-hop.

On Aug. 16, the group will release its latest CD, "Believe" and the buzz will, like everything Qualo does, rise from up from the underground, swarm through the Internet, and blast off stages as they continue planting flags and spreading their area.

"Any major market that has made it in this industry has put themselves on and everybody else just exploited it and jumped on the bandwagon," says Shala. "A lot of times we get comfortable and think, 'They are coming to get us.' Well they are never coming to get you, you've got to go get!"

David Jakubiak is a local free-lance writer. - Chicago Sun-Times

"Delicious Magazine(Germany)"

SCORE: 5 Sterne!!!
Da kommt etwas großes auf uns alle zu! „QUALO“ (sprich Kway-lo), eine siebenköpfige Crew aus Chicago. Die Jungs sind derselben Crew entsprungen, die Euch auch „Twista“, „Do or Die“ oder „Crucial Conflict“ beschert haben. Laut Pressemitteilung kommen die Jungs mit einer Energie an den Start, wie der „Wu-Tang Clan“ zu seinen besten Zeiten und das kann ich nur bestätigen.

Schon der Opener „Warrior“ macht deutlich, das man auf diesem Album zum einen gradlinigen, aber dennoch abwechslungsreichen und guten Rap bekommt. Energiegeladene Raps, Beats die mal wieder straight klingen und dabei noch eine sehr ideenreiche Sample/Beat Auswahl. So bekommt man zum Beispiel bei „Q Nation Army“ den Introbeat von den „White Strives“ (der ein oder andere mag die „nicht Hip Hop Band“ vielleicht kennen) zu hören, darüber die frischen Raps von Shala, Preast, Optimyst und Maasta Link. Als Refrain wurde der Originalrefrain von den „White Strives“ gesampelt, sehr nette Idee, die Umsetzung bekommt eine 1+.

Bei „The Ecksplanation“ wird der gesamte Beat von “Bob James´s“ „Nautilus” genommen und das lässt das Herz eines jeden Liebhabers von Funkmusik höher geschlagen. Über diesen Beat gibt’s wieder Raps, die nichts zu wünschen übrig lassen!

„The Flux“ bringt das Sample von dem 80´s Hit „Sweet Dreams“, (den auch schon Marylin Manson oder Redman ft. Pink gecovert haben) zurück. Ein etwas ruhigerer Track, der aber durchaus im Kopf hängen bleibt.

Aber auch alle anderen 19 Tracks auf „Chi Bangin“ sind äußerst dick. Für jeden dürfte was dabei sein, egal ob Jiggy, Straight Underground, Funky oder Reggae(angehaucht), alles ist am Start. Der Silberling sprüht nur so vor Ideenreichtum, guten Beats und Raps.

Flowtechnisch können die Jungs locker mit allen anderen Größen mithalten, als weitere Gäste neben den 7 MC´s sind geladen: Christina von den B.E.P.´s, Scarface und Chrystal u. a.! Den Namen Qualo (and the Movement) sollte man sich auf jeden Fall merken, das Album „Chi Bangin (the Movement Catalog) sollte man in jeder gut sortierten Plattensammlung finden!

Mein Persönlicher Tipp des Monats!! Bestimmt bald beim Händler Eures Vertrauens. Weitere Infos bekommt Ihr bestimmt auch bei http://www.oldvintage.com.

Review © by Sub / Delicious hip:hop Magazine

- Delicious Magazine (http://www.delicious-mag.de)

"Buyer and Fan reviews"

4 STARS: Perfect mix ! ! Outkast meets Tupac. Pimp, Street and Playalistic
Reviewer: Pimp Skipp
This is some of the sickest sh%*#. out in a long time, The beats is tite and flows are right, Pimpaholic, Coco, Diary of a mad band, all hot singles club or radio!!

Reviewer: KALEBER
CHI TOWN STAND UP!!! yo peace & luv, yall cats or the truth fo real. This is some high evergy " by the time I get to Arizona " sh#% here!!!! Good Damn!!!

5 STARS: hot, hot hot
Reviewer: Nez 1/2 of BOY GENIUS
Yo, Qualo and the movemonet are def. the future and the truth!! yo i'm reppin the southside of chicago (hyde park) Kenwood Academy!! these cats is killin, shout out to dj yung chaise for puttin me on these cats awhile back!! yo they are def. on the move ya dig!!!

5 STARS: Reviewer: Lil Red
All I got to say is Chibangin is CHI-BANGIN. Chicago is here to stay in this Hip Hop game. Another classic Cd of Chitown revolutionary gangsta shit. Yall go get they new album Believe.

4 STARS: Some of the best Hip-Hop artistry to be had...
Reviewer: Melimel
Qualo and The Movement:Chi-bangin has bad-ass beats and great juxtapositions of melody and rhyme. This CD is hot.

5 STARS: Wheres Knowledge
Reviewer: jesse
Why is everyone on the cd except jeremy AKA knowledge

3 STARS: Reviewer: Tapanga Lee
I cant beleive you took the White Strpies song. interesting

5 STARS: Top 5 of 2003
Reviewer: DJ Woahnellie
If you do not own this CD you are stupid. Thank you Qualo and the Movement! Hip-Hop....NO, Music has been waiting for this CD. If I were ever on "Survivor", This is the CD that I would take with me. Go cop the new albub for your moms and your grandmoms and buy 5 for yourself in case something happens to the first 4. I CAN'T WAIT!

Reviewer: SKULLZ

5 STARS: Chicago Wu-Tang
Reviewer: Rodes
This is Chicago representation at its best right here. The whole album is banging from front to back. I copped the album from Music Tracks in Chicago. Big up to Mike an for pushing real hip-hop anywhere.

5 STARS: This album is real tight.
Reviewer: D-Maabsta
I know how talented Qualo are from there first album "Movementality." But I was surprised by how good their posse artists were. Co-Prince is the most talented in the Movement. Preast and Maasta Link be snappin. This album is all around great. Can't wait till Qualo's next alubum drops and Columbian Prince's solo drops.

5 STARS: Help me make love faster
Reviewer: Ron Pericles
I love the CD. I listen to it when I'm making love and it helps me get off real quick, especially Co-Prince's songs like Ecksplanation. I fork and leave the ho in 2 minutes tops when I got my chibanging on!

4 STARS: Chi is definately bangin!
Reviewer: Redd (of Manchester, England)
I've been tryna find a CD by these Qualo boys for sometime and finally i found it. Perhaps more of a mixtape than a proper album, but from beginning to end it bangs nevertheless. Anyone familiar with the remix to Aaliyah's 'Are You That Somebody' would have heard Skillz boast "real emcee's can rip over anything". Well, these Chi-Town natives prove they can do exactly that. From ripping over the White Stripes on 'Q Nation Army' to turning the Star Trek theme into a hip hop beat on 'The Beginning' to spitting pure cgutter over the almost humorous country flavour of 'I Ain't A Pimp'. For me the standout cut however came not from the Qualo boys, but Chicago legends Psychodrama who make a short but sweet appearance on 'The Flux'. The Eurythmics never sounded so good!

- cdbaby.com

"Elemental Magazine Review"

Just in case you didn't get it when they dropped their first album, Movementality, nearly five years ago, this Chicago quartet of producers, songwriters and rhyme-sayers is part of a broader grass roots movement steadily gaining momentum in the Midwest for more than a minute now. If you don't believe it, listen to the streets or the next best thing and hit up the Internet for the mixtapes floating around featuring Chicago Shawn, Preast, Shala and Optimyst. Incendiary material like "Gunshots, Warfare, Revelations" add fuel to the fire but is only a tip of the iceberg and hardly conveys the hard-edged ideology and eclectic range of style this collective is capable of. In the end you'll get a definitive sense of where they're coming from. They come hard and righteous and broadsides like "Creed" and Immortal Movement Nation" go far in seconding that emotion. Preast, like the rest of the group, is a jack of all trades. He produced and played all the instruments for the first track that starts off with the accelerated sample of an Islamic prayer and a heart beat that goes bump in the night while Shawn goes off like a ticking time bomb. The second song is a jack from a Nas classic that sheds even more light on the group's contentiously contradictory character. They flip-off all the right figures of authority with two middle fingers on "Do What The Track Say" and even call for the arrest of the president, among other brilliant suggestions. But such instigations sound decrepit in the wake of an avalanche like "fuck the situation of corporations monopolizing the radio stations, TVs, CDs and DVDs" that urges audiences to "fuck the Internet if the shit ain't free" even while calling for the heads of "bootleggers and Best Buy too" since "it ain't cuz we want to but cuz we got to."

Songs like "Pimpaholic" and "I Ain't A Pimp" would sound sophomorically stupid if it weren't for the tongue-in-cheek humor in abundance on their tracks like "How To Make A Baby (Mama)" that are slightly reminiscent of the southern-fried hijinks of OutKast. Still though, the thin misogynistic veneer passed off political dogma that would ordinarily be pure drudgery. Jokes at the expense of the lesser half aside, this album really catches fire on joints like "Come Outside" and "So Mo Gangsta" where their synergy as a unit bears fruit through accomplished beats that bubble and percolate with the slamming bull’s eye lyricism that is their stock and trade. In the end though it's tracks like "This Little Light" and "Diary Of A Mad Band" that are the rare poetic gems since they're the most accomplished and expressive in the way that they offer a vivid glimpse into the woeful trouble they and other po' folks have been steadily seeing since day one. - Sherman Johnson - Elemental Magazine


It's All Love-EP-1997
-Single "Peach Flower" became an underground hit.

-Singles "Dream Y'all" and "Gunshots, Warfare...Revelations" achieved regular radio airplay and became local hits.

QUALO and the MOVEMENT-Chi*Bangin':the Movement Catalog-LP-2003(3rd Quarter)
-Single "Warrior" achieved national distribution and spotlighting on the Cornerstone Mixtape #43; Q Nation Army achieved airplay on major alternative radio station Q101. To date over 15,000 copies have been sold independently within Chicago alone.

Believe-LP-2004(3rd Quarter)
-Singles "I Ain't a Pimp", "Coco", "Come Outside", and "Pimpaholic" have all achieved major radio airplay on stations WGCI (107.5 FM), B96 (96.3 FM) and Power 92 (92.3 FM) The ablum was reviewed by Billboard and received 4 stars. The album was also chosen as one of the top 10 local release's of 2004 by the Chicago Reader. Hip Hop magazines the Source and XXL also featured the group in their publications this year.

Many of the groups songs are available online via streaming. A simple google search for "QUALO" will yield many results.


Feeling a bit camera shy


"What if 2pac was a group....."
Chicago, hip hop's new mecca, is rapidly
being recognized for being the new breeding ground for the self-produced-artist/franchise performer. The Midwest capital has given the world R. Kelly, Kanye West, Twista and now, the band: Qualo.

Qualo, meaning "the messengers", consist of four producer/rappers from the West side of Chicago. This seldom-seen combination makes their musical reach wide and addictive. The four come together with an energy similar to the heydays of the hip hop super-group. Bottomline: a definite franchise...

Preast delivers soul-touching, picturesque rhymes with a lyrical depth paralleled only by such greats as 'Pac, Nas, and Eminem. Stepping in the producer's arena, Preast provides equally intense production that is both
refreshing and edgy. Chicago Shawn adds a stick of dynamite to the recipe with a high octane flow to match his intricate wordplay and introspective sentimentality. His innovative production keeps Qualo on their toes and listeners under that hypnotic Qualo spell. Adding fuel to the fire is Optimyst. Optimyst lends his distinguished wordplay, commanding the listeners' attention. His compelling "prose" style verses possess a quality of simple sincerity and clarity; a kin to
musical icons, Outkast. No stranger to the boards, he also lends his hand in constructing the distinct Qualo sound. Shala Esquire adds a truly cultured "Fugee-esque" perspective to the group. A native Nigerian, Esquire is the proverbial glue, anchoring the Qualo sound with his intriguing street narrative poetry and rock-influenced production.

Qualo's unique blend of bass-heavy beats, fierce rhyme techniques, infectious chants and catchy hooks, set to a backdrop of soulful music, social awareness, and political satire will have you rolling in emotion one minute and laughing out loud the next; all the while nodding your head uncontrollably.

While the music is an experience in itself, Qualo's true essence can only be captured by seeing their live show. Qualo captivates the audience with a stage presence that is both exciting and inviting. They possess a synergy and presence rarely seen in this post-new school hip hop era. Whether you're a "hip hop purist",
a radio junkie, or a rap critic, if you put your ear to the street and listen closely, you'll hear and be quickly entranced by the "hood's heartbeat"... the Qualo sound.

*Besides the tracks avaible on this EPK you can also listen to other tracks from QUALO at the following sites: